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The Sense of an Ending Film Review

Review by Ceri Wheeldon

sense of an ending film review image

The Sense of an Ending is an adaptation of the novel by Julian Barnes – I hadn’t read the book, so I watched the film with fresh eyes . Jim Broadbent plays the character of Tony, who is divorced, running a small camera shop as he eases into retirement. Tony seems to be emotionally detached from those around him, living a quiet, orderly existence.

Out of the blue he discovers that he is left a diary in the will of somebody he has not seen for decades. Why he should be left the diary, and why the contents are relevant to him, he has no idea. The bequest takes  him back to the past, with lots of flashbacks to the 1960s – and his first love, played by Charlotte Rampling.

As he discovers more about the diary, he also has to come to terms with his own behaviour in his youth.


Jim Broadbent’s performance is touchingly realistic, as we see him play a more active part in his grown up daughter’s pregnancy (played by Michelle Dockery, and, as he confronts his past,  open up to his ex wife  (Harriet Walter) more at this time than he did during his marriage.

The film came across as being authentic. Do any of us really remember the past as it actually was, or do we remember the version that best suits us? This is what Jim has to come to terms with.

The film is touching, thought provoking with an excellent cast, where the main characters are over 50, and dealing with real issues.

This is a film for grown ups  who remember a time before everything was shared on  social media, and have only their own memory to take them back to previous life events.

The Sense of an Ending is a gentle film with a great cast with moving performances.

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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