FOREVER’S END is really difficult to talk about without ruining the mystery of the film. While a lot of the intrigue and charm of this film comes merely from watching a lonely young girl go about her daily business in the solitude of a country homestead, there’s a lot about why she’s alone and the roles her visitors play that is difficult to articulate without giving too much away. The premise of Forever’s End is that Sarah White (Charity Farrell) has spent six years in complete solitude after what appears to be the end of society as we know it, which includes the passing of her father. She lives alone in the middle of nowhere, filling her time with household chores, learning to play the piano, and writing in her journal – anything to pass the endless loneliness. And then suddenly, visitors start turning up on Sarah’s doorstep. First, it is her sister Lily (Lili Reinhart) who returns after six years without explanation and proceeds to second guess Sarah’s every move. If Sarah is sweet, Lily is sour and offers lots of attitude to make up for any lacking in her sister. Shortly after Lily, a handsome stranger named Ryan (Warren Bryson) arrives and declares that he saw Sarah once a long time ago and hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her since. He also claims that the world hasn’t ended as completely as Sarah had come to believe. This naturally intrigues Sarah and further sours Lily. A battle between the sisters ensues about what to do with Ryan, whether or not he can be trusted, and what the truth about the end of the world really is.
Sarah’s solitude is presented in serene shots of golden fields and wind swayed trees, coupled with a silence that can only be conveyed through the gentle calls of a wind chime or the chirp of crickets. Apart from anything else, the film is beautifully made and artfully expressed. The narrative of the movie is perhaps not as tightly scripted as it could have been and sometimes feels either repetitive or stuck in place – perhaps a testament to Sarah’s emotional and mental state. However, it is the curse of filmgoers used to mainstream Hollywood movies to demand slick and efficient films that are tailored to provide only the essential impact. While films that wander and take the time to explore cinematic expression test the patience of modern viewers, they often have more to offer beyond the construction of a story. However, while Forever’s End has much to offer in the realm of character, the loose pacing of the film ultimately hurts the thriller element.
The film may not be thrilling, but it is compelling all the same. Beyond the mystery to unravel, there is the complicated relationship between Sarah and Lily – not only their very different attitudes in regard to their late father, but in regard to the world as a whole and the way they choose to live in it. Charity Farrell as Sarah is wide eyed, mousey but strong, afraid but full of hope, awkward yet somehow graceful. There is something beautiful and familiar about her that leaves you spellbound. Lili Reinhart as Lily is sometimes sinister, sometimes sullen, but always as frustrating and inexplicable to the audience as she is to her sister. Warren Bryson as Ryan is open and natural, but somehow always comes off as a blank slate. Neither the sisters nor the audience really knows anything about Ryan or what kind of person he is beyond his obvious charm and good looks. While we hope with Sarah that he is all that he seems, we fear with Lily about what lies beneath the surface, and Bryson plays the neutral space between them perfectly.
In the end, beyond the end of the world, beyond hope and love and life and family, the film is about living with and overcoming trauma. Sarah lives in seclusion, struggling to keep her treacherous memories in check, coming to terms both with the burdens of loneliness and those that come with company. We see in her eyes that confusion and hope that we feel when trying to balance our inner lives with the external world – except in Sarah’s case there’s not enough of one to balance out the other.
FOREVER'S END Review
Six years after an apocalyptic event killed her family and seemingly everyone else on earth, a lone girl on the verge of insanity is forced to question everything she has ever known when a strange man suddenly appears at her door. The last girl on earth... is not alone.From award-winning writer/director JC Schroder comes Forever's End, starring Lili Reinhart (Law & Order - SVU, Surviving Jack, Kings of Summer), Warren Bryson (Finale), and introducing Charity Farrell, in an award-winning role. Forever's End features an original score by multiple award-winning composer-orchestrators Douglas Romayne & Douglas Edward, who's credits include Captain America, The Avengers, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer among many others.