The Sense of an Ending
An elderly watch repairman (Jim Broadbent) receives a puzzling request from the mother of a long-ago girlfriend, one that leads him to reconnect with her (Charlotte Rampling) and to re-examine their history in flashback (where they are played by Billy Howie and Freya Mavor, and her mother by Emily Mortimer). He reassesses as well his present relationship with his ex-wife (Harriet Walter) and daughter (Michelle Dockery). Adapted by Nick Payne from Julian Barnes’ novel and directed at a stately crawl by Ritesh Batra, the movie parades its pedigreed cast like waxworks and wears its literary pretensions like a plume. But for all the talent in front of the camera, it’s a dull affair, lifeless, inert and almost exquisitely boring; its supposed revelations don’t add up to much, dramatically or psychologically. J.L.