A Beginner's Guide to Endings

Rated: R

           Just because A Beginner’s Guide to Endings never made it to theaters doesn't mean that it's not worth watching. There are many fine movies that never make it to theaters. Perhaps the big wigs at the major studios didn't like the script. Maybe after the costs of making the film itself there wasn't enough money left to promote it. Whatever the reasons, there are too many first-rate films that get ignored because people have never heard of them and therefore decide that they're not worth seeing. In some cases these films are better than their in-theater counterparts and deserve an audience. A Beginner's Guide to Endings is just such a film.
        This movie begins where others end, with the death of one of the main characters. Duke White has been a lying, gambling, cheating, low-life for his whole life. After his death the three oldest of his five sons learn that their lives will also be cut short. When they were children their father was in need of more gambling money, and so enrolled the three of them in a drug trial. Years after the testing was over, a massive class-action lawsuit was filed against the company because the drug wasn't just harmful, it was fatal. With the three boys now aware that their deaths will come sooner than they thought, they each embark on personal journeys of redemption, adventure and the search for meaning.
A Beginner’s Guide to Endings is a movie that, after the setup in the beginning, splits into three commingled, yet separate stories; only to come back together in the end. That format is one that many a movie maker has bungled throughout the years. Many movies that follow this type of format end up doing nothing but confusing the audience. A Beginner's Guide to Endings handles this format better than I've ever seen. At no point during this movie was I confused as to what was happening with each character's story. They were blended together beautifully in an easy-to-follow style.
        Some people may want to avoid this movie, thinking that it makes light of some very serious subject matter. The tag line for the film probably doesn't help this assumption: “
A comedy about tragedy”, but this is not one to be missed. While the subject matter is very serious and this movie is a comedy, it in no way makes light of the more somber topics included.
A Beginner's Guide to Endings does have some minor quirks that are kind of hard to ignore. Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that some of the events in this movie are just a little too lucky for real life. Could events like that occur in the real world? Perhaps, but not likely. Do these abnormalities we’ll call them, take away from the overall feeling of the movie? Not really. While watching this movie, when those quirks arise it’s important to remember that however realistic this movie seems, it is still a movie and ridiculous things can happen out of the blue, whether they would in real life or not. That’s what makes it fun to watch. If every movie out there followed nothing but real life we wouldn’t have films like The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, The Matrix Trilogy, The Harry Potter Series, and even Ghostbusters. I mean, how often does a 100’ marshmallow man run amuck in Manhattan? These are the types of fantastical things that make watching movies an escape, and it’s important to take them with a grain of salt, no matter how realistic it seems at the time or how many conversations there may be afterwards. A Beginner’s Guide to Endings may not end up being a timeless classic, but it’s definitely worth watching at least once.

A Beginner’s Guide to Endings is rated R, was directed by Jonathan Sobol and stars Harvey Keitel, J. K. Simmons, Scott Caan, Paulo Costanzo, Siam Yu and Jason Jones. It and is available now Blu Ray, DVD and digital Download.