By Laurie Coker
All joking aside, during this pandemic, many people found themselves “locked-down” with people with whom they already had shaky relationships. We have yet to discover the magnitude of the emotional toll this situation has taken on relationships. The End of Us, the feature film debut by directors Henry Loevner and Steven Kanter, attempts to find humor (albeit it dark) in a stressful time for everyone. Hollywood, attempting to capitalize on the situation, is spewing out its share of pandemic-themed productions. Loevner and Kanter’s story has potential but falls short on energy.
In this SXSW narrative feature The End of Us, a former live-in couple – Nick Boat and Leah Russo (played Ali Vingiano and Ben Coleman) are stuck at her home because of stay-at-home orders issued in California in the wake of Covid 19. Having had a volatile relationship and break up, Leah gives Nick the boot, but he cannot find anywhere to go and when the lockdown occurs, he is living on her sofa. They try to make the best of things – living together but separately – and it is a difficult as it sounds. Nick does try to find new digs, but all to pat situations dictate his need to stay at Leah’s.
The film touches on every pandemic reference possible – masks, hand-washing, social distancing, Zoom calls, working from home, dating, stimulus checks, the news cycle, the 8pm clap, contract-free delivery, furlough, streaming movie nights, struggling businesses, lateral flow tests, and perhaps the most universal of them all, lockdown birthdays. Each and every issue that we’ve shared over the past year pops up in this film. We can empathize and commiserate, but it is difficult to care about Leah and Nick. They simply are not that likable and their story fails short.
The End of Us has a few redeeming qualities, but they are more in the overall situation and not in the couple’s relationship woes. Loevner and Kanter do try to make statements and to touch on important subjects to which we can relate, but it ends up being to lofty a desire. Like a covid mask, it just isn’t always effective. I am placing a C in the grade book.