End of the Century (2019)

End of the Century (2019)

A quietly devastating queer romance that does everything with softness and sensitivity

The Very Best

8.5

Movie

Argentina, Denmark
Catalan, Spanish
Drama, Romance
2019
LUCIO CASTRO
Helen Celia Castro-Wood, Juan Barberini, Mariano López Seoane
84 min

TLDR

Even just looking out from a balcony is going to make me burst into tears now.

What it's about

Two men strike up a mutual attraction in Barcelona and discover their shared past.

The take

Done entirely in candid conversation and quiet walks around the city, End of the Century may at first come across like another mumblecore romance, but director Lucio Castro brings such a delicate touch to this story that every idle moment feels like it means the world. An unspoken longing hangs suspended between characters Ocho and Javi, and it's their little dance of disclosing more and more parts of themselves to each other that drives everything forward. And as the film reaches its miraculous third act, where hope and regret are articulated in such a painful—but kind—manner, it transcends its mumblecore inspirations and becomes its own vision of how our relationships change the way we grow.

What stands out

The actors playing Ocho and Javi—Juan Barberini and Ramon Pujol, respectively—at first appear far too young for their character, whom we learn are meant to be in their forties. But what at first seems like a casting mistake reveals itself as a deliberate choice. In the context of this story, both of these men are stuck with the decisions they once made decades ago. And their youthfulness becomes a reminder of who they used to be, but the fool's hope they may still cling to now that they've come across each other's paths again.

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