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Sundance Film Festival 2021: ‘How It Ends’ Review

It’s the last day on Earth and Liza (Zoe Lister-Jones) is determined to make it to one more party before that happens.

As the world is coming to an end, Liza feels alone, and she beings to take a look within at things that she needs to reflect on before the night is over. She spends time with her younger self, making a checklist of all the amends she wants to make before it’s all over in How It Ends.

This film surprised me in many ways but the writing and attention to detail are what impressed me the most. The well-timed cameos, thoughtfully placed signage and beautifully placed music were all some of the little things that truly made a big impact in this movie. These well-placed items enhance the power of the story and connected further into this journey.

How It Ends challenges you to look at yourself. It challenges us to consider how we speak to others, how good of a friend we are and wonder if, deep down, we’re doing good by those around us. This thematic element progresses as we dive more and more into Liz’s issues, causing the audience to wonder how they can change their lives. The cathartic nature of this movie is like one big therapy session.

Although IMBD categorizes this movie as a drama, there are lots of laughs. The balance of humor and seriousness is mastered perfectly by directors Jones and Daryl Wein. Speaking of laughs, Jones’ pairing with Cailee Spaeny carries this film to another level. Jones perfected the ability to deliver Liza in an empathetic way, making it easy for viewers to connect with her throughout her journey. Between their line delivery, body language, and demeanor, you can’t help but love Jones and Spaeny together.

The film hits the audience’s emotions the hardest towards the end. We’re left wondering what things from our past are holding us back from being the best version of ourselves? How do we find the courage to love ourselves, no matter the mistakes we’ve made? Throughout the film, we laugh, cry, laugh again, cry again, but more importantly, we learn. The most remarkable feat of a director is their ability to take a story and challenge the audience to think — and they do just that.

Stay tuned for more from the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. You can find all my coverage here and on Twitter.

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