Not the End (Sin fin)

Time-travelling romance with a sensitive approach to love and loss

Film Review by Sara Kotwicki | 27 Jun 2019
  • Not the End (Sin fin)
Film title: Not the End (Sin fin)
Director: César Esteban Alenda, José Esteban Alenda
Starring: María León, Javier Rey, Juan Carlos Sánchez, Paco Ochoa, Mari Paz Sayago

A wonderfully emotional film, low-key Spanish sci-fi Not the End tells the story of a couple – Javier the regretful time traveller (played by Javier Rey) and a heartbroken yet spirited woman named Maria (María León). After Maria commits suicide, Javier travels back in time to spend one last day with his partner. Mirroring their first date, Javier attempts to bring Maria out of her heartache by recreating the evening they spent together years ago.

The couple are vividly brought to life: we immediately know who Javier and Maria are. They contrast each other completely, Javier being a bit introverted and scientific, while Maria bubbles over with excitement. Both actors are delightful. Rey does a fantastic job of showing his deep regret for neglecting Maria, and León’s eyes are so deep and sad that her pain seems to become our own. The effective script is constantly referring back to small inside jokes between the pair or celebrating little quirks, like Maria’s cracking knuckles. It creates a relationship between the characters and the audience as we learn their secrets and shtick.

The time travel is worn lightly, focusing more on the relationship between Javier and Maria than the actual science behind it. But as a romance story, it works surprisingly well. Here, time travel is a statement on regret, the desire to change the past, as Javier attempts to remedy his relationship with Maria. The film plays with the concept of time in even subtler ways as well, such as the missing of a bus or catching the sun set – it’s always there. The thoughtful script suggests the writers knew exactly what kind of story Not the End was as they were writing it, and crucially what details would make it stronger.

Not the End is a well made and powerful reminder of the unforgiving nature of lost time, and its gentle and sensitive approach to love and loss is a refreshing change to the idealised fairytale love stories that dominate cinema today.

Not the End had its UK premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival

Sara Kotwicki is a student at Warsaw Film School and part of Edinburgh International Film Festival's Student Critics Programme. For more on EIFF's Student Critics Programme, click here

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