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Film Review: How it Ends

Director:    Zoe Lister-Jones, Daryl Wein

Cast:    Zoe Lister-Jones, Cailee Spaeny, Whitney Cummings, Tawny Newsome, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Logan Marshall-Green, Fred Armisen, Bradley Whitford, Sharon Van Etten, Olivia Wilde, Paul W. Downs, Lamorne Morris, Colin Hanks, Helen Hunt, Daryl Wein

Rating:    Not Rated

Running Time:     88

Australian Distributor:     American International Pictures / Netflix

 

The quirky apocalypse comedy “How It Ends” is a witty and strangely optimistic story about a woman (Zoe Lister-Jones) who sets out to make peace with her past regrets and tie up loose ends on the very day a giant asteroid is scheduled to wipe out Earth. It’s an uplifting tale of learning to love yourself, even if it’s your last day in existence.

Liza (Lister-Jones) has been invited to an end of the world party, the final gathering with her friends before it’s all over. Before she can get in the zone, Liza decides she must make peace with everyone whom she has wrong or has caused her stress in her life so she can go out with a bang. Accompanied by the metaphysical version of her younger self (Cailee Spaeny), the two Lizas head out to complete the quest. There’s just a tiny little problem: her car has been stolen, so the pair must set off on foot. 

The film has a brisk pacing that constantly introduces new characters, highlighting the strangers they encounter while walking around Los Angeles. There’s a great list of cameos that reads like a who’s who of indie L.A. artists (including Nick Kroll, Charlie Day, Whitney Cummings, Bobby Lee, Lamorne Morris, Fred Armisen, and Rob Huebel), and it’s a joy to see them riffing on everything from recyclables to massive drug consumption.

There’s an offbeat sensibility to the storytelling, like the matter of fact acceptance that there’s a huge asteroid hurting towards Earth (and which we see in the background during their jaunt around town), and the idea that one person would know so many random people in L.A.

The film has an eccentric, Miranda July type vibe that won’t appeal to everyone, but the sweetly unconventional “How It Ends” enchanted me with its kooky charms.

 

 






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