In the apocalyptic comedy “How It Ends,” the Earth faces destruction by meteor at the end of the night. Here, the world ends not with a bang or a whimper, but with self-deprecating jokes and irreverent self-reflection.
For her last hours before Earth’s expiration, Liza (Zoe Lister-Jones) wanders Los Angeles, visiting family, friends and lovers in a search for spiritual resolution. In a metaphysical twist, the adult Liza is accompanied by the manifestation of her younger self (Cailee Spaeny).
Among the standouts from the film’s deep cast are Helen Hunt as Liza’s mother, who offers a heartfelt monologue about not being meant for parenthood. Liza and her former best friend, played by Olivia Wilde, demonstrate their psychic bond through complicated and rhythmic overlapping dialogue. Logan Marshall-Green, as the man who got away, brims with brooding romanticism.
The film’s writers and directors, Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein, ensure that each reconciliation has an arc that builds from confrontation to explanation to resolution, and they are also careful to ensure that each scene stands on its own. The film plays as a series of perfectly enjoyable sketches strung together, an excuse for veteran actors to chew on playful dialogue. Liza attempts to tie up the loose ends of her life in one day, and if it seems like she succeeds rather economically, the writing, ever clever, builds in an explanation for the film’s breeziness. The characters shrug off the importance of their revelations — it’s only the end of the world.
How It Ends
Rated R for language and references to drugs and sex. Running time: 1 hour 22 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy on Apple TV, FandangoNow and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.
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