By Don Simpson | February 27, 2013
Director: Mark Webber
Writer: Mark Webber
Starring: Mark Webber, Isaac Love, Shannyn Sossamon, Jason Ritter, Michael Cera, Amanda Seyfried
Mark (Mark Webber) is an aspiring actor who is struggling to make ends meet in Los Angeles. Despite having friends like Michael Cera and Jason Ritter, Mark cannot get his acting career off of the ground. It probably does not help his chances at landing roles when he is forced to bring his two-year-old son Isaac (Issac Love) into his auditions because he cannot afford child care.
You see, Mark is a single parent; Isaac’s mother died while Isaac was still an infant. So, with presumably no one around to assist Mark, he must find a way to get his shit together while remaining a stable and positive parent for Isaac. Sinking deeper and deeper into debt with his roommates, Mark finds himself (and poor Isaac) on the verge of becoming homeless. It is not long before Mark hopelessly — and somewhat unconsciously — begins to search for a female partner to latch onto. One such unlucky lady is a single mother, Lydia (Shannyn Sossamon). The owner of a small business, Lydia really has her shit together; and Mark’s desperation quickly scares her away.
For all of the qualities that make Mark empathetic to us, he reveals just as many faults. It is impossible not to feel sorry for a young single father who obviously loves and cares for his son above all else — but is Mark really so delusional that he actually believes his “career” as an actor is going to be enough to support him and Isaac? Whether it is delusion, naivete or sheer stubbornness, Mark’s current career path is incredibly selfish and irresponsible. Sure, Mark was definitely served a shit-sandwich in life, but he has got to man-up before his entire life goes down the drain.
Extreme levels of realism make The End of Love an incredibly difficult film to watch. Mark is an accident waiting to happen as he attempts to drown his self-pity in other people’s wine with reckless abandon; but then his gentle and loving interactions with Isaac is something truly magical. Played by Webber’s real-life son, Isaac is the most impressive two-year-old actor I have ever witnessed on screen. Isaac obviously could not memorize his lines, right? Two-year-old’s just cannot do such things! Regardless, Isaac seems to nail his dialogue in every single scene. Sure, a lot of it might just be tricks of the camera — with the helpful hand of post production — but the results are pretty uncanny.
Webber cleverly avoids having Mark become pigeonholed as a “poor rich white kid” by cutting him off from his family. Mark is obviously not a trust fund kid, and there are no parents (or siblings) present to give him any hand-outs. Without a safety net in sight, this makes Mark’s life choices all the more reckless. Webber also inverts the age-old cinematic trope of having a single mother desperately in search of a man to support them — the difference being that in most cases the single mothers of cinema history are much more responsible parents than Mark.