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Monday, March 26, 2018


Jacob (Sam Heughan, "Outlander", "Doctors") begins his voiceover by waxing philosophical about existence and purpose and such, and then steering it into an account of how he met Cassandra (Arabella Oz, JIGSAW), fell in love, and split with her exactly five years, seven months, and eleven days later. 

We see them breaking up, which is an interesting start for a love story, and kinda get the feeling that writer-director Adam Sigal's WHEN THE STARLIGHT ENDS (Cinedigm, 2016) may not be your usual boring romantic comedy-drama.

But then we come to realize that there isn't much between the meeting and the break-up. At least, hardly anything for us to get emotionally invested in.

Cassandra sacrifices and works harder so that Jacob can quit his job and write full time, and then when he makes it and they're set for life, she decides that "successful writer" Jacob isn't the Jacob she wants, and leaves. It's just as maddeningly arbitrary as it sounds.

Of course, Jacob as a character is never very interesting even though almost everything he says is some kind of half-baked philosophical tangent. After Cassandra leaves, his mind is always occupied with flights of fancy in which she plays different characters in his fantasy scenarios.

These include Jacob having sex with his neighbor Ralph's wife (Cassandra as "Carli"), Jacob meeting a famous movie star in a diner (Cassandra as "Chelsea"),  and Jacob picking up a sexy hitchhiker who turns out to be an "X-Files"-type agent (Cassandra again).

These attempts at light comedy are what we get in place of actual meaningful interaction between the principal lovers in this love story, so that what happens between them in real life ends up coming off as rather cursory.  The fact that they're acted sort of like drama class exercises doesn't help.

And Jake starts out as a space-case rather than becoming one due to circumstances, so there's never any interesting growth or evolution of him as a person.  He's one of those writer characters that writers like to write about because it makes their profession seem more interesting. 

The acting is adequate, including David Arquette (SCREAM 4, SLINGSHOT, BLACK LIMOUSINE) as Jacob's editor, sitting in a bar and pretending to be interested in Jake's ramblings.  Sean Patrick Flanery (AGENDA: PAYBACK, SINNERS AND SAINTS, DEADLY IMPACT) is one of the film's few bright spots as funny neighbor Ralph.

Jake and Cassandra don't have the usual "meet-cute", but WHEN THE STARLIGHT ENDS ends up being sort of a "life-cute" as Jake fantasizes and philosophizes his way through the chaotic world of his imagination.  The final scene manages to generate some genuine pathos at last, but it may not be enough to make viewers feel the journey was worth it.
Buy it at Amazon

Format: DVD (Single)/Digital HD (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and more)
SRP: DVD $19.97
Running Time: 86 mins.
Genre: Romance/Drama
Audio: Dolby 5.1
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 (1.78:1)


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