At the End of the Day comes from a good place, but its execution is rough.
Kevin O’Brien’s feature-length debut is about how contradicting perspectives can cloud compassion towards others. For professor Dave Hopper (Stephen Shane Martin), his conservative and Christian beliefs paint unsavoury opinions of homosexuality and the LGBTQ community which he passes on to his students. After hours, Dave is enlisted by his friend/boss Gordon (Tom Nowicki) to track the real estate of a nearby building that would be used to expand on the school. But, an equally eager support group (made up of members from the LGBTQ community) dreams of developing the empty space into a home for homeless gay youth who have been abandoned by their family. Dave, going undercover, plans to sabotage the group’s aspirations, but it’s not long until Dave figures out that gay people may actually be okay.
At the End of the Day features naïve characterizations at the forefront of a stale story. While it’s a drama, the film’s broad tone awkwardly teeters on camp. I’m well aware that people still debate over themes of sexuality and individuality, and these personal conflicts are still very much relevant. However, in the case of this particular movie, sappy storytelling waters down the passion and emotions behind these arguments. Every so often, the performances create fleeting moments of authenticity, but these glimmers are quickly snuffed out by O’Brien’s heavy-handed filmmaking – a manipulative director who doesn’t miss a chance to show someone delicately tearing up.
The film does have a decent ending though. It follows a ridiculous scene featuring Dave and his new friends squaring off against Gordon in an auction war, but what follows is a sweet blindside that makes the viewer almost forget about any of Kevin O’Brien’s previous mistakes – almost.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie