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Originally published Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 10:30 PM

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‘The End of Love’: A struggling actor’s adorable kid only goes so far

A movie review of “The End of Love,” writer-director-star Mark Webber’s semiautobiographical film about a struggling Los Angeles actor and single dad trying to raise a 2-year-old (Isaac Love, Webber’s real-life toddler).

The New York Times

Movie Review

‘The End of Love,’ with Mark Webber, Isaac Love, Amanda Seyfried, Shannyn Sossamon, Aubrey Plaza, Michael Cera. 88 minutes. Not rated. Grand Illusion.

The New York Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.

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Children, in their candor, spontaneity and emotional transparency, can be riveting camera subjects, which writer-director Mark Webber milks to the limit in his slender, semi­autobiographical film, “The End of Love.” Of course, as many people will admit but parents can forget, children are seldom as interesting to others as they are to their families. This story of a struggling Los Angeles actor and dissolute single dad (Webber) trying to face responsibilities and raise a 2-year-old (Isaac Love, Webber’s real-life toddler) is a reminder.

To Webber, the story’s merits may have seemed self-evident; creative people sometimes fallaciously assume that the tribulations of their profession are intrinsically compelling. In the case of “Love,” this is partly accurate: There is a fascinating glimpse of an audition with Amanda Seyfried (playing herself) that reveals the everyday humiliations of the tryout process as well as the obsequiousness expected toward actors higher up the food chain. A pot-fueled party Webber attends in a glassy hillside aerie, dotted with Hollywood semi-deities (played by, among others, Aubrey Plaza and Michael Cera), is a tableau of youthful, bloodless affluence.

Patrice Lucien Cochet’s cinematography is impressive, as is Sven Pape’s fluid editing. Shannyn Sossamon is appealing as a single mother working in a day care. And yes, Isaac is adorable. But Webber, a skilled actor, has not devised a narrative with sufficient momentum or tension to sustain much interest.

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