A Cotton-candy rendition of Scott Spencer’s powerful novel, Endless Love is a manipulative tale of a doomed romance which careens repeatedly between the credible and the ridiculous.
With a nod to Romeo and Juliet, with which director Franco Zeffirelli enjoyed such success in 1968, plot concerns the scorching love affair between a 17-year-old boy, from a social-activist Chicago family, and a 15-year-old girl. Normally broad-minded, girl’s father finally can’t take it anymore when the boy more or less moves into his daughter’s bedroom, and banishes him from the household for a month.
Since he’s center stage most of the time, it’s fortunate that newcomer Martin Hewitt registers so strongly. Zeffirelli has dressed and photographed his find almost in the style of some of his mentor Luchino Visconti’s neo-realist heroes, with two-day beard growths and anachronistic Clark Gable undershirts.
Despite top billing, Brooke Shields disappears during entire center section of the film, which reduces extent to which film stands or falls by her work. One can never really tell what her responses to sex are because she’s smiling all the time.
1981: Nomination: Best Song (‘Endless Love’)