The 'Endless Love' remake has eliminated the entire point of the story on which it was based.
It's been more than 30 years since Brooke Shields hit the headlines for starring in the under-aged romance Endless Love in 1981 opposite newcomer Martin Hewitt. Director Franco Zeffirelli had a history with young love, having made 1968's Romeo & Juliet, but this film featured a 15-year-old Shields having a torrid affair with a much older boy. And it was unusually graphic, rated R in America and requiring cuts to receive a restrictive AA certificate in Britain.
Alex Pettyfer [L] and Gabriella Wilde [R] in 'Endless Love'
Now 33 years later, filmmaker Shana Feste has remade the film, stripping it of grit and sex. This new version is rated PG-13 (12A in the UK), and probably only missed a PG due to some profanity. But then, this take on Scott Spencer's novel is clearly marketed toward a much younger audience of 12-year-old girls, the ones who flock to see dewey Nicholas Sparks romantic fantasies starring Channing Tatum.
Here Tatum's Magic Mike cohort Alex Pettyfer stars as a dreamy good guy whose only flaw is that he's working-class (in the original film and novel, he's a proper bad boy). And opposite him, the bland British actress Gabriella Wilde has her characters' age bumped to a safer 17 (the actress is 24), eliminating the entire point of the story: that this relationship is both dangerous and doomed. Check out our full review of the movie.
It's not that filmmaking has become less daring than it was in the early 1980s. The problem is that studio movies today are little more than marketing tools, aimed at specific audiences to make a quick profit on the opening weekend. This one will thrill young girls who believe that romance is like this. But as they grow up, they'll see how fake and contrived it is. They'd be better to look up the original. It's not a great movie, but at least it stops you in your tracks.