Review: How It Ends (SXSW 2021)

Title: How It Ends
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Zoe Lister-Jones, Daryl Wein
Starring: Zoe Lister-Jones, Cailee Spaeny, Whitney Cummings
Runtime: 1 hr 22 mins

What It Is: As REM once said it’s the end of the world as we know it. It’s literally the last day of Earth before the apocalypse. Liza (Lister-Jones) is spending the day hanging out with her younger self (Spaeny). As she walks through her neighborhood she is thinking about the end of the world party she hopes to make it to she begins to realize that there’s no going back. Only moving forward will help her have the last day on Earth she deserves.

What We Think: This is such a great little film. Zoe Lister-Jones keeps hitting it out of the park as a director with me. Band Aid is fantastic. The Craft Legacy was a film that was better than expected. Then there’s this. To this, she not only brings her very good eye but as an actress, there’s a reality to Liza. Her ambitions for the last day aren’t those of some fantasy character despite the odd premise. No, she’s just a woman who wants to go out with a bang. I’ll tell you when you read the byline for this film you wouldn’t expect such a private, beautiful film. One that’s equal parts hilarious comedy and poignant piece of contemporary life.

Our Grade: B+, This is one of those times when simplicity is the key and it nails done it’s odd nature and realism to a tee. One of the biggest things for me is the clout that Lister-Jones is gathering. There are some extremely funny people up and down this cast list. Even people like Olivia Wilde and Fred Armisen only feature for a short while but make the most out of the time given. This is a heavy recommend, if only for the offbeat story and great direction.