The end is only the beginning.
Rooney as: Isla
Written by: Justin Lader, Charlie McDowell
Directed by: Charlie McDowell
Other Cast: Jason Segel, Robert Redford, Mary Steenburgen, Riley Keough
Release Date: March 31, 2017 (Netflix)
Production Budget: –
Total Worldwide Gross: –
Filming Locations: Newport, Rhode Island
In the near future, the world is off-balance. People have gained a specific knowledge, and death has lost meaning, due to a breakthrough scientific discovery by Dr. Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford): There is now definitive proof of an afterlife. While countless people have chosen suicide in order to “re-set” their existence, others go on, trying to decide what it all means. Among them is Dr. Harbor’s son Will (Jason Segel), who has arrived at his father’s isolated compound with a mysterious young woman named Isla (Rooney Mara). There, they discover the strange acolytes who help Dr. Harbor with his experiments. They are all looking to Dr. Harbor for meaning. Can Will and Isla find peace – in this place, or on the other side?
Will: You look so familar to me.
Isla: I mean, it’s possible we’ve met, but you just don’t have a very memorable face.
Isla: Well, yeah. Death used to be something we just had to live with, and now it’s a convenient way to escape pain. That’s okay.
Will: Yeah, they have.
Isla: Ugh. Thank God we only have like a minute left together before we’re strangers again.
Isla: I’m not emotional about anything.
Isla: Then why do you bother giving it?
Thomas: That’s a good response. Okay, greatest ability… and most disappointing weakness.
Isla: I guess I’m good at seeing what makes somebody tick. Understanding who they really are.
Isla: I’m able to understand them, but I’m not able to care about them.
Isla: I’m supposed to be at the bottom of the ocean, so this should be fine.
Will: I don’t think it’s weird. I think it’s fucking sad.
Isla: Maybe they went someplace better.
Will: Yeah? Maybe they went someplace worse. Maybe they went someplace that we can’t even begin to comprehend.
Isla: All the more reason to see what your dad’s machine shows us.
Will: Sorry, all I heard was something about circles and not fucking me.
Isla: I don’t wanna be the only fucked up person on this bunk bed, Will.
Will: How do you mean?
Isla: Like, being here alive is a waste because… I don’t enjoy it, I’m not happy or grateful… and I’m taking a spot away from someone who maybe would’ve gotten something more out of it.
Will: Why’d you go with “Jim”?
Isla: Don’t be jealous of hypothetical Jim.
Quoting: Rooney Mara
On her attraction to the script: I just thought it was a really incredible concept. And that it was a really interesting thing to think about. Charlie [McDowell] and Justin [Lader] did a great job of framing the story and making it very character driven. It’s a cool idea that could be a much bigger movie, but I liked how small and contained it was.
Quoting: Cast and Crew
Director Charlie McDowell: She’s someone who reads the best scripts from the top directors, so we wanted do challenge ourselves to create a character with a great arc that she would want to play. Isla is a guarded character who lets few people in. Rooney is a genius at subtlety – you put the camera on her and you feel everything. There were times when I thought maybe we needed to explain something to make sense, but then Rooney would she give a look during a scene, and we instantly know what the character is feeling. She’s a master class in that.
Co-star Jason Segel: I feel very, very lucky to be surrounded by actors who genuinely feel they are better than I am. It is a very exciting thing for me to act against someone I have a lot to learn from. My experience of acting with Rooney was very interesting. For me it was like a Rorschach test. She makes those micro movements.
Jordan Raup, The Film Stage: Segel, who initially doesn’t bring much personality to the journey, eventually convincingly settles into his lead role, while a platinum blonde Mara deftly blends humor, romance and concealed pain in portraying Isla.
David Ehrlich, Indiewire: In a loquacious and emotionally stunted role, Mara vibes off a new energy while retaining her signature conviction (crucial in a film that requires viewers to buy its high-concept premise up front and in cash). She’s a perfect foil for the numbed resentment that Segel brings to the table. With a shock of white hair and a well-earned death wish, Isla seems like a perfect catch for a guy seeking a manic pixie dream girl at the end of the world, but McDowell’s script — written with repeat collaborator Justin Lader — mercifully has more interesting things on its mind.