Evaluation: This is ‘How It Ends’ — a stroll by means of L. A. before the decimation


The Los Angeles Times is committed to reviewing new theatrical movie releases during the COVID-19 pandemic . Due to the fact moviegoing carries inherent risks during this time, we remind readers to follow health and safety guidelines since outlined by CDC and local health officials. We are going to continue to note the various methods readers can see each new film, including drive-in theaters in the Southland and VOD/streaming options when available.

Perhaps it’s all the rethinking we’ve had to do during this pandemic era, however the end-of-the-world genre has liked some new beginnings of late. “ How This Ends ” is one of the more thoughtful and enjoyable of these one-way tickets.

Liza ( Zoe Lister-Jones ) and her constant partner, her metaphorical younger self ( Cailee Spaeny of “Mare of Easttown”), spend Earth’s final day facing down “regrets. ” Liza programs to address unfinished business before partying with friends until the meteor hits and ends it all. Liza and Youthful Liza trek through Los Angeles neighborhoods, having surreal activities with strangers and heart-to-hearts with loved ones.

Very much made during lockdown, the tiny indie is more of a spiritual cousin towards the underrated “ Deep Impact ” (sans VFX set pieces) in order to Netflix’s 2018 apocalyptic experience also titled “ How It Ends ” or its latest, top-notch “ Alert . ” Rather than wallowing in humanity’s dark side or cinematic world damage, the new film is an personal, mostly light rumination about what a person might want to come to terms with, provided the chance, knowing death is usually inevitable. Its unhurried walk is the opposite of the underseen, appropriately frantic “ Miracle Mile ” (1988; another small-scale, pending-apocalypse movie occur Los Angeles ).


Co-writer, co-director and co-producer (with husband and creative partner Daryl Wein ) Lister-Jones follows her 2017 directing debut, “ Music group Aid , ” with another smart, funny, deadpan comedy-drama. It’s arranged in the series of vignettes with popular costars dropping in. Not every the scenelets are created identical; some moments feel unexplored or too easy. If the message is that, even in the last moments, not everyone will get real, then fair enough. This kind of encounters are less persuasive than others, however.

In cameo-heavy movies, much of the fun is in being surprised when Star A or M pop up. Readers who’d rather know who’s in the movie can visit its IMDb page , but those appearances will be handled here as minor spoilers — mostly. A couple should be noted: Singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten shows up for a lovely musical interlude that wonderfully scores the low-key wonderland of nearly deserted Showmanship Hills streets on End-of-Everything Day; and Lamorne Morris of “New Girl” and “ Woke ” crushes as an ex-boyfriend so unfaithful, he can’t remember exactly how unfaithful he was, or to whom. There is a fun, easy-feeling exchange having an estranged friend in overlapping dialogue, deftly conveying their relationship rekindling.

Mostly, the movie rides on the chemistry in between Lister-Jones and Spaeny. Lister-Jones, with her cynicism plus too-cool-for-schoolishness, convincingly portrays someone hobbled by the safety associated with low expectations. The very watchable Spaeny has the energy plus openness Adult Liza murdered off to survive but never ever comes off as exhausting. She’s not playing a good attitude of youth; she’s playing Liza at a more youthful age but with knowledge of the girl older version’s missteps. Lister-Jones and Spaeny read since sisters rather than Protagonist and Narrative Construct. When they lastly address their unfinished business with each other, it feels earned.

“How It Ends” works both rather than the usual, race-against-time or humanity-sucks apocalypse dramas, and as a private exploration of settling affairs — and it’s a humor.

‘How It Ends’

Rated: L for language throughout, lovemaking references and drug materials

Working time: 1 hour, 22 minutes

Playing: July 20-22, Alamo Drafthouse, Downtown L. A.; also available July 20 upon digital