Aron and Nora are one of those insufferable couples who complement each other perfectly. Even their names are identical when written backwards. As the film title suggests, his end is her beginning and vice versa.
Nora’s mother believes that she could have been an Olympic ice skater, but currently she’s working as a supermarket cashier. Aron is finishing his Doctorate in Physics where he’s specialising in the notion that time is multi-directional. Deja-vu and dreams are real, and are the equivalent of memories when looked at from a different direction. There is no such thing as coincidence, just insufficient information. These theories will be tested during the film.
When Aron is fatally shot in a bank robbery, the time structure of the film goes into two different directions. Nora’s memories of her time spent with Aron are interspersed with scenes of her coping with his death. We are also introduced to Natan’s story. It may be Deeply Significant that Natan has a palindromic name, but not for any reasons that I can work out.
Natan’s current relationship is petering out, and his partner thinks he’s a bit of a feckless wastrel. She may have a point. While their daughter is playing on the swings, he takes time off to chat up one of the local mums. He turns round to see her lying on the ground. When they take her to hospital, they discover that she has leukamia, and has only a 30-50% chance of survival.
It could have been even worse. She’s covered on his work health insurance, otherwise he’d have to fork out about €100,000. Then, foolishly, he steals a €3 arm band from work to replace the one that she keeps on losing. He is caught on security camera and is summarily sacked.
While this is going on, Natan – apparently coincidentally – keeps coming into Nora’s life. The first time is outside the bank where Aron was killed. Distracted by the shrine of candles laid by members of the public, she walks into traffic and Natan pulls her back and saves her.
The second time Natan comes to Nora’s rescue is when she is pissed outside a nightclub. After stopping a bouncer from hitting on her, he helps her throw up (cue memories of when Aron did exactly the same) then takes her home. “Nothing happens”, as they say, but he forgets his wallet, causing her to ring him up and arrange a handover.
They meet up in a dive bar, where they at first look uncomfortable in the other’s presence. Urged on by the other locals, Natan woos Nora with bad karaoke. Although this doesn’t impress her, it seems to break the ice and soon they are in bed together.
But Natan has a secret, and secrets must out. Cue big discovery, and the path to a slightly dissatisfying finale. As we are still playing with time, we finish with Aron and Nora first meeting. What goes around comes around.
This is an intelligent film, though occasionally it feels not quite as intelligent as it thinks it is. Its also not always certain whether it wants to be a romcom, a thriller or a Christopher Nolan style mindfuck. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, and it carries all 3 genres off with relative aplomb.
The least inspiring scenes are the ones of the relationship which seems so perfect that its not really interesting. Aron may have some clever theories but he’s not very compelling as a character. You (that is I) find yourself urging Nora to stop mourning the boring ex-boyfriend and see what’s possible with the much more interesting new bloke.
Having said that, a lovey-dovey happy ending wouldn’t have really been in the spirit of the rest of the film, so we’re probably better the way we are. And, seeing as time is fluid, a happy beginning is just as legitimate as a happy ending.