LOS ANGELES, April 17 (UPI) -- In Shailene Woodley's new romantic drama, Endings, Beginnings, she is torn between two men. Her love triangle is further compounded by past relationships and modern technology that makes dating difficult.
The film shows Daphne (Woodley) texting both Jack (Jamie Dornan) and Frank (Sebastian Stan). Writer/director Drake Doremus said it's impossible to depict modern relationships without smartphones.
"Technology is such a part of how we communicate, how we sometimes either misunderstand each other or how we get our point across," Doremus told UPI in a phone interview. "If you're going to try to tell a truthful version of a love story in these times, you can't exclude how much technology really is a part of it."
Endings, Beginnings depicts Daphne's text conversation visually. Her messages to friends appear superimposed on the movie screen. Words scrawl across the screen as if written by an invisible hand.
"I just really wanted to get inside of her POV [point of view] and have text that really felt like it was what she would be scribbling down in her brain or kind of in her heart," Doremus said. "The color and the texture and how it looked felt like it was a little sketchbook."
Doremus ruled out simply showing the smartphone screen. He had done that in previous movies like Newness.
"I didn't want to do what we've done in the past, which is show the screen, which would have been an easy way to do it," Doremus said. "I just wanted to think about something that was messy -- as messy as the characters were and as visually specific as the characters were."
The film does depict Daphne texting while driving. Doremus acknowledges that he hopes viewers don't emulate his leading lady's behavior.
"No, she's bad, she's bad," Doremus laughed. "She makes a lot of mistakes in the movie. That's one of the big ones."
Technology also can create distractions that come between people connecting. In the film, Daphne makes excuses not to see men in whom she otherwise would be interested. Doremus said technology and other distractions compound the hurdles of dating.
"Especially if you're getting older and you're still meeting new people and [doing] new things, you've got so much baggage," Doremus said. "You've been heartbroken enough, and the last thing you want to do is be heartbroken again. So you create, concoct so many different ways to talk yourself out of things."
Frank and Jack ultimately convince Daphne to see them, thus creating further complications in her life. Doremus hopes viewers relate to Daphne's conflict between her desires and her better judgment.
"At a certain point, your gut will take over and force you to do things that sometimes your brain says you shouldn't do," Doremus said. "That juxtaposition, that push and pull between the brain and the heart, is something that I'm really interested in exploring. I think we definitely try to delve into that in this one."
Daphne becomes pregnant by one of the men. No matter how she resolves her relationships, Doremus suggested that the ultimate love story is between Daphne and her baby.
"I think that her baby is essentially a metaphor for her," Doremus said. "[It is] allowing herself to be OK with herself, to love herself, to be at peace with herself, to understand herself, to forgive herself."
Endings, Beginnings premieres on digital services Friday and more VOD platforms May 1.