It's a romantic impossible romance :
While the film ends with the success of the mission and a final reset, there remains no issue. The hero is now super efficient, but he will fight no more in battle to prove it. The only thing left is the encounter memory. In Groundhog Day, (the female character is named after the one played by Andie McDowell in the 1993 film) the romance was almost an end in itself. The romance was the only answer to solve the crisis. The Bill Murray character must look at the world differently and so make the mutual seduction possible. In Edge of Tomorrow, the romantic encounter is not a goal, but is an unavoidable element. The hero even regrets it, by saying "I wish I didn't know you" to explain his affection. In A Groundhog Day the writers were avoiding this issue with one of those montage already mentioned. How can one create a romance in one day? Especially when the universe is not completely dedicated to it. The action thwart the possibility the meeting emerges and determines it simultaneously. It is possible because the female character is not a "mission" to achieve. It is through her the hero will be able to learn and then experiment. And if there will be a romance, it will not happen without expressing the regrets of not meeting before in the same timeline. In Groundhog Day, the meeting was absolutely adjusted by one party to convince the other to fall in love. The two characters are aware of the effect of the time loop in Edge of Tomorrow. The female character is not "another element in the world" which repeats, but a privileged co-witness. The romance and the role of female characters are often problematic in American action films. They are either potential girlfriend confined to being kidnapped when not causing harm to the hero. The rare main female character have for the most part a perfect body and are overtrained (Lucy, The Avengers, the Resident Evil) and it's rare to see them wearing anything else, but sexy outfits.Edge of Tomorrow tries to revisit the cliche: the female character is "to be saved" but reveals herself to be the only one who masters the action, and she is already iconized everywhere. The female character is not a sub-plot, but the film "third view": the hero is too far ahead the viewer and she's taking over the narrative.
The emotional challenge The views of the two main characters are irreconcilable, every moment is a crisis and the movie becomes an emotional challenge. Their encounter is inevitable, but the mutual recognition is almost impossible by conceptual nature. One can't act without the other, but they are always shifted in time. When one is ahead of the other, it appears the most advanced was not who we thought. As often in action movies, a romance is inevitable. It is here a logical consequence for Cruise character: spending the rest of his life with the same person can only change him and his feelings. But the time loop also induces the impossibility of meeting: they will never experience the same "timeline", except for a kiss. Edge of Tomorrow recalls some of the most romantic and original couple from recent blockbusters : the paranoiac defended by the judicial department agent (or maybe it's the contrary) in Conspiracy Theory, or Burton vision of Batman / Catwoman to name just a few. There is a touch of melancholy in these attempts to see how the romance is possible and impossible at the same time as the "real" encounter is necessarily postponed. When the true meeting happens, it is however, a pure simulation rehearsed and staged. This romance has never enough time to emerge. Maybe it took place, but necessarily off-screen in an unseen version. When the hero asks his sidekick, to have a personal conversation, she refuses any dialogue or emotional involvement because she wants to protect him, not realizing that their relationship is already intimate.
"Edge of Tomorrow semble réunir des voies divergentes : le personnage féminin est d'entrée la femme à sauver mais c'est parce que c'est la seule qui maîtrise l'action mieux que le héros"
Tom Cruise's character is also staging everything explicitly so that the meeting can happen and he evokes it explicitly. In the sequence in which both of them arrive in a farm, we're not sure we know when the Cruise character stops to have her believe he never came to this place before. It is indeed perhaps the hundredth times he's gone there. When she finds out he has already lived "this" in a previous loop, she understands his feelings only with latency. For her, our hero remains unknown. The reminder of the fact they do not know each other just before the kiss is like a confession: there has been no meeting. And, we discover with dread that Rita's most intimate confessions were probably made when she was dying. The morbid nature of the relationship culminates in the final act: in a final "run" in which the hero has lost the ability to go back in time, both characters are forced to complete the mission. Finally, they are in "a real movie" with no more reboot left, as in a video game last life. If the two heroes never had met before, at least, they will die together.
Once the goal is reached, Cruise wakes up no more at the military camp, but in a helicopter, as in the very first movie frames showing the character. Down to earth, he watches television screens: the enemy has retreated everywhere and the war has ended. Really? We don't know anymore, the latter back in time remaining unexplained. Out of habit, or perhaps for a another reason he goes to visit Rita. Except this time they don't have a mission to fulfill together. The last shot brings us to this uncertainty. It shows Tom Cruise'face with an ultra-bright smile, but now relaying the viewer as an accomplice director: what is going to happen? The meeting remains uncertain. Now, life can start again for him, her and us.