I'm Thinking of Ending Things Movie Review
My taste for the strange and/or mind-bending has soured in recent years, which is why I put off watching I’m Thinking of Ending Things for so long. But damn, after sitting down for Charlie Kaufman’s first movie in five years I realized how much I missed Charlie Kaufman.
Starring Jessie Buckley and Jesse Plemmons (who are both terrific), I’m Thinking of Ending Things follows a woman and her boyfriend as they drive to his parents’ home, a decision she is already regretting as she plans to break up with him at the opportune moment. But as time progresses, reality begins to splinter in ways best left unexplained here (and I’m not sure I could explain them, anyway).
What Kaufman accomplishes with I’m Thinking of Ending Things is what he has done throughout his career: taking whatever story he wants to tell in unpredictable directions, but not simply in terms of plot but in the way he develops his characters and even each scene. In Ending Things, every scene, every moment, feels like you’re unwrapping a new gift, an alluring proposition even if you’re unsure whether you’re going to like what is inside. Kaufman keeps both his protagonist and audience disconcerted and is more than content making you feel more and more uncomfortable as the story unfolds. For a movie that is clearly neither a thriller nor a horror movie, he manages to keep you on edge and afraid of what’s coming next.
Few filmmakers are able to consistently accomplish such a feat.
Which makes the ending so much more frustrating. I’m Thinking of Ending Things feels like a movie that Kaufman started writing without knowing how to… end things. While the journey itself is rewarding, the movie’s final 20+ minutes simply didn’t work for me at all. It’s a real shame, because it was on the verge of being one of the year’s best films.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.