Are you a fan of weird and existential movies?
Then Netflix has the perfect picture for you in “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.”
The new streaming film is noteworthy because it is directed by Charlie Kaufman, a writer/director most famous for making weird movies, often about the mind.
I’m a big fan of another movie he wrote, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. So I went into this new film hoping for something just as good, but I was very disappointed.
“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is about the mind alright, a mind going through a nervous breakdown.
Lucy is thinking of ending things with her morose boyfriend Jake. The new couple is heading out to visit Jake’s parents for the first time at the old family farm in the middle of a snowstorm.
Once they arrive, Lucy slowly begins to realize that everything she knows is wrong, black is white, up is down and short is long, etc.
This is a really weird and existential movie. I’m going to use those words a lot because they perfectly describe the film and I don’t have a thesaurus handy. This is one of those movies that relishes being as weird and obtuse as possible. That is not my type of movie, but I guess that’s what Kaufman is known for. Netflix apparently gave him the freedom to both write and direct this film however he wanted.
Is there an actual story and a truth at the heart of “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”?
Yes, apparently. I’d figured out most of it on my own by the end of the film, but it took some internet searching to find some people smarter than me who had actually figured it all out. I don’t consider that cheating. If the movie is going to be as intentionally weird as “Ending Things” then I don’t mind getting help to understand what I’m watching.
This movie succeeds in being intentionally uncomfortable.
Jessie Buckley plays Lucy and Jesse Plemons plays Jake and they both do a great job with their roles. Plemons just gets more and more awkward and hideous as the film goes along, really driving his storyline. And Buckley is a chameleon, twisting and warping her character as the narrative demands. So at least these two actors got a chance to really ply their trade.
It helps that more than 50% of this film is just the two of them having uncomfortable conversations in their car while they drive through a snowstorm. This is a very talk-heavy movie.
“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is a weird and existential film. There is a real plot and a real point and a real purpose buried somewhere in the uncomfortable filmmaking, but it’s only going to matter to you if you already enjoy this type of movie. For the rest of us, this is just one long, weird slog.
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