In Brief: I’m thinking I’m Thinking of Ending Things isn’t all that worth thinking about.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things is written and directed by Charlie Kaufman.
A woman — given different names in the script — goes to meet her new boyfriend’s parents. They live on a farm. The trip is a long one but a roundtrip is doable in a day. She’s apprehensive about meeting them because she’s not sure about continuing the relationship. The woman emphasizes that she must return home that night.
Things get weird once they get to the farm. Mom and dad are strange. He gets weird. Her behavior becomes bizarre and from there the movie takes some very odd and sometimes difficult to follow twists and turns. And she keeps insisting on getting home.
I can’t go too deeply into without giving those twists away.
Jessie Buckley (TV’s Fargo) plays the young woman. Jesse Plemons — who picked up Emmy nominations for his work on the same TV series — does the boyfriend, Jake. Toni Collette and David Thewlis are mom and dad and Guy Boyd is a janitor at a high school near the farm.
All are exceptionally good.
Buckley and Collette do most of the heavy lifting. Kaufman gives their characters the best lines. What little comedy that exists in the plot is given to Thewlis. Plemons doesn’t have a lot to do except look two-dimensional, emotionless, grumpy or weird.
Most of you know Kaufman more for his writing than directing. He picked up an Oscar for the screenplay of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Kaufman also received nominations for a Golden Globe and for an Oscar for Adaptation and for Being John Malkovich, and one for the animated feature, Anomalisa.
His dialogue and storylines are always original and very, very well written. Actors love working with him for that reason. Kaufman is a clever guy and what actor doesn’t love digging into words so brilliantly crafted.
I’ve always been in awe of Kaufman’s writing skills.
The acting and how the movie is written are the only positives I can give you about Kaufman’s movie. That said, I have no way to explain I’m Thinking of Ending Things. None. The movie is based on Ian Reid’s 2016 novel. Kaufman’s interpretation of the book is brilliantly and cleverly written. It — and the acting — are why I’m giving I’m Thinking of Ending Things an average rating.
My problem with the movie is that the story makes absolutely no sense. From what I know about the book, it doesn’t make a lot of sense either. However, since books give you a lot more detail, I’m sure it makes more sense than Kaufman’s interpretation.
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Stars: Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette, David Thewlis, Guy Boyd
You’re not going to be sure a lot of the time exactly what’s going on. I’m not even sure the actors nor writer/director Charlie Kaufman even know. That said, it’s brilliantly written. Give I’m Thinking of Ending Things a 2 1/2 on the Friday Flicks with Gary 0 to 5 scale.
You can find I’m Thinking of Ending Things on Netflix.
Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.