Film Review: I’m Thinking of Ending Things – 7/10

‘It’s tragic how few people possess their souls before they die…’

I'm Thinking of Ending Things Review: Charlie Kaufman Does Existential  Horror | Den of Geek

For someone who watches so many films, my tastes are pretty narrow. Rarely am I exposed to indie cinema or anything with subtitles, or even anything avant garde. I stay pretty rigidly within the mainstream like the bland man that I am. My favourite flavour of ice cream is vanilla, for example. Charlie Kaufman is one of the few avant garde filmmakers who could also claim to be part of the Hollywood mainstream. Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind are important cinematic touchstones, and even the particularly difficult Synecdoche, New York is well thought of. I’m Thinking of Ending Things is Kaufman’s latest head scratcher which marks his first collaboration with Netflix. And sure enough, it’s weird as all hell…

An unnamed young woman (Jessie Buckley) travels through the snow with her husband Jake (Jesse Plemons) so that she can meet his parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis) for the first time. Things take a sinister turn when the woman’s pleas to return home grow more and more desperate.

First off, this is a film that is wonderfully acted. Jessie Buckley is a revelation as the plucky narrator, while Plemons is suitably moody and unpredictable as her uptight partner. Elsewhere, Thewlis is horribly slimy as Jake’s oddball father, and he shares a gruesome chemistry with Toni Collette’s simpering and hysterical matriarch. The scenes the four of them share together are both excruciating and impossible to look away from – very much like many of my own social interactions.

Despite the best efforts of the remarkable cast, Kaufman simply goes too weird by the end. Absolutely nobody wants to see interpretive dance in a movie theater and a conclusion that requires significant research to be understood cannot be said to be successful. I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a compelling watch that is often not as difficult as one would imagine, but there is still the dull ache of missed opportunity about it.

I’m thinking of ending this review…

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