You can’t go into a Charlie Kaufman movie without knowing things are gonna be weird, abstract, and a bit unsettling. And I knew that Iain Reid’s novel was weird, abstract, and really unsettling, so I wasn’t surprised at all that Kaufman’s adaptation of I’m Thinking Of Ending Things was… an experience. I don’t know if it was an experience I enjoyed or not. I didn’t hate it, and none of it was an accident, and I can see and appreciate everything Kaufman did in this film. But did I like it? Maybe. Sort of. I don’t know.
The film follows a young woman who is driving with her boyfriend Jake through the snow to meet his parents; as the title suggests, she’s “thinking of ending things” and isn’t sure what future she sees with Jake. As the day and evening progresses, things get weirder, creepy things happen, and it’s clear nothing that’s going on is straightforward at all.
Kaufman gets a lot more art-y in the final third of the film, and definitely leans into his own style rather than doing a 1:1 translation of Reid’s novel. It’s Kaufman-y as hell, and if you haven’t figured out what’s actually going on by the time you get to the last 20 minutes or so, it’ll be very confusing indeed, since Kaufman isn’t going to explicitly explain it to you. Jessie Buckley is excellent in the lead role, as she has to encompass all sorts of character traits and perform long monologues in different styles; Jesse Plemons also shines in the final third of the movie. There’s also a funny sequence featuring a fake romantic comedy with a final button that made me laugh very hard.
There are parts that I definitely understand why they’re included but also didn’t enjoy watching; there’s a sequence about film criticism that’s interesting as a narrative device but kinda boring to watch. A lot of long scenes of conversation scenes inside a car — all of it is exactly what Kaufman wants, and if it’s your jam then this’ll be extremely your jam, but if it’s not, it definitely will not be.
If it feels like my review is me just throwing out random thoughts I had about the film without really putting them in order, that’s because I have no idea how to sort my feelings about it. The movie is way too long, and it’s super weird, but it’s supposed to be, and maybe I liked it? But maybe I hated it. I never want to watch it again, but I can’t stop thinking about it.
I have no idea if you should watch this movie or not. Follow your heart.
I’m Thinking Of Ending Things is on Netflix.
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That’s all for me today, gorgeous. Talk to you soon.