By: Hayden Fitzsimons
‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ is Charlie Kaufman’s latest directorial, as well as written, work, and it is, as the title suggests, weird. This is to be expected with Kaufman’s work, as the weird, dream-like, and ethereal style of his writing often becomes a main figure in his films.
This film however is particularly odd, even for a Kaufman film.
The dialogue, as usual, is masterfully written, yet almost feels as if it is a one-sided jumbled mess of thoughts, and it is intentionally done so. The cinematography is equally as odd and off putting, and yet in it’s own way strangely inviting and familiar. Once again, both of these are staples of Kaufman’s work.
‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ revolves around the relationship between Jake, played by Jesse Plemons, and Lucy, played by Jessie Buckley. Specifically, it focuses more so on Lucy’s thought of ending the relationship. However, there is clearly a connection between her and Jake, and so she is having difficulty ending the relationship.
The film takes place on a road trip through a blizzard to Jake’s childhood home to visit his parents. However, once they get there things become extremely unsettling and it seems as if multiple timelines are merging together. From here, the film continues to spiral and spiral into delusion until the viewer is ultimately left extremely confused and most likely also very pleased with the film.
The film is an extremely slow burn, once again, intentionally so. ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ lasts just over two hours, however, it feels as if it is four hours or longer. Normally, this would be detrimental to a film, however, in this film’s case it is the highest of compliments.
The world which Kaufman creates is so engrossing and atmospheric that it essentially doubles the length, complexity, and enjoyment of the film simply due to how mind-boggling it is. The length, or at least the perception of the length, could turn some people away from this film which I completely understand.
In addition to this, the film is extremely confusing from start to finish and after finishing the film, if any film were to require a second viewing, this would be the film. This confusion and practically necessary second viewing most likely will deter most viewers from ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things.’ This is an unfortunate issue which plagues many of Kaufman’s films as they are all deeply cerebral and often require deep thought into even the most basic of elements.
I highly recommend this film despite how hard it may be to consume for the average viewer. However, if you are looking to expand your tastes and your perspective on life and media, you will find a deeply emotional and atmospheric tale of regret, aging, time, and consumption as a society in ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ which will likely have a profound effect on your life in some way or another.
Since ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ is a Netflix production, it’s likely readily available for your consumption, so please give it a shot.