“I’m thinking of ending things”
The title alone is vague but worrying, The statement alone invites anxiety and sticks in your mind.
Just like its title “I’m thinking of ending things” is a purposefully opaque film, it leaves you with a haunting feeling. It’s pretty surreal, a bit overblown, but still, it’s worth a watch.
Jessie Buckley plays our protagonist, lucy, although even her name doesn’t stay consistent as the plot moves, Struggling to break up with her boyfriend (“Jake”) who is taking her to his childhood home to meet with his “off-kilter” parents. The boyfriend is played by the talented Jessie Plemmons who at this point in his career has kind of been typecast as the “small town weirdo with a dark side” but it’s a role he plays with confidence. They interact politely yet it’s awkward. A sign that this relationship is reaching its fortunate end.
On one hand “I’m thinking of ending things” is a darkly comic psychological drama following a “Lucy” as our unreliable narrator, confessing to the audience that she knows her relationship with Jake is coming to an end, even though it’s only been seven weeks, and now has to endure a long drive and even longer evening, and once they eventually get the house, the strangeness ramps up. Time seems to be broken, or, at the very least shifting. To Lucy, the past seems vague and out of reach, she’s having trouble remembering things that happened only weeks ago. Something else is at play here, and it’s causing her to lose her grip on reality.
The performances by Buckley and Plemmons is amazing in its subtly. Her noticeable discomfort and his almost-frightening desire to impress, create a sense of casual tension. This is only compounded by the strange behavior of Jakes’s parents, and the clear emotional baggage that has yet to be unpacked.
“I’m thinking of ending things” is not what I’d call an easy film to watch. It’s bound to confuse some or maybe even bore others with its slow-burn approach and unusual style. I enjoyed the cringe-inducing long shots that stacked on the dread. The several literary references littered throughout the film won’t help either.
The Director – Charlie Kaufman, his past work on films like the disheartening yet amazing “Synecdoche New York” and “Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind” clearly presents his talent for creating wonderfully weird and postmodern films. This all to say, I Kaufman rides the fine line between genius and pretentious. I’m thinking of ending things doesn’t change that trend.
But even if the movie confounds and frustrates some, I believe that those with an open mind and appetite for surreal yet beautiful cinematography and storytelling will be satisfied. Even if by the end, you’re left with more questions than answers, it’s still an interesting watch.