I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Length: 134 minutes / 2.23 hours
Perhaps I should have learned my lesson from when I watched Synecdoche, New York (2008). I have appreciated plenty of Charlie Kaufman’s films, but only when he’s the writer. Not the director. Or maybe this is a more recent change, as some of my favorite Kaufman films were released before 2005. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and Being John Malkovich (1999) are some of my favorite films, with Adaptation. (2002) being at least something that I understood (despite its extremely meta nature).
I’ll admit that I thought I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020) was initially about suicide by its title. As I started to watch, I thought I would be getting a thoughtful look at the midwest’s mundane nature (a la Nebraska (2013)). Then a bandage switched sides on a character’s forehead. From that point, everything became much more bizarre—to the point where I stopped even trying to make sense of it all. Was it an indictment of nostalgia and apathy? Was it the daydreaming hallucinations of a janitor? I honestly don’t know, and I don’t care to figure it out.
What’s disappointing to me is that I appreciated the car ride’s intimacy and the poetry of the nothingness that one has to traverse to arrive anywhere in the midwest. Jessie Buckley definitely makes the film work, and now I finally have a movie where Jesse Plemons is his own actor instead of being a Matt Damon look-alike in my head. I’ll usually forgive films trying to be “artsy” if there’s a point to it all. Instead, movies like I’m Thinking of Ending Things make me so confused as to miss the point completely.
A bizarre film that mostly goes downhill, I give I’m Thinking of Ending Things 2.5 stars out of 5.