Movie Plot – I’m Thinking of Ending Things: Full of doubts, a young woman travels with her new boyfriend to his parents’ remote farm. Upon arrival, she comes to question everything she thought she knew about him and herself.
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Writer: Charlie Kaufman
Cast: Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley, Toni Collette
A psychological movie
I’m Thinking of Ending Things seems to have a simple story. A young woman goes to meet the parents of her new boyfriend Jake, who live on a remote farm. Late at night, they return home by car. But from the beginning something strange is going on. The young woman thinks about ending it, and sometimes Jake reacts as if he could hear that thought. By the way, it never becomes clear what she wants to end: does she want to commit suicide, does she want to end their relationship, or something else?
I started this film full of unconsciousness about what it was all about. There was mainly an uncomfortable atmosphere, but you quickly realize that it’s all about the conversations. This uncertainty and ambiguity are the foundations of I’m Thinking of Ending Things, in which reality is increasingly being challenged. The conversations they do have out loud vary from profound to extremely pretentious, from poetic to uncomfortable. Both the uncomfortable and the beautiful moments are enhanced by the colorful, claustrophobic cinematography of Lukasz Zal. I wouldn’t be suprised if this film gets nominated for the Oscars.
When it gets stranger
It is thanks to Jessie Buckley and Jesse Plemons as the young couple, who are able to convey the existential fear that underlies Kaufman’s work. Toni Collette and David Thewlis are as strong as Jake’s parents, in whose house I’m Thinking of Ending Things becomes totally surreal. During dinner, what’s on the table changes several times, just like the haircut and the name of the young woman change. Well, to be honest, I didn’t notice the name changes, just because I’m so bad with remembering names. Shame on me, because it was kind of obvious.
She herself also begins to doubt it. And then suddenly Jake’s father is very old and demented, after which the young woman meets an equally young mother, who is cleaning up Jake’s toys. In Jake’s old room there is an urn with the ashes of his dog, while the young woman has just stroked it. There are a lot of books on the shelf. One of them is a collection of film reviews by Pauline Kael, who passes by in a flash. Later, on the way back in the car, the young woman quotes richly from one of those reviews, about the classic A Woman Under the Influence. Not coincidentally a film in which a woman loses her grip on reality.
Thus, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is built like a labyrinth, in which everything is interwoven, but at the same time collapses like a house of cards. The existential insecurity of existence is carried through to such an extent that we can no longer even be sure whether we are absorbed in the young woman’s confusion, or whether she doesn’t exist at all and is a projection of Jake’s failed attempts to make a real connection with a woman. I’m Thinking of Ending Things invites to be watched several times, although that will not necessarily lead to complete certainty and understanding. After all, uncertainty about existence is the point. The only thing we can be sure of is that Charlie Kaufman has again made a beautiful, melancholic film. Or, as the young woman says at one point: “Beautiful, but in a bleak, broken kind of way.
I’m thinking of ending things is complicated, but very profound. You have to be there with your head.