I'm Thinking of Ending Things

I'm Thinking of Ending Things ★★★★

"That's why I like road trips. It's good to remind yourself that the world is larger than the inside of your own head."

Another dense, personal film from Charlie Kaufman that will probably leave you scratching your head but hopefully feeling less alone as well.

There's so much surrealty at play here, but the basic premise is of a man and a woman who are in a fairly new relationship going to visit the man's parents at a remote farmhouse. Naturally everything is not as it seems with the woman being referred to by different names, having different professions and different backstories, and changing clothes too (a detail I confess I somehow missed! You really have to pay attention). There's also massive time jumps that affect some characters but not others, and frequent cuts to the life of an elderly highschool janitor that has no direct relation to the main plot.

Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley are the man and woman, and give realistic performances that ground the madness around them. Toni Collette and David Thewlis make wonderful contributions as the idiosyncratic parents, making for one of the most bizarre dinner scenes I've seen in some time. The script occasionally takes detours into lengthy monologues about the human condition, or poetry, or the 1974 film A Woman Under the Influence, but the actors pull it off and draw you in regardless.

Again, I am not even close to understanding all of this film, and I wouldn't trust anyone who says they are! It's filled with Kaufman's oddities which will either annoy you or dazzle you, so be prepared. I won't even get into the last half an hour as I think that's best left unspoiled, but it's perhaps the most beautiful and confusing thirty minutes of the whole film.

Overall, marvellous. I think I still preferred Synecdoche, New York, but Kaufman continues to show a unique style and understanding of the human psyche.

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