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Trying to understand 'I'm Thinking of Ending Things' (2020)

I’m trying to understand I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

As the cinemas are being filled with blockbusters, Netflix quietly releases an unapologetically atypical addition to their array of movies. It is very unusual for me to be speechless after watching a movie, in this case I am left with not much to say as I was completely and utterly in owe of how baffling this masterpiece is. Not many films have the courage to address so many human endeavours, life, loss, love, death, all of which humans try to ignore. I watch movies to almost distract myself from life itself, I want to escape but this movie didn’t let me, this movie was almost a slap in the face from life, telling me, and you, to think about ourselves. Kaufman has brought us several beautifully confusing films in the past decade, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and Being John Malkovich (1999) but in my opinion this is by far his greatest, most human piece of work. From beginning to end we, as the audience, are encouraged to question every single decision Kaufman makes as a director. I for one love deconstructing films and trying to decode every detail put in front of me. To the naked eye ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ (2020) is a dramatic, inconsistent, unfathomable story of young women meeting her boyfriends parents for the first time but to me this movie is so much more than that boring narrative. From the beginning I started to question the surroundings and the characters intentions, asking myself but why? Every decision made by the actors is there for a reason, their voice, their costume, their movements, everything is positioned to potentially tell us what we need to know but it is never simple or easy to understand exactly what it is we must know. That detail is the beauty of ambiguous movie making because the audience is entitle to think and feel what they want to because nothing is too obvious.


It is a struggle to try and explain why on earth I loved this movie so much but in reality, I respect this movie because it was like nothing I had ever seen or experienced before. Of course, almost all of the credit goes to Charlie Kaufman who adapted the screenplay from Ian Reid’s 2016 novel of the same name. He also directed the piece of work, but without the sensational actors this movie would be empty, without a soul. The duo of Jessie Buckley (Lucy) and Jesse Plemons (Jake) embodies the core of this movie, I interpreted their relationship as though they were the same person trying to imagine how their perfect or ideal partner would be embodied. ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ (2020) is a movie primarily about exploring love and loss, Lucy and Jake both embody these feelings and alternate throughout the film, exploring whether they want to love or loose each other. Both characters are then surrounded by supporting actors who nurture them and help them to make their decisions. Toni Collette and David Thewlis play the parents of Jake, whom Lucy is traveling to meet at the beginning of the movie. Both are incredibly talented actors who, to me, constantly stole my attention. I couldn’t help but watch their every move as I was taken aback by their natural dedication to their unsettling deteriorating characters. From the exterior the mother and father characters are victims to their sons distance relationship, they love him but they are loosing him. The introduction of Lucy encourages the family to reconnect but in turn forces the family to wither and decay, insinuating the Jake is almost like a parasite eating away at his parents, watching as they degenerate. From beginning to end I couldn’t and refused to trust Jake, I felt as though he was luring Lucy into a situation she would never escape but by the end of the film I thought Jake was connected, almost tethered to every character. Whether all the characters around him exist in his imagination or he doesn’t exist at all I am not sure but I love how the movie encourages me to think all of these possibilities!


Essentially, this review / discussion has been a word vomit of all of my opinions and interpretation of this movie. My comments are not necessarily accurate but I enjoyed offloading my verdict of this movie to my readers. I’d be intrigued to know if you enjoyed this movie or if you thought the same as me? Or if you thought the complete opposite! Thank you for reading, keep film probing.

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Welcome to Film Probe, a platform where I have dedicated my time and energies to reviewing films, tv and more. I pride myself on offering more than just an opinion, but rather a carefully crafted insight into the film's themes, characters, and overall production.

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