Netflix film review: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

PUBLISHED: 17:48 07 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:48 07 September 2020

Jessie Buckley as Young Woman and Jesse Plemons as Jake in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020

Jessie Buckley as Young Woman and Jesse Plemons as Jake in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020

© 2020 Netflix, Inc.

Paul Steward reviews new Netflix release I’m Thinking of Ending Things.

Jesse Plemons as Jake, and Jessie Buckley as his girlfriend in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020Jesse Plemons as Jake, and Jessie Buckley as his girlfriend in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020

This latest Netflix release sees American screenwriter Charlie Kaufman adapt the 2016 novel ‘I’m thinking of ending things’ by Canadian author Ian Reid.

Starring Jessie Buckley, the film follows her character Lucy, as she negotiates the early stages of a relationship with new boyfriend Jake, played by Jesse Plemons.

Unsure of herself and of where the relationship is heading, she drifts towards an important next step, as Jake drives her through the snow to meet his parents.

The film starts promisingly enough, and despite a tedious poetry recital, the road trip is entertainingly awkward with Lucy’s inner voice persistently questioning her feelings for her new beau.

Jesse Plemons as Jake and Jessie Buckley as his girlfriend in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020Jesse Plemons as Jake and Jessie Buckley as his girlfriend in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020

The awkwardness is elevated to the next level when Jake’s parents are introduced, brilliantly played by Toni Collette and David Thewlis.

However after an engaging family meal scene, the film goes completely off the rails as it mutates into a delirious fever dream and never recovers.

Writer/director Kaufman is a talented individual who has written excellent films in the past, such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

However this film reeks of a self-indulgent filmmaker given too much freedom.

David Thewlis as Father, Jessie Buckley as Young Woman, Toni Collette as Mother, and Jesse Plemons as Jake in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020David Thewlis as Father, Jessie Buckley as Young Woman, Toni Collette as Mother, and Jesse Plemons as Jake in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020

(Netflix admirably gives its filmmakers complete creative control).

With nobody to rein him in, the film drags on for well over two hours and descends into a chin stroking, directionless nightmare.

The impenetrable plot sees a high school janitor appear periodically without context, and the character introduced as Lucy begin to morph into different people.

Buckley puts her heart and soul into the role, but the film criminally squanders most of the acting talent on show.

Jessie Buckley as Young Woman and Jesse Plemons as Jake in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020Jessie Buckley as Young Woman and Jesse Plemons as Jake in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020

If you’re hoping all will become clear in the end, think again, as Kaufman infuriatingly makes no attempt to wrap up the plot in a coherent manner.

At one point the film seems to poke fun at director Robert Zemeckis, and if you’re still watching by the time the animated talking pig arrives, you’d be forgiven for wishing you were watching one of his films instead.

Fans of bleak surrealist drama may well be sold on this bold take on the source material, but to the layman ‘I’m thinking of ending things’ is insufferable pretentious nonsense of the highest order.

David Thewlis as Father and Jessie Buckley as Young Woman in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020David Thewlis as Father and Jessie Buckley as Young Woman in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020

You may also want to watch:

David Thewlis as Father and Toni Collette as Mother in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020David Thewlis as Father and Toni Collette as Mother in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020

Guy Boyd as Janitor in I'm Thinking of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020Guy Boyd as Janitor in I'm Thinking of Ending Things. Picture: Mary Cybulski/NETFLIX 2020


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