I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020) Review

I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020) - IMDb

I shouldn’t have to type “what is I’m Thinking of Ending Things about” into Google to enjoy the movie. Unfortunately, this is exactly the case with the film and rather than doing this because I was intrigued, wondering whether my theories were correct, I was doing so because the whole second half of the film is baffling.

This is such a shame because the first act is perfectly tense and looks to set-up a fantastic horror/thriller. We follow the inner monologue of Jessie Buckley’s female lead as she is about to meet her boyfriend’s parents for the first time. So far so familiar, with this concept used for everything from broad comedy to horror but what develops is a tense meeting, with eccentric bizarre parents, strange rooms, weird pig sheds and one of the creepiest but most engrossing dinner scenes you will have ever seen.

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This is partly down to the great performance by Toni Collette and David Thewlis. They are cryptic, weird and have some of the strangest monologues and interactions. You don’t know whether this is awkward comedy or bizarre horror but you are left uneasy, trying to figure out what is going on. However, once the film moves to the living room, the plot begins to fall off a cliff.

What you soon realise about the movie is that this isn’t a horror, or a thriller and certainly isn’t a comedy but is instead some wider metaphor or allegory. What that metaphor or allegory is doesn’t really become clear although you will be painfully trying to keep up with the twisted timelines, strange dialogue, weird moments where characters literally change names and conversations mid-scenes and then a whole section at a school which makes no sense at all.

'I'm Thinking of Ending Things' and the Choreography of the Mind

The film is trying to do something clever but is far too abstract. It stops being unnerving and engrossing and starts to become confusing and infuriating. What some may see as clever writing, seems to be more infuriatingly obtuse, as you need a directors commentary to understand how any of it fits together and what any of the whole last two-thirds mean.

Its also annoying because the first act seems to full of promise. It feels like it could be a movie about a boyfriend’s home life, holding a bizarre secret. There are hints at moments or revelations which never emerge and instead we get cryptic conversations and the strangest finale of any movie.

Overall, I’m Thinking of Ending Things will be some people’s idea of an intelligent, well-written metaphor with an abundance of hidden meaning. To most others, it will be an infuriating, self-indulgent mess which wastes a perfectly written and tense first act by becoming painfully obtuse and confusing.

Rating – 2.5

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

The Film Stage 📽 on Twitter: "Charlie Kaufman and Ian Reid offer  contrasting visions with their versions of I'm Thinking of Ending Things.  @orlamango unpacks the differences from book to film:  https://t.co/2J8uQ2au6C…

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