So, yeah, I’m Thinking of Ending Things was a mind-melter. It was surely expected coming from Kaufman, so here is my review and explanation of the film
I’m Thinking Of Explaining Things…or at least I will try (MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD)
After my first viewing of I’m Thinking of Ending Things, I have to admit, I didn’t know how to feel. It was bland but beautiful, haunting, but funny and atmospheric but all weird and glitchy. We know from the start that this isn’t a reality as things are just too dream-like.
The acting was great and, wow, what a superb cast. But, man, what in the name of Christ was going on? Firstly, when you’re aware of Kaufman’s other movies you know that he bends the rules of film. After all, he was the guy behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. So, if I’m Thinking of Ending Things was just your straight-up movie, then it wouldn’t bear that Kaufman stamp of wtf?
Unlike most of my reviews, this will contain spoilers and major spoilers too. So, if you ain’t checked it out yet then stop reading now.
Jake doesn’t have a girlfriend, he never did. Louise was real..at some part of his life. Jake did meet Louise, but she thought he was weird and nothing ever came of it. She is a fabrication. We see how his imagination is plagued with reoccurring regret for not doing enough with his life. This is pretty much the premise for the movie.
It is told as if he is introducing a girlfriend to his parents but at different stages of his parent’s lives.
Jake is also the painter, but his dad hated his style. We see all the paintings in the basement hidden away. These are the same paintings that were shown to his parents on Louise’s phone. I am not sure, but this may also explain the scratches on the basement door. Maybe his dad banned him from painting? he gets angry…as he does in so many scenes?
The scenes with the dog shaking are probably to do with him not being a dog person. His memories of the dog are that it was always wet and smelly. So, we see a dog just constantly shaking as if coming in from the rain but it looks like it is caught in a glitch. He has no other memories of his dog. Just that one.
We have a really good premise for such a good horror film here. The setting was also perfect with the delusional parents and of course, the snow blizzard but that ain’t what we got.
The girls we see at the ice cream parlour are the same girls at the school. They were mean to Jake throughout his life.
Jake is the janitor. He is the old guy who works at the school and he always has. Even though Jake had the potential to be a lot of things, he never followed through with anything. He ended up stuck in the same job, in the same town, surrounded by the same people who made fun of him. Making sense yet? No? Well, that’s about it…or at least, all I got to shine on the subject. It may also have to do with the pig getting eaten alive from the inside by maggots – that’s how his life feels.
The dance at the end is to represent different stages of his life from high-school kid to an elderly man. That’s where the film just got ridiculous for me. I mean, I get the message but what a way to bring a close to a film that was set up so well to be eerie and uneasy.
Overall It was a pretty solid flick.
I just wish it wasn’t marketed as a horror movie because it could’ve been one. I’m Thinking of Ending Things could’ve been dark af and disturbing af too. I think that Collette and Thewlis were also criminally underused. Their characters were so odd and very fuckin’ creepy. I wanted to see more of them, I thought they were wasted. Believe me, though, you won’t be forgetting the mum & dad for a while. The make-up was so good when showing the different stages of their life.
As for Plemons, well his character was so unhinged and unpredictable. The guy still has that Meth Damon niceness to him but he is a scary dude in this. I would love to see him do more darker roles.
Jesse Buckley was fantastic too. It is great to see someone from Co Kerry on-screen with such huge talent. Both of them had this on-screen awkwardness that would remind you of any scene from The Office.
I loved the acting, I loved the characters and I loved the look and feel of the film…but it stops there, unfortunately.
I found it lost any creepiness and slipped…or danced its way into complete pretentious drivel at the end. But hey, whatever floats your boat!.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things is now on Netflix.
As always, thanks for reading.
Words by GG
Founder/Owner/BigCheese @ Moviehooker