Netflix originals are sometimes hit or miss, but every now and then they end up buying the rights to some truly special films. This is the case with their newest mind-bending original, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” directed by Charlie Kaufman.
It’s important to preface the style of film that Kaufman likes to create. His undeniably solid archive of work includes “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004) – which is the only one I can speak on, but trust me when I say it’s one of the all-time best – “Being John Malkovich” (1999) and “Adaptation” (2002). These are films that seek to unravel what makes us all human, usually in romantic methods, with a mind-bending style to wrap it all together.
“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is no different. It starts with a seemingly normal plot: a young adult woman named Lucy (Jesse Buckly) goes to dinner with her new boyfriend Jake (Jesse Plemons) at his parents’ (Toni Collette and David Thewlis) house, in the middle of a violent blizzard.
Throughout the film, Lucy narrates her internal thoughts in the form of voice over. These mostly give context to her relationship with Jake, making it seem that although Jake is nice and is good to her, it’s a mostly stagnant relationship that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, hence the title of the film.
This film is such a beast of its own that even if I tried to spoil it, I don’t think I could. It’s extremely nuanced, and requires you to pay attention to the whole movie – seriously, don’t even blink. This may turn some people away from watching it, but it’s so worthwhile in the end. It’s a truly unique experience that provokes the mind and questions reality.
The cinematography and editing complement the complex nature of the plot as well. For a plot that may seem pretty abstract, the way shots transition into each other is quite beautiful and highly creative. A very minimal use of special effects, aside from a specific part towards the end, makes the movie seem so much more real than the events would lead you to believe.
The film is divided into five parts, which cleverly parallels the same five parts to a drama: a very distinct exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and catastrophe. This is nuanced with references to the theatre as part of the general narrative over the course of the film. To me, this makes events easier to analyze after the film – which you’ll be doing a lot of once the credits roll.
There are so many thoughts still running through my head a week after I watched this film, but it’s just honestly indescribable. I promise they are all good thoughts. I’m begging all readers to watch this film with an open mind and to appreciate the masterful art that Charlie Kaufman has created.