Today i’m going to be reviewing and thinking of ending things. This film is not for everyone but those that choose to watch it will inevitably take something meaningful away. So hold your log and hear me out.
I am Thinking of Ending Things Cast
Stars: Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley, Toni Collette
I am Thinking of Ending Things Film Review And My Opinion
I’m thinking of ending things tells the story of a young woman who is traveling with her boyfriend to meet his parents. She discovers that not everything is as it seems. At least that’s what this film is about on the surface. If you have not yet seen the film and are wondering whether to watch it, i would say that the trailer successfully conveys how weird it is without ruining it.
The film is essentially a two-hour version of the trailer, albeit with a much less exciting pace. Usually i endeavour to make my film reviews spoiler free, providing minimal plot details and referencing scenes you’d only know the importance of once you’ve seen the film. However with this film i cannot talk about it in any meaningful way without spoiling it. So take this as your official spoiler alert. With that in mind let’s go back to the plot.
I’m thinking of ending things tells the story of an old man about to die. Fantasizing about the life, he could have had and reflecting on the life, he has had. The young woman who leads the narrative is a figment of his imagination, embodying the women that throughout his life he did not have the courage to talk to.
One thing i definitely appreciate about this film is this big bamboozle of a plot. Those who know Ian Reed’s book or are familiar with writer and director Charlie Kaufman’s previous work, may have been prepared for the fantasy element. But i certainly was not.
I went into it blind not reading or seeing anything about this film. Watching it only because it was suggested in the comment section in one of my other reviews.
It’s a difficult film it’s long and quiet. Its pace fluctuates from scene to scene, conversation to conversation, even line to line. Its genre also fluctuates sometimes horror, sometimes thriller, and impromptu musical and occasional comedy sketch. This style makes sense retrospectively considering, how it represents one person’s muddy memories that are jumping around as if in a dream. Lay it also with fantasy which is even less concrete.
I remember watching eternal sunshine of the spotless mind which Kaufman wrote. Being fascinated by how the memories were shown as well as which ones were the most important in this couple’s relationship. That film was sad because you as the audience member knew that the memories you were seeing would cease to exist for the main character.
In ending things the representation of memory is similarly clever. However the direction and presentation is far bleaker. Not many people want to live a life of regret. Let alone see the regrets of a lonely middle-aged janitor who voluntarily freezes to death.
When i sat down to watch this film i did not expect to have an existential crisis. It certainly strikes a good argument for seizing the moment and taking risks whilst you can before you two become old and full of regret. It’s not just the character of the janitor that has this impact. The depiction of the parents during various stages of their lives is also haunting. We see the father experiencing dementia not being able to remember the names of things and even forgetting his son. We see the mother struggling with tinnitus and later on unable to even feed herself.
Old age is not a topic frequently discussed at least in western culture. There is an air of taboo around it. It’s not a scandalous subject it’s just an uncomfortable one. Seeing these characters go from full of life and laughter to unable to speak and understand things is pretty upsetting.
These themes of memory age and time are universal and always great topics for films of any genre to explore. However what makes the story unique is the lead character who is Jake’s i.e. the janitor’s fantasy. He becomes self-aware that she is a fantasy. She discovers that Jake can hear her thoughts and that he drew paintings that she thought she had drawn. It is here where the film began to alienate me.
Eternal sunshine did well to stick to Jim Carrey’s character and make us empathize with him as his memories are erased. In ending things i was too busy trying to figure out what was happening to the young woman to even try and create a deeper connection to Jake’s character.
On the other hand as she is a part of him than connecting with. she also means that i’m connecting with him. But i still feel that visually seeing two people creates a divided allegiance. I could appreciate everything collectively by the end but not during the action. So perhaps knowing the book beforehand would have helped me to digest the film a bit better. I could watch it again but because i didn’t have a strong connection with the characters in the first place, i don’t particularly want to.
The film did have a great emotional impact on me in terms of the themes of old age. It’s not something i really want to experience again. Last week’s film the devil all the time was consistently upsetting just like this film is. However the devil has this captivating vibrancies to it. It comes from the performances from how the story was told through multiple timelines. It converged through the cinematography and the editing.
In ending things every technical aspect is being utilized to portray a person’s memory. The aspect ratio can be considered a representation of how no one really remembers anything fully. The bleak landscape and muted color palette reflect the sadness of the janitor’s life and his regrets.
It is creative but once again it’s difficult to watch because the visuals and the pace become monotonous, especially in the second half. During the first half there is a lot more playfulness, such as in the beginning when the woman is sticking her tongue out to catch snowflakes, in the overlapping dialogue during the car journey where the woman is trying to think about ending things but is constantly getting interrupted by Jake.
I really enjoyed these moments even the dinner with the crazy laughter from the mother and the conversation about how she’s been misremembering the name of the trivia game. It was all very engaging. But as soon as things started unravelling after the dinner that playfulness gets lost. It replaced with total sadness and confusion.
The characters become monotonous as well. Though i understand how this reflects the janitor’s psyche and progression of thought. It still serves to alienate me from the film. I don’t know how positive Kaufman’s outlook on life is. But it certainly seems like he could use a hug after creating a film like this.
I’m thinking of ending things won’t appeal to everyone. However if you do have a passion for all things morose then this is a beautifully dreary exploration of memory, time, age and regret. It has many clever details that help to visually portray the facets of one person’s mind who is at the end of their life.