The Charlie Kaufman written and directed movie “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” (which debuted yesterday on Netflix) is about loneliness, delusion, aging, family dynamics and the conjuring of an anima. It’s the kind of movie that might have set me off on a five part series if I’d seen it a month ago. Fortunately, you’ve been spared that.
I’m not going to get into a long description of the plot because that might take away some of the fun, and given the at-times depressing nature of the story, you’ll need as much fun as you can spare to make your way through it.
All I’ll say about the story is that it’s not the movie you think it is nearly every step of the way. There are a few fun clues to tip you off that the interactions are a bit different than you assume at first. Pay special attention to when the movie stops off in the protagonist’s boyhood bedroom, there are clues galore inside.
Actually, to even call the male lead the protagonist is a bit of a spoiler, since his girlfriend seems to be the film’s main focus all the way to Act 3. Even that doesn’t give too much away, however.
Ultimately, I think the movie does what it wants to do in an effective manner. It had numerous poignant moments. It’s well acted and includes some innovative staging — Kaufman is getting better at this directing thing.
Whether it’s all too depressing to experience depends on how you interpret the ending. Perhaps you can get to the end of the journey and find an “embrace your delusions” silver lining in there somewhere. I didn’t see it, but maybe I’m just averse to such things.
To my eyes, Kaufman’s self enclosed world is ultimately depressing. The people we care most about in the movie may not exist at all. Perhaps that too mirrors life, making this a depressing movie with the potential to infect you and make your everyday life a little more bleak. Maybe emotional distance orders for it are advised.