Film Review By Dawson Martin
Streaming now on Netflix is Charlie Kaufman’s new film i’m thinking of ending things (2020). Kaufman is a really incredible screenwriter who sometimes directs his own feature films. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is probably the film you know him from if you’re familiar with his work at all. His filmmaking and writing style are very abstract and surreal so the films will definitely not be for everyone.
It’s taken Kaufman 5 years to release any new work and I’d say the wait was well worth it. I’m admittedly new to his work, but I’ve been doing a deep dive lately in preparation for this new film. The movie is about a young woman traveling with her new boyfriend to his parents’ secluded farm and upon arriving she comes to question everything she thought she knew about him, and herself. Of course, there is way more to the film than that. This is one of the most bizarre and experimental films you’ll probably ever see. It’s probably the most surreal film on Netflix for that matter. Surrealism is definitely fascinating to watch, but most writer/directors aren’t typically masters of the genre. In my opinion, Charlie Kaufman is definitely a master.
Kaufman crafted a mesmerizing artistic experience and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since the credits rolled. He gets into a lot of existential themes and he loves to comment on inevitable death, sadness, loneliness, and basic human existence. This film is depressing, comedic, thrilling, and flat-out bizarre all at once. I would suggest getting a bunch of friends to watch it with to have discussions together trying to figure out what everything means. Its brilliance is in how bizarrely surreal it is, but once you figure out what Kaufman is trying to tell you it all makes sense. Also, art is subjective so whatever the film means to you is all that matters. I’ve been typing this whole time without even mentioning any actors. That’s how much credit I’m giving to its creator. Jessie Buckley and Jesse Plemons are the stars of the film with a great supporting turn by Toni Collette. These performances are all pretty fantastic and they amplify all the tones Kaufman is trying to hit.
The movie feels like a thematic puzzle to solve and there is a certain other element in the film that is basically the core of the film. I won’t spoil it for you, but this is where almost every answer to your questions are. I do not think everything in this film is meant to be explained concretely, Kaufman doesn’t seem interested in giving too many concrete answers. Like I said earlier, this movie is more an experience than anything else. You’re going to need to pay attention to every little detail and conversation to get somewhat of a grasp at what the film is throwing at you. In all the confusion you will be witnessing such a beautiful film. The aspect ratio, snow falling, impeccable wallpaper, and interpretive dance are just a few incredibly great things to look at in this movie. The constant snowfall is just covering everything the whole time. It works as a metaphor for constant human sadness and depression I’d say.
I have fallen in love with this movie in the days since I’ve seen it. It hasn’t left my mind one bit. When a movie is this challenging and well-made, they have a tendency to stay with me for a while. I’m itching at the bone to go back and watch i’m thinking of ending things for a second time. Out of the three Charlie Kaufman films I have seen this one is the most challenging. If you understand it 100% the first time you watch it, you’re probably lying to yourself. I will say that with Kaufman films its more important to him as a filmmaker for audiences to feel something rather than understand it entirely.
Please. Gather your friends and turn this movie on. Then re-watch it over and over again. Discuss.
I know I will.
i’m thinking of ending things currently has an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes.
My Rating: 95% (Incredible)
Photo Credit: imdb.com