I have been quietly but eagerly awaiting I’m Thinking of Ending Things since the trailer was released earlier this summer. A melancholy piece about breakups, an all star cast and written by Charlie Kauffman, who penned Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (top 25 of all time for me), it sounded like a perfect film for a Saturday evening.
What met me on that fateful evening was a visual delight of uncomfortableness that at times bored me senseless and left me annoyed by what little sense it did make.
Let’s talk the good – the cast is outstanding. I’ve yet to see Wild Rose, but Jessie Buckley continues to shine in every role I have seen. Jesse Plemons does his thing and makes every frame colder – the scenes in the barnyard in particular left me chilled. The parents as played by Toni Colette and David Thewlis made me feel physically unwell, Thewlis especially. In fact, all of the scenes set within the farm worked, and the multiple layered narratives felt on the right side of bizarre. Excellent use of camera work, staging and some digital effects play in to the madness and leave us feeling off kilter as we try to hold on to our sanity.
It’s unfortunate then that any narrative outside of the secluded farmhouse is either a never ending, monologue filled car ride which had my eyes glazing over, or a bizarre montage of set pieces inside a school. Some of the set pieces are stunning, the dance sequence had me spellbound – but did it make any sense??
If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you’ll know for me that a solid narrative is key to a film’s success. The narrative of I’m Thinking of Ending Things is so out of whack that I didn’t even have the energy to try and piece it together. The dull melancholy hit too well and by the time it finally finished, I wished I had decided to end it earlier.