Title: i’m thinking of ending things
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette, David Thewlis
Runtime: 2 hr 14 mins
What It Is: Written and directed by Charlie Kaufman and adapted from the 2016 novel, the story follows Cindy (Buckley), a young woman who goes on a road trip with her boyfriend Jake (Plemons), to his parent’s ranch in the middle of a snowstorm. During the trip and the visit to Jake’s parent’s (played by Toni Collette and David Thewlis) house, Cindy feels like something’s..off about the whole situation.
What We Think: This is the third time that Charlie Kaufman has taken a seat in the director’s chair, his previous directorial efforts being Anomalisa and the riveting Synecdoche, New York, he also wrote the screenplay for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation, and Being John Malkovich, all great films and all brilliantly written.
This film is no exception. Kaufman again shows his incredible talent in both writing and directing, and this might be one of my favorites I’ve seen from him. Of course, his releases have had significant gaps between them which is probably why the films he works on and his screenplays are so thought out and genuine. The writing in this film is basically like poetry. I was transfixed from the first scene and fully invested within minutes. There are captivating monologues and conversations that the characters have that made me feel anything but uninterested. There’s so much that can be said about all the metaphors and different messages that Kaufman conveys through his writing, and I am absolutely sure that no one will catch everything by watching this film only once.
The performances are fantastic. There isn’t a flat note to be found, Jessie Buckley brings an emotional, powerful yet timorous performance, Jesse Plemons is also very good in the film, he has a lot of dramatic scenes and brings a very stirring but also captivating performance as well. Toni Collette’s performance is very unsettling, she really got under my skin especially during a dinner scene that occurs at one point in the film, she is just enthralling at times. David Thewlis does a great job in his role, he and Toni Collette were very captivating to watch onscreen.
Up until the final frame I was mesmerized by not just the writing, directing, and performances, but the cinematography as well. The film is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio, and I really love the choice to use that format, mostly because it helps us concentrate more on the characters onscreen, having them always center frame or close to center frame. The color palette and lighting are gorgeous as well, some standout scenes include one where two characters go to an ice cream parlor in the middle of a blizzard which looks so good, and the interior scenes are very well shot as well. The editing is immaculate, the film flows very well and I never felt like anything was out of place. During some of the conversations in the film the sound mixing is done extraordinarily well, it helps the pacing of basically all of the dialogue-heavy scenes in a big way through character reaction shots and also staying on a character during an important monologue/conversation.
Our Grade: A+, Another phenomenal film by Charlie Kaufman, again weaving themes of morality and existentialism through a story with fascinating characters and a gorgeous presentation that will definitely puncture your heart, pick at your brain and leave you transfixed until the end credits. For all the Kaufman fans going in to watch this one, expect nothing less than that.