I’m Thinking Of Ending Things


D: Charlie Kaufman

Netflix / Likely Story / Projective Testing Service (Anthony Bregman, Charlie Kaufman, Robert Salerno & Stefanie Azpiazo)

US 🇺🇸 2020

134 mins


W: Charlie Kaufman [based on the novel by Iain Reid]

DP: Lukasz Zal

Ed: Robert Frazen

Mus: Jay Wadley

PD: Molly Hughes

Jessie Buckley (The Woman), Jesse Plemons (Jake), Toni Collette (Mother), David Thewlis (Father), Gus Boyd (Janitor)

I’m Thinking Of Ending Things is a surrealist black comedy from screenwriter and director Charlie Kaufman that is likely to have three different reactions from those who watch it. The first being those who give up and switch off during the opening act, and of those who do finish the film, there’ll be those who understand it and those who don’t.

I obviously finished it, so to give it an honest review, and it helps that I appreciate Charlie Kaufman’s style, though I do admit that this film was quite trying, though it did leave me thinking about it long after the end credits rolled.

The story is framed around Jessie Buckley’s character, referred to by several names (Lucy, Louisa, Lucia), but credited simply as “the woman”, who is travelling with her boyfriend, Jake, to visit his parents whilst she’s wondering where the relationship with him is leading and whether or not to end things…

The film plays out like a lucid dream, with the entire first act consisting of a conversation during a car journey before the two principal characters arrive at Jake’s parents, where the flow of the story becomes even choppier and the age and behaviour of the parents fluctuating wildly.

Things do begin to make more sense in the final act, but the plot would most certainly be easier to follow once it’s realised that Jesse Plemon’s Jake is the character from whose perspective the story is framed.

It truly is a bizarre piece of filmmaking, and at 134 minutes, you’ll be forgiven if you get frustrated waiting for it to cut to the chase.

I describe the film as a black comedy for ease of reference, as the film touches on practically every cinematic genre. It’s almost like a feature length episode of The Twilight Zone, but you’ll really need to appreciate Charlie Kaufman’s other works to engage with this.


Jessie Buckley & Jesse Plemons in I’m Thinking Of Ending Things
Jessie Buckley & Jesse Plemons in I’m Thinking Of Ending Things