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I'm Thinking of Ending Things


Stars: Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette, David Thewlis

Director: Charlie Kaufman

Wild and weird (and way too long), this runs like a series of semi-abstract paintings one step from reality, or perhaps a distant relation of The Shining - as it might have made by David Lynch. I had only the most tenuous of grasps on what was going on and, even after having the meaning of the 'plot' patiently explained to me by somewhat who had read the book, bits of it still don't quite make sense.

Lucia (Buckley) is picked up by new boyfriend Jake (Plemons) for a trip to his parents' home, a farm deep in the countryside. With the pair caught in a blizzard, Jake makes mumbling conversation as they drive, while Lucia's thoughts and replies are mostly in her own head. Arriving at the farm, Jake seem as reluctant to go in as his off-kilter parents (Collette, Thewlis) do to appear.

As the evening progresses, the parents appear first middle-aged, then elderly and finally near death - and back again. The blizzard is still raging as the couple leave, with Jake more morose and edgy than ever, but they stop at a creepy diner for an ice-cream. In a snowstorm... Finally, they arrive at Jake's old high school, where things at last start to become clear, or as clear as mud, according to your disposition.

This continually feels as though it's about to burst into a horror film, but never really does, as this is not the story's intention. Buckley and Plemons are both terrific singers, by the way, although only Plemons gets to exercise his tonsils in this bizarre farrago, and that right at the end.

Currently streaming on Netflix

David Quinlan

USA 2020. UK Distributor: Netflix. Colour by Company 3.
134 minutes. Not widescreen (4 x 3). UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 10 Mar 2021