I’m Thinking of Ending Things: A Slow Descent Into Insanity


Mariana Camara, Staff Writer

With almost every new Netflix original comes a disappointing portrayal of a relationship that typically romanticizes abusive and manipulative partners, filling its young audience’s minds with all the wrong ideas of what to look for in a significant other.

So what’s up with this movie adaptation directed by Charlie Kaufman of Iain Reid’s novel, I’m Thinking of Ending Things? How did this piece avoid being forced into the same mold all other Netflix originals seem to conform to? 

Categorized under the cerebral and dark genres on Netflix, Kaufman’s adaptation of I’m Thinking of Ending Things certainly doesn’t disappoint. With its thought-provoking and perplexing plot, it lives up to expectations of a psychological thriller. In the film, Kaufman seems to leave as much room open for interpretation and overall confusion as possible, pulling us into the movie with a vague summary that gives very little away. All we know at the start is that a young woman (who seems to be having doubts) and her boyfriend are traveling to his parents’ farm….

Experiencing the movie definitely has its ups-and-downs. At times, the two main characters — the young woman, portrayed by Jessie Buckley, and Jake, portrayed by Jesse Plemons — engage in long-winded conversations that are hard to follow, and it’s tempting to zone out listening to their ramblings. Despite feeling a bit bored during those moments, there are key points in these conversations that would pull focus back in when the dialogue is crucial to understanding the story.

The highlight of this movie is Toni Collette’s performance as Jake’s mother. As both her character and the plot slowly decline into insanity over time, Collette perfectly reflects that development in her performance.

If you don’t enjoy feeling utterly confused, try reading the novel first; it’s much more direct in dissolving any uncertainties at the end. In contrast, the movie does leave some strings untied and to fully understand the plot, a second watch is highly recommended (or you could “cheat” and search explanations online, but that’s no fun).

Charlie Kaufman very cleverly adapts this mind-boggling plot with puzzles that lead to a greater message as they are solved, and I would love to tell you about how the specific events in this movie all point to a key takeaway…

But only after you watch the movie on your own.