Charlie Kaufman delivers an eerie romance in “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

Charlie Kaufman's

Charlie Kaufman’s “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” premiered on Netflix on Sept. 4. and tells the strange story of a young woman meeting her boyfriend’s parents.

The recent Netflix film “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” directed by Charlie Kaufman is an adaptation of the book by Iain Reed and stars Jessie Buckley and Jesse Plemons. 

The psychological thriller starts with a young couple on a road trip to Jake’s (Plemons) childhood home to meet his parents. However, the film’s attempt to reimagine the original version of the story takes viewers down a rabbit hole into Kaufman’s surreal landscape.

The young woman (Buckley) is confused by her relationship with Jake and is considering ending things; hence the title of the film. Upon arriving at the house, it is clear that something is not right. This is where the film begins to feel dream-like. 

Throughout the film there are unavoidable differences that progressively become more distracting. Buckley’s character name, wardrobe, area of study and the couple’s first meeting changes several times. These changes leave you wondering if this is a dream. 

After meeting Jake’s parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis), strange events ensue. Rather than a cliché family dinner full of laughter, the couple is put through a series of uncomfortable questions and comments about what Jake was like as a young boy. Dinner ends with an awkward tone as Buckley’s character learns more information about Jake’s life that contradicts what she previously knew. Some of this new information includes the discovery of a basement in Jake’s house,hinting that he may not be who he claims to be. 

Once the couple leaves, they embark on their drive back into the city. On the way back the two are depressive in the way they talk about things, such as William Wordsworth, suicide bombers and the musical “Oklahoma.” 

The film ends with an unexpected turn that lands the two at Jake’s former high school with a scene from the previously mentioned musical “Oklahoma.” 

Charlie Kaufman’s new thriller was expected to excite moviegoers as this film follows some of his classically great films like  “Being John Malkovich” (1999) and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004). 

Granted, a substantial amount of time has passed since the two films.“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” was too distracting in its presentation of hopelessness and a bad romance. 

By creating an alternate ending entirely different from the original novel, Kaufman portrayed a story far too weird for its own good.   

Rating: 3/5

Sophia Pearson can be reached at [email protected] or @sophia__pearson on Twitter.