This is a highly esoteric film that will surely find its fans, but could also feel too talky, too strange, and too confusing for many others. The twisting plot and myriad cultural references and internal clues may excite some viewers and send them down Reddit rabbit holes to dissect it all, but they require patience and attention.
Writer-director Charlie Kaufman seems to drop hints about the film's meaning without actually explaining anything. "There is no objective reality." "I guess that's what one hopes for when one writes things ... universality in the specific." Watching too many movies is a "societal malady." "It's all planned ... yet it isn't thought out."
I'm Thinking of Ending Things ponders the bending of time, the glorification of youth and beauty, the relevance of poetry in our lives, feminist readings of classic films and songs, dating and relationships, political correctness, and, if you can believe it, more. Also, it may suggest hell is high school, or maybe watching a high school musical.
Despite all that, you get the sense that the film is more about a mood (an ominous malaise, also skillfully captured visually) than a clear message. The talented lead actors, Jessie Buckley and Jesse Plemons, take their roles seriously and keep you engaged, which is lucky considering there are 20-minute sequences of just them talking in a car. Toni Collette and David Thewlis are perfect as the weirdo parents.
Still, you may find yourself wishing Kaufman had ended things -- meaning, this two-hour-plus movie -- a little sooner.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.