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Author Topic: I'm Thinking of Ending Things  (Read 156 times)

etdoesgood

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I'm Thinking of Ending Things
« on: September 09, 2020, 02:03:58 AM »
I mean, if anything that has come out this year needs such a thread, it's I'm Thinking of Ending Things. There is soooo muuuuuuch going on with this film, so much that I love. And I know I have FLY and jdc as fans, but of course counterpoint is always welcomed and wanted. So like, this is a film that's actually about Jake, right? I mean, he's the only main character with a name. I'm also assuming he's Kaufman's avatar, as someone trying to create art only to see everything's been done - and CRITICIZED! - before. The guys on Filmspotting said they went with taking the title on its face at first, a woman ready to move on from her current boyfriend, feeling sort of trapped on this little trip to his parents, but that it eventually goes to Jake's thoughts of suicide. And maybe Jake's life was full of disappointments and love connections that never could be...harsh. But this film still has sweet moments amidst the constant shame and letdowns thrown his way. Even if hope is just something we invented because we can't live in the present, that's an incredible adaptation that I would not trade for any other. I guess I'm trying to say that this movie goes way beyond the misery and the resignation. He's still trying to make great things, and in my book, he's succeeding. Just that simple fact has to color the way you see I'm Thinking of Ending Things, and make it a far more daring and thought-provoking film beyond it's suicidal considerations.

Hoping for so many more and more insightful thoughts here. :)
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Bondo

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Re: I'm Thinking of Ending Things
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2020, 06:24:01 AM »
I had definitely locked into the film being from her perspective and about trying to end a relationship and was interpreting it through that lens (such that the film actually can be interpreted). But I do think it is true that it ultimately is his perspective though I didn't strongly get notes of suicide even though that is presumptively what it would mean for him. End of the day I came down more in the Kermode and Mayo direction. Plenty of effective scenes but whether the film's fault or mine, I find surrealist filmmaking to generally be self-indulgent/offputting.

FLYmeatwad

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Re: I'm Thinking of Ending Things
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2020, 07:24:36 AM »
Haven't listened to FS yet since I haven't seen Tenet, but definitely agree/also thought as it went on it was more the janitor's/Jake's contemplation of dying. The perspective of the film, I would say, slowly shifts and starts very much with Buckley's interior, though during the second car ride the camera is much more on his side of the car and we get more of his perspective. Plemmons is also the first credited actor when the film is over. To me that final scene where he goes in the truck and takes off his clothes is where he's actually going to kill himself, but I'd have to rewatch that part as it's the portion where the film is probably the most free in its construction. Also unsure how to reconcile the last scene being of their car rather than his truck, with the assumption that what we're seeing in the first portion of the film is his construction and not actually happening. Interesting in the way it frames perspective as well, situating on Buckley early, but the intercuts of the janitor looking out the window in order to set up the story.

etdoesgood

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Re: I'm Thinking of Ending Things
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2020, 12:26:35 AM »
Here's my thing, we think we're getting into the interiority of Jessie Buckley, but then, she doesn't even have a name; in truth, I think her depth of character is all projection from Jake, who is terrified that this beautiful, funny, intelligent woman would be destined to leave him. There's a time where I feel she gets more interested in his story once she figures out she's not a major character, almost a ride-along for his trip toward his failed, sad life. She's kind of liberated from just being his love interest; now she might well be his small-time angel.
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Bondo

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Re: I'm Thinking of Ending Things
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2020, 08:55:02 AM »
Since the sentiment seems to be that Buckley's character is basically a projection of Jake, it has me generally feeling like this film is basically what you'd get if you took Ruby Sparks but instead of being clear about things you run it through a pretentious film school guy filter. I find the direct approach more effective.

1SO

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Re: I'm Thinking of Ending Things
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2020, 10:54:06 AM »
Ruby Sparks is a projection for a completely different purpose. Your analogy is like saying you're interchangeable with FLYmeatwad, Will, Sandy and etdoesgood because you all have opinions on movies. You represent one distinct voice while they are a series of contrasting takes on a common subject.
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FLYmeatwad

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Re: I'm Thinking of Ending Things
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2020, 07:38:24 PM »
I still don't necessarily get why it ends on her car. A much as FLY told himself he wouldn't, he did go and read the Wiki about the book just to see how similar it was, as I try and work through my deeper thoughts on it. Idk if I'd recommend doing it or not, though it did reinforce my primary reading, FLY suppose.

Will

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Re: I'm Thinking of Ending Things
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2020, 03:36:35 PM »
I read the book and I have little to no interest in seeing the adaptation even with the knowledge that Kaufman adapted it. At the risk of sounding problematic, I'll say this: the dude needs to cheer up.

etdoesgood

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Re: I'm Thinking of Ending Things
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2020, 12:32:56 AM »
I read the book and I have little to no interest in seeing the adaptation even with the knowledge that Kaufman adapted it. At the risk of sounding problematic, I'll say this: the dude needs to cheer up.

Why? (And this is NOT meant sarcastically, it's just the first genuine thing that popped into my mind.)

I also think the films he wrote but didn't direct (the only other ones I've seen) have a few more moments of levity (so, more than 0) than this one. I'm OK with both types of scripts from Kaufman. I think, maybe strangely, I don't look to movies for sheer entertainment, but more for commentary on the human condition and catharsis. I view it more as high art with each film I see, and the peaks, of which there are many imo, prove the point. This is one of those peaks for me. I still do get drawn to the entertainments and see the form and creativity involved, so it's not a denigration of them, just more my lens for viewing art.
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Will

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Re: I'm Thinking of Ending Things
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2020, 05:45:25 PM »
There's a fine line between exploring depression and fetishizing it. When Kaufman is directing his own work, he seems to ping pong between the two at a rapid rate. I think he needs another collaborator because they often pull him away from this navel-gazing self-pity and back towards the real world.

I'M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS, as a novel, appears to indulge his tendencies rather than challenge them. It also just feels awkward for someone like him to adapt it. Here is Charlie Kaufman, a beloved and world renowned screenwriter, crafting a film about a man who never fulfilled his artistic potential, dreaming of a better life as he draws his last breaths. Maybe you make that film at the beginning of your career (as the writer of the novel did), but it feels almost ridiculous after a lifetime of success.

 

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