Charlie Kaufman does not make what anyone could describe as “linear” films. His films, whether he’s writing them, like Adaptation., Being John Malkovich, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or also directing them, like Synedoche, New York and Anomalisa, can best be described as “imaginative existential head trips”. Anomalisa is probably his most straightforward film—and his most intimately crushing—and even it features a stop-motion universe where everyone looks and sounds the same. Kaufman plumbs the often stark and lonely emotional landscape of people, usually couples, with a roundabout messiness and quirky logic that feels particularly human and forgiving of all of humanity’s failings and foibles. His films are also WILDLY entertaining (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind is DEEPLY UNDERAPPRECIATED), which is what makes every new Kaufman film exciting. You know it will be unique and unlike anything else, you know it will make you feel and think and maybe cry, and you know it will keep you riveted for the entire runtime.
His new film, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, is coming to Netflix because Netflix is, apparently, the last bastion of quirky cineastes who do best outside the traditional studio system and its burdensome notes. (One thing about Netflix’s creative process, they are not known for extensive note-giving.) Ending Things looks like a total trip, a classic Kaufman mindf-ck, in which a couple apparently gets stuck in some kind of quantum loop. Jessie Buckley and Jesse Plemons star as the couple, going to visit his parents for the first time. Said parents are played by Toni Collette and David Thewlis. This is a collection of people I will HAPPILY watch for two hours (or more), I don’t even care what the film is about.
It SEEMS like it’s about time and love and what time does to love, but it is ALSO about Jesse Plemons saying, “Winter is coming!”, and the way smiles melt off Jessie Buckley’s face (she is SO expressive, she is such a genuine joy to watch), David Thewlis looking hapless, and Toni Collette giving another balls-out performance for the Academy to ignore. Oh, and there’s a dog that can’t stop shaking. That’s weird! This film will definitely be weird! But 2020 could use more delightfully weird (and less unpleasant weird), so give me a new Charlie Kaufman head trip any day of the week.
Check out the teaser for I’m Thinking of Ending Things here:
the trailer for Charlie Kaufman's i'm thinking of ending things feels like you misplaced your head because it isn't screwed onto your head.— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) August 6, 2020
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