A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It's OK to say no -- for women to say no to male suitors, to men controlling them, or to get out of a potentially dangerous situation. Films, books, poetry can have relevance in our daily lives. Being smart is a positive, potentially attractive quality.
Positive Role Models
The young woman is polite to Jake's parents even when they're behaving very strangely. She's kind to everyone she meets. Jake lulls her into danger.
Violence & Scariness
No scenes of physical violence beyond dead farm animals and a dance performance ending with an acted death, but entire film plays with suspense of something violent happening. A basement that's taped off and has scratches on the door. A potentially dangerous drive through a blizzard. People behaving strangely, warning the woman off. A final ominous stop at an apparently abandoned high school.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jake's father says that the boy's twin bed from childhood is "not for f--king." The young woman tells the story of how she and Jake met and at one point says she thinks the "sex was good."
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"F--k." "S--t." "Bulls--t." "A--hole." "Crap/crappy." "T-t." "God." "Jesus." "Hell." "Sissies."
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Products & Purchases
The couple discuss several known films, books, songs, and poems.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Jake and the woman discuss roofies. Adults drink wine with dinner, and Jake suggests she drank a lot because his dad was topping off her glass without her noticing. The woman suddenly has a cigarette in the car as she recites a mid-century film review in a somewhat pretentious way.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that I'm Thinking of Ending Things is a purposefully disconcerting film. Younger audiences might tune out, not understand, or not be interested in long dialogue sequences that cite and debate classic films, books, poetry, and songs. The film seems to be toying with the idea of time-shifting and a lack of an "objective reality," as none of the characters are as they seem, and even the details of the life of the young woman narrating the story through an internal monologue shift throughout the tale. The film creates an intentionally uneasy mood with the settings: a stuffy car on a snowy drive, a farmhouse seemingly stuck in time, an abandoned high school. Despite a lack of physical violence, the sense that something terrible is going to happen is there for pretty much the full two hours. Adults drink wine, smoke cigarettes, and discuss roofies. The woman mentions sex, and the man's father says that a twin bed isn't for "f--king." Other language includes "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "crap/crappy," "t-t," "god," "Jesus," "hell," "sissies." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.