I'm Thinking of Ending Things

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
I'm Thinking of Ending Things Movie Poster Image
Talky, tense, time-shifting mystery has strong language.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 134 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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

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.

Sex

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."

Language

"F--k." "S--t." "Bulls--t." "A--hole." "Crap/crappy." "T-t." "God." "Jesus." "Hell." "Sissies."

Consumerism

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.

What 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."

Wondering if I'm Thinking of Ending Things is OK for your kids?

Parents: Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13 and 15-year-old Written byAmanda h September 6, 2020

The most boring film I've ever seen

I watched this to the end. I think i only managed that because i started playing a game on my phone. Don't waste your time. It's a crazy nonsensica... Continue reading
Parent of a 10-year-old Written byBobby G. September 6, 2020

14 because this film is complex

There is a bit of language sprinkled throughout but it’s not at all excessive, and sex and violence are both extremely low. I give this a 14 because it’s very c... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byParasite September 10, 2020

Fantastic Film

Fantastic film depicting the thought process of Jake (the protagonist) and his mistakes he has grown to regret. It has tense moments but nothing to scary. It al... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old September 8, 2020
12 because the movie is hard to understand

What's the story?

A young woman (Jessie Buckley) accompanies her boyfriend, Jake (Jesse Plemons), to visit his parents on their farm in I'M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS. She's questioning the rationale for making this trip when she's already considering calling off their relationship, and the two do seem a mismatched pair. On a snowy drive out of the city, they struggle to find topics to talk about naturally, and we start to get the sense something isn't right. Details about her own life start to get fuzzy, and the farm, which feels stuck in time, adds to her unease. Jake's parents begin to age and then grow younger practically in front of her eyes. She finally convinces Jake to leave, in a near blizzard, but it's not at all clear she'll make it back to the city or to the life she was leading until now.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what happens to the young woman in I'm Thinking of Ending Things. The film leaves much up to interpretation, so what's your take on what happened and what it all means?

  • What authors, films, and other works mentioned in the film did you recognize?

  • A character says humans are the only animals aware of their mortality -- they can't live in the present, so they "invented hope." What do you make of this comment?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scary movies

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate