Further confirmation of the weirdness of our world right now exists in the fact that there’s a new Charlie Kaufman movie just months away, and it’s going straight to Netflix. “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” based on the twisted psychological page-turner by Iain Reid, is skipping the fall festivals (or what’s left of them) to premiere on the streamer September 4. It’s his first film since 2015’s animated “Anomalisa.” The first look at the film has been shared by Entertainment Weekly.
“I don’t set out to do a mindfuck,” Kaufman told EW. “I’m not setting out to do something that ‘tops’ some sort of brainteaser I might have done before. But there’s no question that I’m trying to build on the stuff that I’ve already done.” That said, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is mostly certainly a mind-fuck, centering on a woman (Jessie Buckley) in a relationship that’s already ended in her mind, but she’s nonetheless following her boyfriend Jake (Jesse Plemons) through the dead of wintry night to meet his parents (David Thewlis and Toni Collette) at their farmhouse. Naturally, upon arrival, things are not what they seem, and the narrative spins out of control.
“The house represents the imagined interaction between someone you bring home to your parents — that panic that is two-headed at that point,” Kaufman said. “You’re worried about what they’re going to think about your parents, and you’re always worried about what your parents are going to think of them.”
Of Jessie Buckley, Kaufman said, “It was one of those things where you see somebody who’s not yet known, and you go, ‘Oh my God, I have to get this person’… She’s present with whatever is happening. Whatever she does, it’s real. It happens in reaction to the thing that she’s given.”
“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is Academy Award-winning screenwriter Kaufman’s third time in the director’s chair, following “Synecdoche, New York” and “Anomalisa.” Currently, he’s promoting his debut novel, “Antkind,” about a curmudgeonly film critic that’s earning polarized reviews, and astounds, for some, with its length of 720 pages.
“Loneliness and hopelessness and regret — these are things that are part of the fabric of this film,” Kaufman said of “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.”