We’ve all been there, at some point in our lives: we’re having second thoughts about a relationship, but it just seems the easier option to… well, to ignore them. That’s the premise in a nutshell for Netflix’s I’m Thinking Of Ending Things – but trust us when we say that there’s much more to the tense horror than that.
Directed and written by Academy Award winner Charlie Kaufman (as in, yes, he of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind fame), I’m Thinking Of Ending Things is based on Iain Reid’s debut novel of the same name. And, as we’ve come to expect from Kaufman, this film promises not just to leave us unsettled after viewing, but to offer up an exploration of regret, longing, and the fragility of the human spirit, too.
Interested? We thought as much. Here’s what you need to know…
So, what’s the plot of Netflix’s I’m Thinking Of Ending Things?
The movie starts off simply enough: after just six weeks of dating, Jake has invited his new girlfriend to his childhood home so that she can get to know his parents. So far, so sickly sweet honeymoon period stuff. Right? Right?
“They’ve formed a rare and intense attachment in a short time, and a road trip to the family farm on a cold winter day sounds like fun,” reads the official synopsis. “But then an uninvited thought lodges in the mind of the young woman in the passenger seat; ‘I’m thinking of ending things.’
“Though she doesn’t say it aloud, the thought is suddenly so insistent that she’s afraid Jake can hear it in her head. This won’t be an easy ride.”
Is there a trailer for Netflix’s I’m Thinking Of Ending Things?
Indeed there is, and it’s… well, see for yourself:
As our unnamed heroine explains in a voiceover, Jake hasn’t been her boyfriend for very long, and she’s thinking of ending things. Because there’s “something profoundly wrong,” and that’s before she meets his deeply unnerving parents. Before a stranger warns her not to get back in her boyfriend’s car. Before Jake decides, snow still falling and sun long since set, to make a detour. Before the couple takes one final unscheduled stop…
Hmm. Does anyone else suspect that Jake’s thinking of ending things, too?
Who makes up the cast of Netflix’s I’m Thinking Of Ending Things?
The cast for this Netflix film is phenomenal: Jessie Buckley shines as our increasingly unnerved heroine, while Jesse Plemons completely sells his character’s erratic and frightening behaviour.
An always spectacular Toni Collette, meanwhile, is Jake’s seemingly deranged mother, and David Thewlis stars opposite her as her husband.
What are people saying about Netflix’s I’m Thinking Of Ending Things?
The movie examines the identities we project onto our romantic partners, something which director Kaufman says has been keenly felt by test audiences.
“After one of our first screenings, a young man around 30 said he needed to re-evaluate his whole life because of the way he treated women,” he recalls. “He was responding to the idea, which is relentless in this movie, of projecting onto people…
“That’s what makes it relevant to me as a story about a relationship, rather than a story with a spooky, scary twist ending.”
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Buckley, meanwhile, says that her role as Jake’s girlfriend “made me question my life.”
“It made me feel scared,” she says. “I thought, I have no idea what this is, but I want to go on this road trip that’s gonna tear me apart and put me back together, and then look at the world completely differently.”
The Wild Rose actor adds: “I think the biggest thing it asks of you is to acknowledge uncertainty in your life. I let whatever it gave me after each read inform a new thought, so that when I came to shoot, I would be full of different prototypes that might come out in the moment. But to be honest, what we found in shooting was that any preconceptions you had before going into a scene were completely futile because it ends up unravelling you. You don’t know where you’re gonna go!”
Colette wholeheartedly agrees with Buckley’s read of the story, saying: “The script somehow encapsulates all that it is to be alive. For someone to be able to do that blew me away.”
The Hereditary star adds: There were no rules in how we could play anything because, as Charlie said, there are no rules in life.”
When is I’m Thinking Of Ending Things coming to Netflix?
The film will be available to stream from 4 September.
Will you be watching?
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.