Starring: Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley, Toni Collette, David Thewlis
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Netflix’s psychological horror written and directed by Charlie Kaufman. The story follows a young woman (Jessie Buckley), who despite having second thoughts about their relationship, takes a road trip with her new boyfriend, Jake (Jesse Plemons), to his family farm. Trapped at the farm during a snowstorm with Jake’s mother (Toni Collette) and father (David Thewlis), the young woman begins to question the nature of everything she knew or understood about her boyfriend, herself, and the world.
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Our Favorite Quotes:'Sometimes the thought is closer to the truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can't fake a thought.' - Young Woman (I'm Thinking of Ending Things) Click To Tweet 'Animals live in the present. Humans cannot, so they invented hope.' - Young Woman (I'm Thinking of Ending Things) Click To Tweet 'Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions. Their lives a mimicry. Their passions a quotation.' - Young Woman (I'm Thinking of Ending Things) Click To Tweet
Young Woman: [voice over] I’m thinking of ending things. Once this thought arrives, it stays. It sticks, lingers, dominates. There’s not much I can do about it, trust me. It doesn’t go away. It’s there whether I like it or not. It’s there when I eat, when I go to bed. It’s there when I sleep. It’s there when I wake up. It’s always there. Always.
Young Woman: [voice over] I haven’t been thinking about it for long. The idea is new. But it feels old at the same time. When did it start?
Young Woman: [voice over] What if this thought wasn’t conceived by me, but planted in my mind, pre-developed. Is an unspoken idea unoriginal? Maybe I’ve actually known all along. Maybe this is how it was always going to end.
Young Woman: [voice over] Jake once said, “Sometimes the thought is closer to the truth, to reality, than an action. You can say anything, you can do anything, but you can’t fake a thought.”
Young Woman: [voice over] I’m visiting Jake’s parents for the first time. Or I will be when we arrive. Jake, my boyfriend. He hasn’t been my boyfriend for very long. It’s our first trip together. Our first long drive. So it’s weird that I’m feeling nostalgic, about our relationship, about him, about us. I should be excited, looking forward to the first of many. But I’m not. Not at all.
Young Woman: [voice over] Feels like I’ve known Jake longer than I have. What has it been? A month? Six weeks, maybe seven. I should know exactly. I’ll say seven weeks.
Young Woman: [voice over] We have a real connection. A rare and intense attachment. I’ve never experienced anything like it.
Young Woman: [voice over] I’m thinking of ending things.
Young Woman: What?
Jake: Did you say something?
Young Woman: No, I don’t think so.
Young Woman: [voice over] I’m thinking of ending things. What’s the point in carrying on like this? I know what it is, where it’s going. Jake is a nice guy, but it’s not going anywhere. I’ve known this for a while now. Maybe it’s human nature to keep going in the face of this knowledge. The alternative requires too much energy. Decisiveness.
Young Woman: [voice over] People stay in unhealthy relationships because it’s easier. Basic physics. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. People tend to stay in relationships past their expiration date. It’s Newton’s first law of emotion.
Young Woman: [voice over] Maybe it’s unfair of me to be going on this trip with Jake. When I’m so uncertain about our future, our lack of it. After all, going to meet your boyfriend’s parents is the proverbial next step, isn’t it? The truth is, I haven’t even told my parents I’m dating Jake. I’ve never mentioned him, and I don’t think I ever will.
Young Woman: [voice over] I guess it’s curiosity. Jake is certainly hard to figure. Maybe it’s like a window into his origins. The child being father of the man and all.
[referring to Wordsworth]
Jake: His poem, Ode, Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.
Young Woman: Jesus, that’s the title? Sounds like an entire poem.
Jake: Get your words worth with Wordsworth.
[imitates firing a gun]
Young Woman: Fired.
[referring to Wordsworth’s poem]
Jake: Do you want to hear how it starts?
Young Woman: I’m not a metaphorical type gal.
Jake: It’s just that that one speaks to me. Incidentally, Wordsworth wrote a series of poems to a woman named Lucy.
Young Woman: Like me!
Jake: A beautiful, idealized woman, who dies young.
Young Woman: Oh, yikes.
Jake: Well, the comparison goes only as far as your name.
Young Woman: Phew.
Jake: And that you are ideal, of course.
Young Woman: [voice over] Yeah, I do like Jake. And he’s educated. Our fields are different, but he’s curious and keeps up. That’s a good thing. It’s in the pro column. And he’s cute in his awkward way. We’re interesting together too.
Young Woman: [voice over] People look at us when we’re together. “Who’s that couple?” I don’t get looked at alone. And Jake doesn’t either. Jake tells me that he feels it. Feels invisible.
[as they listen to “Many A New Day” from Oklahoma on the radio]
Jake: But I know Oklahoma best, I guess. They do it every few years. For obvious reasons.
Young Woman: Wait, who does it every few years?
Jake: Sometimes I see kids who were in past productions, you know, at the supermarket, working at stores in town. Older now.
Young Woman: We’ve all been there.
Young Woman: Protesting too much how okay everything is.
Jake: That’s why I like road trips. It’s good to remind yourself the world’s larger than the inside of your own head. You know?
Young Woman, Jake: Perspective.
[reciting the poem Bonedog by Eva H.D. for Jake]
Young Woman: “Coming home is terrible. Whether the dogs lick your face or not. Whether you have a wife, or just a wife-shaped loneliness waiting for you. Coming home is terribly lonely. So that you think of the oppressive barometric pressure, back where you have just come from with fondness. Because everything’s worse once you’re home.
[after the poem recitation]
Young Woman: Well, “wow” is an all-purpose exclamation. I just realized that. It can mean you loved it, or it can mean there are no words to describe how rubbish it is.
Jake: I love it. I love it. It’s amazing. It’s like you wrote it about me.
Young Woman: Oh, you know, I guess that’s what one hopes for when writing a poem.
Jake: What’s that?
Young Woman: Some universality in the specific. I don’t know.
Jake: It’s like you wrote it about me.
Young Woman: [voice over] I’m thinking of ending things. Jake is really great. He’s really sweet. He’s sensitive, and he listens to me, and he’s smart. But there’s just something ineffable. Profoundly, unutterably, unfixably wrong here.
Young Woman: I guess I was thinking about time.
Young Woman: Yeah. Like we’re on a train and it takes us where it takes us. There’s no veering off, there’s no side trips, and like Mussolini’s train, it runs on time.
Jake: But that’s not really true about Mussolini and trains. The improvements in the railway system preceded him. He just took the credit. And even still, they didn’t always run on time.
Young Woman: I wasn’t really talking about Mussolini’s train.
Jake: And anyway, you can always jump off a train.
Young Woman: In movies. In real life, you’ll probably die jumping from a moving train.
Jake: I suppose I watch too many movies.
Young Woman: Everybody does. Societal malady.
Jake: Fill my brain with lies to pass the time, in the blink of an eye, and an eye blink
in excruciatingly slow motion.
Young Woman: It’s like the rabies virus, attaching itself to our ganglia, changing us into itself.
Jake: Viruses are monstrous.
Young Woman: Everything wants to live, Jake. Viruses are just one more example of everything.
Young Woman: Even fake crappy movie ideas want to live. Like they grow in your brain, replacing real ideas. That’s what makes them dangerous.
Jake: So not everything wants to live. Right?
Young Woman: True. Well, they want their communities to live. Which is sort of like themselves, writ large. Anyway, we don’t really know if they want anything. It’s just most likely how they’re programmed.
Jake: Maybe we’re all programmed, right?
[she sighs and imitates explosion sound]
Young Woman: And now we’re both dead.
[after they arrive at Jake’s parents farm and he’s showing her around]
Young Woman: [voice over] There is something dreary and sad in here. And it smells. I wonder what it must be like to be a sheep. Spend one’s entire life in this miserable smelly place doing nothing. Eating, s**tting, sleeping, over and over.
[after he explains the pigs were put down due to being being eaten alive by maggots]
Jake: Life can be brutal on a farm.
Young Woman: [voice over] Everything has to die. That’s the truth. One likes to think that there is always hope. That you can live above death. And it’s a uniquely human fantasy that things will get better, born perhaps of the uniquely human understanding that things will not. There’s no way to know for certain. But I suspect humans are the only animals that know the inevitability of their own deaths. Other animals live in the present. Humans cannot, so they invented hope.
[referring to his parents house]
Young Woman: Reminds me of the house I grew up in.
Jake: I suppose all farmhouses are alike.
Young Woman: Like all happy families.
Jake: I’m not sure Tolstoy got that one right. Happiness in a family is as nuanced as unhappiness.
Young Woman: Well, I think he was talking about marriage.
Mother: So glad to meet you, Louisa. Jake has told us so much about you.
Young Woman: Oh, he’s told me so much about both of you too.
Mother: Oh. And you came anyway?
[the mother and father laugh]
Father: Well, let’s eat. Or the food will be as cold as a witch’s tit in a brass brassiere.
Mother: So, Jake tells us you’re a painter.
Young Woman: Yes! Jake tells you correctly.
Father: I don’t really know much about art, but I like pictures where you know what you’re looking at. What’s it called? Abstract. I don’t get that. I could do abstract. Smear some paint on, what’s it called? Canvas. I think it’s a con job if you ask me. I like paintings that look like photographs. I couldn’t do that in a million years. That is talent.
Jake: Why not just take a photograph, dad, if you like photographs? It’s much quicker, and photographs look exactly like photographs.
Father: I like photographs. Mostly sports photographs.
Mother: What kind of paintings do you make, Lucy?
Young Woman: Well, I’m not an abstract artist, so that’s in my favor.
Father: Good! You see, that’s exactly my point. You see? Good!
Young Woman: I do mostly landscape.
Young Woman: I try to imbue my work with a sort of interiority.
Father: Interiority. So you paint inside?
Young Woman: Well, inside my head. So a landscape would attempt to express how I feel at that time. Lonely. Joyous. Worried. Sad.
Mother: That sounds very interesting. Like that painting of that girl, sitting in a field, looking at a house.
Young Woman: Christina’s World. Wyeth. Yes. Exactly. But without people.
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That’s an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
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