I’m Thinking of Ending Things

A young woman contemplates ending her seven-week relationship with her boyfriend, Jake, while taking a trip to meet his parents at their farm. During the drive, Jake attempts to recite a poem he read when he was younger, Ode: Intimations of Immortality, and pressures the woman into reciting one of her poems to pass time. After she recites a morbid poem about coming home, they arrive at the farmhouse. Jake takes the young woman to the barn, where he recounts a story about a maggot-infested pig. Throughout the drive, as well as later scenes in the film, the main narrative is intercut with footage of a janitor working at a high school, including scenes where he sees students rehearsing Oklahoma! and dancing in the hallway.

At the farmhouse, the young woman notices scratches on the basement door. At dinner with Jake’s parents, the woman, who is described as having different occupations, shows them some photos of her paintings and tells them how she and Jake met at a trivia night, with narrative inconsistencies. Later, she notices a picture of Jake as a child, but becomes confused after recognizing that child as herself. She receives a call, and a mysterious male voice explains in a voicemail that there is “one question to answer”. Jake’s parents unpredictably transform into their younger and older selves. When the young woman takes laundry down to the basement, she discovers several identical janitor uniforms in the laundry, and receives another call from the mysterious voice.

On the drive home, Jake mentions several events of the night that the young woman does not remember, including her drinking too much wine; word association soon leads to an extended discussion of John Cassavetes’s A Woman Under the Influence. They stop at Tulsey Town, an ice cream parlor, whose employees are students at the school the janitor works at. While the young woman buys ice cream, an employee with a rash attempts to warn her of something she can’t describe. Jake stops at the high school to throw the ice cream cups away. After a heated argument in the parking lot about the lyrics of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, Jake notices the janitor watching them from inside the school and decides to confront him, leaving the young woman alone in the car. After a long wait, she decides to look for Jake inside the school. She meets the janitor and asks him where Jake is, but cannot remember what Jake looks like. She tells the janitor that nothing happened between her and Jake on the night they met, instead claiming she was made uncomfortable by Jake staring at her.

After the young woman discovers Jake at the end of a hall, they look on as people dressed like themselves engage in a dream ballet, which ends when the janitor’s dancer kills Jake’s dancer with a knife.

Having finished his shift, the janitor suffers a mental breakdown and begins to hallucinate visions of Jake’s parents as well as an animated Tulsey Town jingle. He undresses and walks back inside the school, led by another hallucination of a maggot-infested pig who tells him that he and his ideas are one and the same, and that he should get dressed.

On an auditorium stage, an old Jake receives a Nobel Prize and sings a song from Oklahoma! to an audience of various characters, who give him a standing ovation. In the final shot, Jake’s car is covered in snow in the school parking lot.