Main Plot Points:
- THE END OF THE TOUR tells the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter (and novelist) David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite Jest. As the days go on, a tenuous yet intense relationship seems to develop between journalist and subject.
- The two men bob and weave around each other, sharing laughs and also possibly revealing hidden frailties – but it’s never clear how truthful they are being with each other. Ironically, the interview was never published, and five days of audio tapes were packed away in Lipsky’s closet. The two men did not meet again. The film is based on Lipsky’s critically acclaimed memoir about this unforgettable encounter, written following Wallace’s 2008 suicide.
- Both Segel and Eisenberg reveal great depths of emotion in their performances and the film is directed with humor and tenderness by Sundance vet James Ponsoldt from Pulitzer- Prize winner Donald Margulies’ insightful and heartbreaking screenplay.
What We Thought:
- The End of the Tour is a hard film to review. Not because it’s bad, far from it, but it’s pretty much one giant conversation between characters you might not be familiar with.
- I knew of David Foster Wallace, but to be honest, never read Infinite Jest. If you are a fan, you’ll definitely enjoy the movie. Even if you aren’t a fan or aren’t familiar with the characters, you should still like it because it’s a well made and well acted drama.
- Not knowing the whole story, I still found the film pretty fascinating. Jason Segel who plays Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg who plays Lipsky are both fantastic in their portrayals. Most people already know Eisenberg can be great, but it’s Segel that’s the surprise. Not that anyone thought he was a bad actor, but he’s known more for outlandish comedies.
- In this, Segel throws his hat into the ring as a comedic actor who can handle a dramatic turn. Robin Williams, Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, and Bill Murray have all turned in stellar dramatic performances and if Segel continues to sign on to movies like this, his name will go along with them.
- As for the film itself, it’s pretty much one long conversation between Eisenberg and Segel. Segel’s Wallace is on tour promoting his book with Eisenberg’s Lipsky following him around for Rolling Stone. It’s lots of back and forth dialogue with Segel never quite giving in and opening up to Eisenberg.
- What stands out to me about the film is that it shows every aspect of a writer’s personality. Wallace becomes a celebrity which he doesn’t understand how to control, but also at times plays with it. It shows his genius, his depression, his addiction, his longing to be liked yet won’t admit that’s what he wants. Creative types are introverts and Wallace was their king. At times you aren’t sure if he’s being honest or just stringing along Eisenberg because he’s smart enough to do it.
- The End of the Tour feels like a live action podcast or NPR discussion. The more you know about the characters, the more you’ll probably be interested, but you don’t need to know much to enjoy the film. It’s a character/dialogue driven narrative with two solid performances. Director James Ponsoldt continues his run of well made/well acted smaller films.
Notable Cast & Crew:
- Jesse Eisenberg
- Jason Segel
- Director James Ponsoldt
Recommended if You Like:
- David Foster Wallace