Movie Review: A24's The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour

WRITTEN BY: Donald Margulies
STARRING: Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Segel, Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack, Mamie Gummer, Mickey Sumner
RUN TIME: 106 minutes
RELEASE DATE: July 31, 2015 (NY & LA), August 2015 (Expansion)

Official Sites: Website | Facebook | Twitter
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, Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace, 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.

The End of the Tour is a wonderfully acted, poignant, must-see film based on the 2010 book Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself. There. I got that part out of the way. Go see it. It is very good.

You're going to feel like the film is talking to you. Like it knows your story. Like it can see into your mind. Seriously. It is that universal, and quintessentially American.

The End of the Tour is the story of a man trying to tell the story of another, more accomplished man, and in doing so, trying to make his own story better. The film unfolds from the point of view of David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenburg). Lipsky campaigned to write the first story in the magazine Rolling Stone about a gifted author, David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel). I got the impression that Lipsky didn't admire Wallace so much as he envied Wallace. Wallace was everything that Lipsky wanted to be, everything Lipsky had attempted to be, but missed the mark. It was as if Lipsky was trying to capture the essence of Wallace, for his own gain. It makes for some very interesting narratives between the two.

That's what the film is, a series of narratives over a marathon, five day interview. Lipsky interviewing Wallace. The narrative runs the gamut. Sometimes the topics of the narrative are light. Sometimes they are heavy. Sometimes they are about nothing at all. But whatever the topic, none of them are meaningless to the story.

The narrative is all about what we think we want out of our of lives, what we actually want out of our lives and what we do when what we think we wanted out of our lives isn't really what makes us happy. It seems that everyone wants what someone else has. The narrative is beautifully executed by Segel and Eisenburg. Segel's performance is the best of his career. If nothing else about The End of the Tour interests you, Segel's performance is still worth the price of admission.

It is a worthwhile watch. I'm sure everyone will take something from the film. I found myself engrossed in the interview and the give and take. See The End of the Tour playing in theaters now.

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