The End of the Tour
Plot: A cinematic retelling of a multi-day interview that David Lipsky did with David Foster Wallace for Rolling Stone.
This reminded me of My Dinner with Andre in a lot of ways. It doesn't take place over one meal like the Louis Malle movie, but it essentially is one drawn-out conversation between two guys. And like Andre, it kind of sneaks up on you. You realize near the end just how much much these seemingly banal series of moments and conversational tidbits have revealed about these two characters, their flaws, their hopes and fears, their anxieties. There's humor, what appears to be a developing friendship, some tension, a disintegration, an understanding, and what I believe is a really clever pun. The latter has to do with a shoe.
None of it would work without good performances. I've read a little David Foster Wallace and watched Brief Encounters with Hideous Men, but I don't know much about the real human being or how accurate Jason Segal's (How I Met Your Mother and other things) portrayal is. I really liked how he brought the character to life though. It's not any sort of in-your-face powerful performance or anything like that, but there's a consistency to the character's inconsistencies that really bring this complex guy to life. You really feel like you know Wallace after seeing this, and that's a tribute to both the writing and Segal's performance. Eisenberg plays Lipsky, and although he essentially plays the character he plays in every other movie he's in (and I should know because this was the third I watched out of five Eisenberg movies in a row), he's good. I think I've decided that I like Eisenberg if he's in roll where that character he plays fits. It's in romantic comedies or action films where Eisenberg just doesn't fit.
Here's what Eisenberg's hair looks like in this movie in case you're keeping track at home:
Do you think Eisenberg is really smart, by the way? His characters are always smart. Has he ever played a dumb guy?
Anyway, I digress. I think this is definitely a movie worth checking out, and not necessarily only for people who know David Foster Wallace's work. I was touched by the conversation and the relationship of these two writers, and the movie tackles themes about fame, public personas, and art in ways that force you to reflect.