The End Of The Tour
David Lipsky’s literary memoir Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself becomes a motion picture, with Jesse Eisenberg playing Lipsky and Jason Segel playing David Foster Wallace, in a dramatization of the days the two writers spent together while Lipsky worked on a post-Infinite Jest profile of Wallace for Rolling Stone.
It’s hard to find anything bad to say about the project’s screenwriter, Donald Marguiles (a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who has a keen understanding of the rhythms and subtexts of ordinary conversation), or the director, James Ponsoldt (who really came into his own as a shaper of performances and a documenter of Americana with 2013’s The Spectacular Now).
Though the first stills of Segel as Wallace—complete with the author’s well-known bandana—generated some skepticism, The End Of The Tour’s Sundance debut largely calmed any fears that the movie and Segel were going to cheapen a cultural icon. That’s because this ultimately isn’t a film about Wallace at all. Though it covers a lot of the writer’s personal quirks and philosophies, it’s more a bracingly accurate depiction of two very different colleagues, thrown together by their chosen careers, trying awkwardly to be friends.
Though Segel’s performance is likely to get most of the attention (and is very good, shading a quiet affability with darker undertones), the real key to The End Of The Tour’s success is Eisenberg, who as always is gutsy enough to play his character as unattractively needy. His take on Lipsky exposes the uncomfortable truth of how artists of varying abilities and fame relate to each other in social situations.
ANTICIPATION RATING: 8.0
The film’s Sundance reception, to say nothing of its pedigree, leads us to believe this will be worth a look.