The End of the Tour

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

I was a mild David Foster Wallace fan, and that may have affected my interest in this movie. Specifically: I didn't fall asleep. I'm not sure how a non-fan would take it.

It's the based-on-truth story of how Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky latched onto DFW for a few days on the tail end of the book tour for Infinite Jest in 1996. (Jesse Eisenberg plays Lipsky, and "How I Met Your Mother" actor Jason Segel plays DFW. (Just so we know the sad story: the movie's first scene is Lipsky learning of DFW's 2008 suicide, and most of the remaining is a flashback.)

DFW is portrayed as … well, it's complex. He's reclusive and secretive at times, others hospitable and generous. Both reticent and revealing. Proud of his literary talent, but also aware of the pitfalls it could bring.

But Lipsky has his own baggage. His editor is hassling him to get the lowdown on DFW's alleged drug abuse; he correctly senses that probing that issue might ruin his rapport with the writer. He's (maybe) more than slightly jealous of DFW's fame and talent, while his own writing career is nowheresville.

The movie is mainly dialog between Lipsky and DFW, as they travel from DFW's Illinois home to Minneapolis for the book tour stop, and back. So a lot depends on whether you might find that inherently interesting. I did, mostly. And I put the book on which this movie is based on my TTR list, so make of that what you will.

Fun fact: according to IMDB Trivia, Lipsky's DFW article never went beyond the interview stage. Interesting, and a little sad.