• James Rutherford

'The End of the Tour': A Dynamic Recreation of David Lipsky's Encounter with David Foster Wallace


Movie poster for the film The End of the Tour starring Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg

"The End of the Tour" (2015) is a dynamic and highly engaging American drama starring Jesse Eisenberg as journalist David Lipsky, who in 1996 traveled from New York City to Bloomington-Normal, Illinois to interview burgeoning literary sensation David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel).


The film opens in 2008 with Lipsky learning of the tragic suicide of Wallace at the age of 46, and subsequently returning to his recordings of their fateful encounter 12 years earlier. The narrative shifts to 1996 and follows Lipsky as he embarks on assignment for Rolling Stone magazine, traveling to the venerable author's home in Central Illinois in order to initiate a lengthy, multi-day interchange with the celebrated author of the best-selling novel "Infinite Jest" (1996). Their spirited discourse becomes the foundation of a lively depiction of intellectual repartee and playful histrionics, meted out over several days on the road as Wallace fulfills a book tour to promote his latest conception.


Adapted by Donald Marguiles from Lipsky's memoir "Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself", and directed by James Ponsoldt ("Smashed", "The Spectacular Now"), "The End of the Tour" is an astute and enchanting recreation of one author's indelible brush with genius. Segel is particularly impressive in his portrayal of the famously complex scribe, a uniquely challenging role that he fulfills with seeming effortlessness—helping to deliver one of the most conscientious and compelling films of the entire decade.

 

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