THE END OF THE TOUR
An interviewer for Rolling Stone travels to Bloomington, Illinois, to meet his subject: an author embarking on the last leg of his book tour. They make small talk at the author's house. They smoke incessantly. They gorge on junk food. They travel to Minnesota for a reading and radio segment. They visit the Mall of America. They catch a multiplex movie. They hang out with a couple of young women. They consume more junk food. They return to Bloomington. They part ways.
In broad outline, that is the entire plot of director James Ponsoldt's and screenwriter Donald Margulies' The End of the Tour. And with the possible exception of Mad Max: Fury Road, no other 2015 release, to date, has entertained, thrilled, and devastated me quite as much as this one. (The film is currently playing at Iowa City's Marcus Sycamore Cinema.) I'll concede that much of the reason for my enjoyment might be strictly personal, or at least intensely specific. But I also don't think anyone needs to have been an interviewer, or an interviewee, to be dazzled by the film's intelligence, emotional complexity, and deep empathy, or by the insight it demonstrates regarding the oddly fraught practice of the celebrity profile. You probably also don't need to be an admirer of David Foster Wallace to find yourself frequently moved to tears, but if you are one, consider yourself warned.