FBMR - Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless
Film-BUff Movie Reviews


ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004) ****

Have you ever hurt so badly that you can feel your stomach turn inside out? Have you ever lost someone and just canít seem to let go and move on? Have you ever wished that you could stop that feeling? This intriguing film addresses these questions and more.

Set in the not-too-distant future, this film is about two people who, after a relationship turns sour, decide to get the memories of the other permanently erased from their respective minds. Clementine (Kate Winslet) was first to undergo this procedure, and when Joel (Jim Carrey) finds out about said erasure decides to erase Clementine from his memory. However, part way through the extraction, Joel changes his mind. I'm sure everyone's heard the expression, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone." This sentiment expresses the feelings that Joel has when he realizes what he's actually doing. Unfortunately, he's been put under and can come out to stop it. We are taken inside his mind where he witnesses his memories vanishing. Within these memories, he talks to the Clementine in his head about what's going on, having new conversations with an old memory, and they try to hide in the far recesses of his mind. Meanwhile, the memory-erasing technicians are busy trying to find them and remove them from his mind.

Iím a fan of non-linear story-telling because itís not the norm. And this film is not only non-linear in the characterís conscious, but also in Joelís subconscious, with memories overlapping each other, discovering the bitter-sweetness of his and Clementineís relationship during his memory extraction, and modifying these memories as Joelís subconscious self hears the technicians talking to each other. Add in the fact that one of the technicians has fallen in love with Clementine (post-erasure) and is now dating her, youíve got a most bizarre love triangle.

Charlie Kaufman is one of the most original and bizarre writers to have his writings on the silverscreen in a long time. He also seems to like collaborating with cutting-edge music video directors, previously with Spike Jonze, and this time around, French director, Michel Gondry. I think it takes someone very adventurous and avant-garde to bring his stories to the screen and do them justice.

I loved this movie because it was visually enticing as well; using the camera and unusual points of view to paint a picture on the screen. It also created the disintegration of oneís mind with great conviction. It was as if we were witnessing what if feels like when you wake up from a dream only to have it vanish from your mind within seconds. Yet sometimes, these dreams creep back up on you days later, as do some of Joelís memories. It is also far smarter and more original than PAYCHECK, which dealt with memory-erasing as well.

I believe that everything that has occurred in your life, the good and the bad, makes you who you are right now. You canít change the past, and if you could, or erase it, whoís to say whether youíll be the same person you once were. Yet in the end, I was left with mixed emotions about the desire for a second chance, serendipity, and the struggle with the inevitable. Great cast! Great acting! Great film!