Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

Focus Features, which is the specialty films unit of Universal Pictures, has released another movie. It’s called something as weird, yet memorable as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; a quotation from a famous poem by Alexander Pope and Kirsten Dunst got to say it in the movie:

“How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d;”

Written by Charlie Kaufman, you already know that you are in for something special. His previous work includes Being John Malcovich (1999), Adaptation (2002) and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), and it’s as if Kaufman won’t settle for doing a “regular” movie. His movies are all thought provoking and they are movies you talk about afterwards, not many people have achieved that.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (ESotSM) is nothing like what you might expect. I know I thought to myself, that seeing as Jim Carrey has a huge role in this movie, I thought he might be hilarious throughout the movie. I loved him in both of the Ace Ventura movies, but respected him more for his infamous grimaces rather than his acting skills. EsotSM totally changed my mind about how I perceive Jim Carrey, he even convinced me that he deserves an Oscar, no doubt about it. The movie made me realize that there’s SO much more to him, something we rarely get to see though. Yeah, I could go on all day long about how great his performance is.
He plays Joel Barish, who is a shy humble man having trouble with the opposite sex. One day he suddenly, spontaneously, decides to skip work and takes a train to Montauk. Here he ponders on his life, asking himself (when he sees Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet), an attractive wild, free-spirited multi-hair colored woman for the first time), why he falls in love with every woman who shows him the least bit of attention.
On the train ride back home he begins a conversation with Clementine and they almost immediately fall in love. This is where things start to get really serious.
I think you’ve guessed by now that this is not Carrey’s usual stuff, but a romantic drama!

Joel finds out in a heart-wrenchingly way that she has had him erased from her mind and how does he know this? Their relationship has just ended at this point and he walks into a bookstore and sees her sitting behind her desk, but naturally finds it odd when she doesn’t seem to recognize him at all. Back home he gets a letter (he wasn’t supposed to see) that simply says:

“Clementine Kruczynski has had Joel Barrish erased from her memory. Please never mention their relationship to her again. - Thank you.”

The letter has been sent by Lacuna, Inc; a company which has specialized itself in erasing people’s memories, thus removing any pain it might have caused. The mere thought that Clementine can’t remember their relationship and everything they used to be haunts Joel and therefore he decides to undergo the very same procedure. But everything doesn’t turn out the way Joel imagined. In the middle of the whole erasing process he changes his mind and tries eagerly to escape with Clementine to the darkest fragments of his memory (this is how most of the movie goes) after he learns that he might not want to forget their relationship.

Most of the characters in ESotSM are familiar from other movies and the team from Lacuna, Inc who are to erase Joel’s memory consists of: Mary (Kirsten Dunst), Patrick (Elijah Wood), Stan (Mark Ruffalo) and Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson). I must admit that I did, sort of, have a hard time in the beginning acknowledging that Elijah Wood won’t always be Frodo of Lord of the Rings, but I quickly forgot as the movie went on. All in all an incredible cast.

The visuals are not striking in the same way that most big-budget Hollywood-produced movies are but it’s still very good and I was definitely impressed by some scenes and kinda prefer them to that new Blockbuster because it feels more real and overall there was an amazing use of colors. Luckily the director, Michel Gondry, didn’t choose to focus too much on CGI, which I think is a big problem for many Hollywood-directors. It’s as if they believe that as long as the visuals are OK, then people won’t notice the smaller things not being there… like a story for instance! ESotSM is made just the way movies are supposed to be made and is one of my all-time favorite movies.




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COMMENTS

Irina:

My favorite also. The scenes where Joel and Clementine lay on the ice together and where they lie in bed sharing secrets are so poignantly real. They yank me back in time to a relationship that I still cry over, wishing things had turned out differently. Anyone who has ever loved and lost, or loved and got a second chance, should love this perfect little film.

Dennis:

Wonderful comment - thanks a lot and I hope you move on someday. :-)

Vel:

Well done comment, i love this movie. You can totally relate to it and kinda miss your ex, lover, etc even more after watching it.

mitsk2002:

Totally agree with you about Hollywood using an abundance of CGI with movies while forgetting to have a freaking story or talented actors. Great blog!

user:

You just can’t get the story line strait first time around watching it. :S

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Frederik Sass Meyer:

Great film! Love it! I wanna be an actor, i´ll get my inspiration of Jim carrey. His so great, this film is also great! Anyway.. Great! 5/5

anonymous:

Nice review, but you got it wrong in the beginning.

They met on the beach the first time. At the party thing on the beach, when she took a piece of his chicken and they broke into the beach front house.

On the train ride when they talk “for the first time,” that’s after they both had their memories swiped. Watch the beginning again and after he’s undergone the procedure. He gets up, out of his bed in the same way, sees the dent in his car (caused by Clementine, whom he now has no recollection of) and goes to the train. Their conversation on the train occurs after their relationship, breakup, erased memories. They met on the beach.

Sorry, but that really bothered me lol. I too love this movie: one of my faves.

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souvik:

I found out why I felt so crappy while watching the film, the entire film seems to be familiar to me and my romantic life.Maybe I could let something happen, I always keep thinking of that but it never comes true. I wish lacuna was there to help me.

Charlie Kaufman as Auteur, « Content:

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Chastine Sayo:

is it possible to erase a particular scene in your life?

Anne:

Oh, I absolutely adored this movie. I never really liked Jim Carrey. I always thought of the movie The Mask when I heard his name & that gargantuan goofy grin that just irritates me! This movie entirely changed my perspective on him, gotta remember he’s just acting haha.
Anyways, it became my favorite movie the second I was done watching it. I know so ’cause I watched it again right after. And then one more time d: Kate Winslet is beautiful, although a bit too bitchy sometimes. I will never get tired of this movie.

Phillip Flakes:

I’ve loved and lost in my life, but the thought of complete erasure from my memory is not desired, for my heart though shattered for a long time has reassembled, but the memory and pain still remains!

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