Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (7/10/12)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindMovie One Hundred Sixty Three

In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a couple decides to have a procedure to have the other erased from their memory after their relationship goes on the rocks but things don’t go quite as they planned.

After taking an unplanned trip to Montauk, shy, tightly-wound Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) meets Clementine (Kate Winslet), a free spirited woman with bright dyed hair. The two form an instant connection. Later on, after the relationship has soured, Joel finds out that Clementine has had him erased from her memory and decides to have the same procedure to erase her. After things do not go as planned during Joel’s procedure, more is revealed about Joel and Clementine’s relationship through Joel’s memories as another man, Patrick (ElijahWood) tries to take Joel’s place.

After watching Being John Malkovich, I decided to watch another of Charlie Kaufman’s films, this one directed by Michel Gondry. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kaufman’s unique sense of humor and penchant for odd stories that are also touching. Joel and Clementine’s relationship is something I certainly identified with, I see a little of myself inside Joel and I’ve known girls similar to Clementine. The procedure to erase certain memories from one’s mind is a very interesting concept that will likely leave you wondering if you would have anyone erased and why.

One thing I’ve found turns people off of Eternal Sunshine… is Jim Carrey. While comedians in serious dramatic roles is not always a good thing, in this case it works quite well. Joel is a somber, serious individual but we do see him joking around too. Carrey is almost totally subdued here and does quite well, perhaps even outshining the always fantastic Winslet. When the film begins to come to its climax near the end, and things begin to get a bit weird, Gondry’s direction really shines. He’s a director I’ve never been overly impressed by but Eternal Sunshine… works well with him at the helm.

I absolutely adore Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind but it’s not a film I could watch very often. That’s not to say it’s depressing or sad on its own but it stays with you long after the credits roll. As a Kaufman film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind infinitely smart and charming and weird but it ranks among one of his best and maybe his most accessible.

I give it 5 Clementine’s hair colors out of 5.

Links:

Rotten Tomatoes

IMDB

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18 responses to “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (7/10/12)

  1. I remember the first time I saw this movie, going in a bit skeptical for Gondry, hoping for the best from Carrey who I have always liked since back in the day when he was on In Living Color. He’s a chamelian, shape-shifter, something about his childhood left him deeply wounded (he was homeless with his family for a time, they lived in their car in Canada) and it comes through in his performances, even when he’s being ridiculous (Dumb and Dumberer, though I hated this one). I ended up really liking this film, flaws and all, and it remains the only film of Gondry’s that I really like. I think his problem is his mind is always mulling over music video stylings and while picture perfect and stimulating, the technique doesn’t translate to feature length films. Anyway, nice review. Looking forward to reading more.

  2. loved this movie. it was so excellently directed and held together. the time shifts had to be hell to work with, but it was done perfectly. it’s also the only jim carrey movie i can actually watch.

    • Indeed, the script could have easily gotten away from them and become a convoluted mess but Gondry keeps it in line. I grew up watching Jim Carrey so he doesn’t bother me too much but his role in this film is far and away his best role.

  3. Love this movie from start to finish and honestly get chocked up every time by the end. I don’t know what it is about this flick, there’s just something about its originality that always gets me glued. Good review Andy.

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