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A man, Joel Barish, heartbroken that his girlfriend Clementine underwent a procedure to erase him from her memory, decides to do the same. However, as he watches his memories of her fade away, he realizes that he still loves her, and may be too late to correct his mistake.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind gives us an incredible glimpse of the human mind, the power of memory and its visceral connection with love. While the movie may have not done as great in the box office, it should very well become a cult classic or something to that extent. This is truly a brilliant film, directed by coming of age major motion picture director Michel Gondry and written by Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich), Eternal Sunshine is presented in a brilliant fashion.
Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) have been in love with each other for a few years and just a few days before Valentine's Day, they break up. Clementine (has many personal problems, including addiction) decides to go through a process headed by Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson) to have all of her memories of Joel erased to end the pain. Seems like a pretty good idea doesn't it? Somehow Joel finds out about Clementine having her memory erased and he goes through the same process. In the process, Joel must strap a metal helmet on his head and have a team of lab scientists (Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo). Everything goes fine; however through experiencing all of the memories of Clementine for the last time, he discovers that he does truly love her. The premise from there is Joel traveling through his dying memories and "going off the map" to escape the procedure.
While Eternal Sunshine may seem like some cheesy sci-fi romantic comedy, that is far from the truth. Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry paint a visual picture of the meaning of bad memories. This is more of a philosophical interpretation of human emotions and actions, presented through memories. While it is a love tale, it is mostly bittersweet. Nope, you won't find themes from Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! here.
The other quality that makes this movie so great is relatable characters. I found myself to relate to Joel the most. Joel plays the typical shy and quirky guy who you just have to fall in love with. Carrey does a stellar job at portraying this character. That says something about Carrey too, since his serious roles have sucked. I think this is his first GOOD serious role. Kate Winslet does a fantastic job at playing the drama queen Clementine. Just by watching this movie, it is impossible NOT to fall in love with her. Elijah Wood breaks out of his Frodo Baggins character for this film, and he performs very well. Kirsten Dunst plays a very emotional role, without spoiling anything, just watch her. Bottom line here: the characters are loveable, relatable, and true.
If you don't really buy into the story, the visual design is enough to grab any self-loving moviegoer. The visual design and basic atmosphere of the film gives it a tangible feel to it. The memories are presented in a way where Joel and Clementine are center stage and there's a giant spotlight focusing on them, and no one else. In the movie, Joel escapes to memories from his childhood. He is still in adult form, but in his memories he is a little kid. Clementine gets trapped in there with him. This is where the comedic parts come in, like when his mom walks in on him masturbating. The childhood scenes give it more of a lighter feeling. It off sets the depressing themes and occurrences prior to, which is needed in a movie like this. The movie doesn't end on a sad note, but it doesn't end on a happy note either. It's a bittersweet end, but it will leave you hanging on many things. That will leave the rest for you to think about.
Gondry and Kaufman have given us one of the best and weirdest movies of the year. I think it is very safe to say that Eternal Sunshine could possibly be THE best movie thus far in 2004. The superb cast, the brilliant writing, and of course the fascinating visual settings make Eternal Sunshine one of those movies that will keep you guessing and thinking way after the movie has ended. If you like movies that make you think, such as Memento, or simply want to see a bittersweet film about relationships and the power of love, definitely check out Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. 10/10
- added 08/03/2004, 11:52 PM
I LOVE THIS MOVIE AND I CANT WAIT TILL THE DVD
COMES OUT, JIM CARREY RULEZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- added 11/11/2004, 04:10 PM
This movie was just so amazing. It was funny, sad,
intriguing, it was everything a movie should be,
with an amazing performane by Jim Carrey.
- added 12/29/2004, 01:51 AM
It was one of THE best movies ever. The overall
message was great-history repeats itself.
- added 05/22/2005, 04:26 AM
Best interpretation by Jim Carrey. And what do you
know, he doesn't make any face! Well.. almost
- added 07/03/2005, 06:27 AM
This is a Chuck Palanhiuk book in action.
- added 10/18/2005, 09:47 PM
You don't get much better than this one. A
flawless script from Charlie Kaufman, brilliant
directing from Michael Gondry, and a cast to
absolutely die for, especially Carrey and Winslet
in the lead roles, and the always great Tom
Wilkinson as the doctor. This one will go down as
one of the most popular films of all-time...just
check the IMDB listing of the Top 200 Films of
All-Time and see where this one ranks. Amazing
- added 01/26/2006, 08:02 PM
I think this movie was incredinly overhyped. Even
though the ending was touching, i just couldn't
get into this movie.
- added 09/23/2006, 04:52 PM
I'm with Edd on this one. "Being John Malkovich"
was flawless, but with this one, I got bored, and
didn't really care about the characters.
- added 11/22/2007, 12:31 PM
I was browsing through the IMDB 250 greatest
movies of all time and i came across this movie
and noticed Jim Carey was in a dramatic role. I
remember watching the commercials for this movie
and they didn't initially grab me. By the great
reviews for this movie, I had to watch it and I am
glad i did. Its one of the greatest movies for a
reason. The director made sure the viewer thought
they were watching an acid trip, as the art is
abstract and beautiful and the acting is top
notch. This movie is about despair and depression
and then it brings you hope and possibility. The
only way i can see someone not liking this movie
is because they have never loved and lost, or been
in a relationship where it had reached the sealing
and the fall was easier then the climb up. If
you've never felt the way these characters have
then you have truly never lived. I can name a few
people i would love to erase, and the concept of
this movie is brilliant. 10/10
- added 09/07/2010, 12:10 AM
Just watched this for the first time in 5+ years.
Still amazing. Gondry has a very distinct and
unique style of film making and it's very apparent
in this picture. Nearly impossible to find a flaw
in this one.