Top 365 Films – #053 – Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)

Top 365 Films - The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindDIRECTED BY: Michel Gondry

STARRING: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, Ryan Whitney, Lola Daehler, Tom Wilkinson, Jane Adams, David Cross, Deirdre O’Connell and Thomas Jay Ryan

BUDGET: $20m

EARNED (Worldwide): $72.3m

AWARDS: Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and 2 BAFTAs for Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing

 

SYNOPSIS

When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.

 

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind has us following a man named Joel Barish, who learns that his long-time girlfriend Clementine has undergone an experimental procedure which removes all of the memories she has of Joel after their relationship turns sour. Frustrated and hurt that she would do such a drastic thing, Joel agrees to undergo the procedure as well to remove his memories of Clementine. However through this process Joel finds that he still loves Clementine and fights to keep the memories of their moments together alive.

 

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind has a rather complexed script written by Charlie Kaufman mixed along with Michel Gondry’s interesting use of visual storytelling and together they’ve created one of the most unique tales on romance and essentially broken hearts. It’s one thing to just pick yourself up from a broken/end of a relationship and forget about the other half and it’s another to completely wipe them away from your memory entirely and the film balances the sense of deja vu between Joel and Clementine from the opening moments until we get to going backwards and forwards in time as we learn that they had a long-term relationship and things ended badly, so badly in fact that Clementine had a procedure to erase Joel from her memory. Out of hurt and frustration that she would do that, Joel wants to remove memories of Clementine….which proves difficult when he’s undergoing the procedure as he notices the good times they had together and decides in mid-process that keeping the memory of Clementine is worth fighting for. As bizarre as the premise may seem, the film relies deeply on human emotion and the need for love and companionship and asking questions like if the memories are erased, what’s not to suggest that the attraction, that spark can’t be reignited only for the pair to find themselves heartbroken once more and repeating the cycle? That particular question comes into play in one sub-plot which, at the first time watching it, felt like it came out of the blue but on repeated viewings I mustn’t have followed it properly as it made total sense. The supporting cast has fine performances from Tom Wilkinson, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst and Elijah Wood but it’s the two leads, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, that hold the film together. Carrey is strip from his comedy charms as the rather lonely Joel, a man broken yet still looking to cling to one memory left rather than none at all and Winslet is a burst of energy as Clementine and it’s interesting how these polar opposites match.

 

 

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: Joel relives the events of his first meeting with Clementine, breaking into a vacant summer home along the beach. As their surroundings crumble, Joel admits to being scared when they first met and admitting that he’d wish to do it over again.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating.’ – Joel Barish

DID YOU KNOW?: The scene where Joel and Clementine watch the circus go through the streets was made up on the spot, as the film crew and cast happened to be working nearby and Michel Gondry decided it could work well in the film. The part where Clementine disappears suddenly is one of Gondry’s favorite moments of the film, as Jim Carrey didn’t know Kate Winslet was going to disappear and Gondry likes it because Carrey’s face appears so saddened. When the sound blanks out in the final film, Carrey is actually saying “Kate?”

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