Maybe there are some chicks that I wanted out of my memory, maybe….
After learning that his mercurial ex-girlfriend, Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet), has undergone an experimental medical process to purge all memories of him, mild-mannered Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) opts for the same procedure. But during the operation, he decides he doesn’t want to lose what’s left of their relationship and tries to conceal her image in his memory cells.
The script here is done by Charlie Kaufman, who has done scripts for films like Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, so already you know this is going to be some crazy shit. And crazy shit, is exactly what you get here.
The one thing about this script that separates itself from other romantic comedies is that this is painfully honest at times. The sci-fi premise is used as a metaphor as to whether or not we would be better off eliminating that heartbreak from our lives. The fact is that we need heartbreak to learn from it and make sure not to make the same mistake again, and thus it makes us the person we are today. This script really does show love in a beautiful yet painful way because this love that Joel and Clementine has, isn’t a pretty one. This love/relationship isn’t one of those instant love-at-first-sight kind of deals, it’s more that for almost every single great memory of Joel and Clementine there is an equally painful one, one that I wouldn’t want, but not every single relationship a person has, is going to always be happy-go-lucky. This script is just so beautiful and breathtakingly honest because it shows that people change over time, and no matter how much you have your mind want to believe that truly do hate that other person, your heart will never forget that one person. I know it may sound cheesy and a little schmaltzy, but the way the film tells this fact, is just beautiful.
Let’s not also forget that another reason as to why this film works, director Michel Gondry. I don’t know how Gondry took a look at this script and came up with this piece of beauty, but I have to say he absolutely makes every single scene here, his own. Since this takes place in the mind, and as we all know, a lot of crazy things happen inside of our minds, Gondry has the opportunity to let some real trippy stuff happen on screen. The visuals are amazing and are amazing without hardly any use of CG special effects. There’s a lot of beautiful lighting tricks, setting movements, and just overall breath-taking scenes that take us inside of the mind, and give us this wonderful fantasy that life really is something you can’t imagine.
The cast here is also something to praise. Jim Carrey gets rid of his goofy faces, and give us a spot-on performance as the quiet, sweet, and endearing Joel. Carrey owns this performance because he has you believe that somebody this serious could actually have the type of relationship he has with Clementine, and go through all the things he does to keep her in his mind forever. Kate Winslet is almost even better as the eccentric and quirky Clementine, who actually carries her character into being more than just that zany chick, that is almost too hard to believe. Winslet is hilariously likable in this role, but at the same time believable, and wins the crowd over almost throughout the whole film. The rest of the cast in this film is good with the likes of Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, David Cross, and the always reliable, Tom Wilkinson.
Consensus: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is twisty and trippy, but beautifully filmed, with a brutally honest script that shows heartbreak as something in life we always need, no matter how painful, or rewarding. Perfect film all around for anyone who wants to get inside a mind, and possibly get inside their own. I wish I could say more about this film and it’s utter greatness, it’s just one of those things you have to see to believe.
Happy Friday everyone!
This is such an awesome film. I haven’t seen it in ages, so I think a re-watch is in order. One of Carrey’s best dramatic roles, and Winslet has rarely been better.
This is just perfect and I say see it as soon as possible my man. Thanks!
Absolutely great movie. I love every aspect about it, from the casting, the performances, Gondry’s direction and the painfully honest look at falling in and out of love. I need to see this again someday.
This is just an all-around perfect film that deserves to be watched by everyone. I really mean it. Thanks Castor!
Definitely a masterpiece. Though I had “Sideways” as my #1 pick that year, this film kept coming back and it’s definitely a way better film. I just love it.
This is better than Sideways but they’re both different in their own little ways. Glad you love it like I do though Steven!
Great review, this is an amazing film, everything from the story to the performances is just pitch perfect.
It’s just perfect from start to finish really. Thanks man!
Greta review Dan. This film is just all kinds of wonderful. Original, funny, thought-provoking – top notch filmmaking. Probably Carrey’s best film – this or Truman Show.
This is one of his better films and definitely one of the best films of all-time by just how beautiful it is. Thanks Dan!
One of my favourites films, great review.
Thanks PG! Mine too!
Dan! I think this is the first 10 out of 10 I’ve ever seen you give!
Good choice, and a nice write-up. I like the way this movie blends sci fi, humor and romance all together to get this really unique package that doesn’t feel anything at all like any other movie. Totally original.
A lot of fun and a nice message about love and life delivered by the end. Thanks for the reminder, man.
No problem man! This just about as original and perfect as a film can get.
It’s a fantastic movie. Can’t wait to re-watch this film.
Oh I’m glad Sam! Check it out when you can!
Saw this a while back. It was, I agree, quite the film.
It definitely is. Thanks Vik!
I loved this movie, like most stuff of Kaufman’s, precisely because it makes us think in unusual ways.
And I really wish that Jim Carrey would do more films like this and stop making penguin movies. He can be such a great actor when he commits to it.
Thanks for reminding me of this film!
I read this review and BOOM. Subscribed.
This is one of my favorite films. Those are the hardest to write reviews for. Great post!
Joel (Jim Carrey) is a rather milquetoast man who meets up with free spirit Clementine (Kate Winslet), and they become romantically involved. However, they endure a messy breakup and Clementine goes to a business called Lacuna, Inc., where she has all of her memories of Joel erased. Not wanting to be left out, Joel also goes to have his memory erased. However, soon after it begins, Joel realizes that he wants to keep the memory of Clementine, so he tries to reverse the process.
Well, if you’re familiar with Kaufman’s work, then you know what your getting yourself into. This is just as weird if not weirder than his previous work, Being John Malkovich. I knew what I was getting myself into, but 90% of the movie I was saying to myself “What the hell is going on?”, but in a good way. It opens with Joel calling in sick for work and going on a different train, heading for Montauk. He meets Clementine and they hit it off. Now this is about 15 minutes into the movie, then out of nowhere come the opening credit sequence. I will admit, I thought it would be different, but I’m glad that it is the way it is, the movie is 80% of the time in Joel’s head.
If you think you know Carrey, think again. This movie is his best performance, better than Majestic, Truman show and all of his comedic roles (which is what I love him for). Just looking at his face from the second we see him, we feel his pain, then like that, we feel his joy, embarrassment and hate. Just awesome acting on his part, and Winslet was great as the free spirit who never seems satisfied. The supporting cast all work well in their small, yet important roles. Oscar nominations for Winslet and (crosses fingers) Carrey.
But if I were to bet any money on any Oscar nominations it would obviously be the writing, what a mess, but beautifully constructed. You think to yourself, is that scene really necessary? Then ten minutes later you think to yourself how brilliant it was, that’s beautiful, crazy, give me whatever he’s smoking kind of writing. Charlie Kaufman’s writing is always clever, but this time he’s one-upped himself by making something simultaneously bizarre and emotionally engaging. It seemed like his earlier movies were clever for the sake of cleverness, but ‘Eternal Sunshine’ manages to dazzle you with it’s originality and it’s poignancy. The fact that this movie was able to wrap such profound loss, emotional tenderness, and hope in such a self-consciously stylized package illustrates the incredible talent of the people behind it.
Michel Gondry’s use of vibrant coloring and quick camera movement give the film a very involving first hand feeling. The constant use of the handy cam is very all involving for the viewer, and I suppose that this is exactly what is needed in such a personal movie. His work on the dream sequences is incredible as well. He decides to use more practical effects than what we see today with computers.
Eternal Sunshine is a tragic, yet beautiful film that sits at the top of my list of “Best of 2004”.