Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- Michel Gondry
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Monday, August 02, 2004
No. Kaufmanís scripts are bizarre, wicked, and brilliant. Eternal Sunshine is an addition to his line of brilliant scripts, and itís no wonder heís getting so much following. Really, who else could come up with these ideas and put them together so well?
The film tells the story of Joel (Jim Carrey), a man saddened by his loneliness, who suddenly meets Clementine (Kate Winslet), and shares with her an immediate, unexplainable attraction. Thing is, theyíve been together before, in a hazardous relationship, and they both got their memories of each other deleted by Lacuna Inc., a company that does this kind of job.
After this introduction, we go back to see Joel take the decision to delete his memories of Clementine, resentful of her own decision to delete him from her mind. Itís not an easy decision of course, but itís certainly an easy task, if it wasnít because Joel changes his mind during the ďoperationĒ, and mentally tries to escape from the procedure. Itís all a trip inside Joelís mind as he tries to hide Clementine (or her memory) somewhere in his memory where she shouldnít be located. Itís a fun trip inside someoneís memories and also a melancholy look at former relationships.
As a matter of fact, this movie is quite easy to identify with if youíve been tormented by a relationship and forced to quit it, and though you know itís for the best, you canít help longing for those days, and that person who loved you as intensely as you loved him or her.
An apparently irrelevant subplot has technicians Stan (Mark Ruffalo) and Patrick (Elijah Wood) performing the operation, with Lacuna Inc. receptionist Mary (Kirsten Dunst) dropping by. Mary and Stan are in some sort of relationship, while Patrick has started a relationship with a patient using her deleted memories as tools. As I said, this subplot seems irrelevant, but itís full of shockers and revelations concerning Patrick and especially Mary, when things get complicated with Joel, and Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), their boss, is forced to show up and help.
Eternal Sunshine is not as pleasant a trip as other Kaufman-written films, notably those directed by Spike Jonze. Somehow, here the show is messy, disorganized, abruptly edited, and overall unsettling. I loved the scenes inside Joelís mind, with Jon Brionís music accompanying them to perfection, but outside, in Joelís room, things were plain ugly. I mostly blame director Gondry for that.
Nevertheless, the procedures are irresistible, and the ending makes up for many flaws in the process. Just watch all those storylines get together, and youíll be fascinated. Plus, though the characters are rather unlikable, theyíre remarkably well performed, with Carrey amazing as a dull, anxious man, Winslet terrific as a neurotic, impulsive woman, and Dunst outstanding as a dumb girl with much more to say than one would expect her to.
In the end, this is a movie about the human condition, and how memories can probably be shut down, but feelings simply cannot. In that way, itís quite a triumph.
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Other reviews of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004): Morris