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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Year:
2004
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Romance
IMDB rating:
8.4
Director:
Michel Gondry
Jim Carrey as Young Joel
Kate Winslet as Clementine Kruczynski
Gerry Robert Byrne as Train Conductor
Elijah Wood as Patrick
Mark Ruffalo as Stan
Jane Adams as Carrie
Tom Wilkinson as Dr. Howard Mierzwiak
Ryan Whitney as Young Joel
Debbon Ayer as Joel's Mother
Amir Ali Said as Young Bully
Brian Price as Young Bully
Storyline: 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.
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Reviews
Incredibly bad movie
I am stunned that this movie is so highly rated. I like Jim Carrie movies, but this is his worst. And I do mean worst. The story is about 2 total losers trying to find some way to add meaning to their lives when it is obviously hopeless. Their own lives are so meaningless and useless. This movie is so miserable, it is literally painful to watch. For this movie to be so highly rated, it says some very disturbing things about our society. Have we all become a bunch of losers so that losers are the only thing we can identify with? Only pathetic Homer Simpsons appeal to us? May God have mercy on us and shake us awake from our delirious sleep.
2011-08-25
an modern artistic triumph for all involved
Michel Gondry, credited as the director and co-writer of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, is only partly responsible for the success that the film achieves. He implements a awe-inspiring blend of style to a story that is perfectly non-linear. But then there is also the madman genius of the current screen writing plane- Charlie Kaufman- who has written three of the most ingenious, funny, and human of "little" Hollywood movies (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). He understands, and perhaps likely experienced to a degree, what a relationship holds to- the truth, to understanding, and then when it ends, how out memory changes the relationship. Enter in the concept that makes 'Eternal Sunshine' something of a un-official science fiction film - the Lacuna corporation, led by Tom Wilkinson's character, can erase just one person out of your memory, all of the experiences that you and the significant other had. So, when Joel (Jim Carrey) goes in to erase his memory of Clementine (Kate Winslet) after finding out she did just the same, he enters into a mind-warp. He goes through memories they had, happy ones, sad ones, some that are just what makes up what you have emotionally with the one you've loved. And sometimes, and to the behest of the assistants of Lacuna (Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo), Joel doesn't want them all to be erased.

As I mentioned, the plot is non-linear, which could've gone the wrong way if not done with skill. With a film like 21 Grams, which has a talented director and cast, the non-linear structure isn't necessary. But it's an asset that the story doesn't start from A to Z. To assist Gondry with this, he has the extraordinary Ellen Kuras as DP and Valdís Óskarsdóttir, an editor from Iceland. Their collaboration is crucial with Gondry and Kaufman (and co-writer Pierre Bismuth), as they bring all of these un-real images a real quality. Quite simply, there isn't a finer example of surrealism crossbred with realism in any other American film so far this year. The usage of lights, cuts, and with the kinds of special effects not expected (i.e. no CGI), add to the effect it has on a viewer. That the characters of Joel and Clementine are as enveloping as they are is also a credit to Kaufman.

But then there's one more part that completes the success of the film - the acting. Jim Carrey, very simply, is at his very best. He finds a balance from certain scenes in being like people we see everyday, feeling low, not much of interest, inward. And then when the memory erases begin, we get to see him act funny, but not like the kind of humor he brought with Ace Ventura or Dumb and Dumber. This is Carrey knowing this character just well enough to play off his counterpart, played by Winslet. She, meanwhile, is perhaps at her best. Her character is eccentric, funny, insightful, and wanting. She pulls it off. As do the supporting actors.

There's not much more I can say about this film, except to say that even after seeing it three times, I feel like I could watch it over and over and see a new shot, a new sequence, and new set of emotions tied to things. It's very likely one of the great romantic comedies of the decade. A+
2004-10-27
A difficult film to watch
There's absolutely no way I can write about this film without a spoiler, as I think, judging from the comments written up on this site, many seem to have difficulty following the plot. As a general guide, if you're having difficulty following the chronological order of the scenes, it's necessary to follow the changes in color of Clementine's (Kate Winslet) hair. It starts off green, then changes to orange and finally finishes up blue. In the film though, it starts off blue, then goes to orange (the predominant color), then green and then back to blue.

I must say I watched the film with a certain level of discomfort, being constantly reminded of my own break-up. This wasn't helped by my feeling that the Joel character (Jim Carrey) was very similar to myself. The film challenged me to re-evaluate many of the memories I have which I'd purposely buried. This is the dominant theme of the film: our memories and our relationship to them.

The film starts as Joel wakes up one morning feeling awful. It's Valentine's day (his comments about which remind me of things I myself have said). His day simply improves when he discovers someone's smashed in the side of his car, and by the time he gets to the train station he's in such a funk that instead of going to work he impulsively jumps on a train to Montau and later calls in sick. But there he meets someone and they click.

Although we've already seen 15 minutes of the movie, it's at this point that the credits kick in and we watch Joel driving alone in anguish. It soon becomes apparent that Joel and Clementine have just split. Joel is driving home to forget about Clementine forever. He's told by his friends that Clementine's just had him permanently erased from her memory, (a new service offered by a company called Lacuna). So Joel volunteers himself. The company offers to wipe his mind in the comfort of his own home, but during the process Joel in a dreamlike state gets to visit all the recesses of his own memory. At first all we see between the couple is the senseless bickering and the ghastly fights that led up to the breakdown. But then he suddenly comes across a forgotten memory where the couple shared a single tender moment and he remembers his love for her. At this point he starts fighting to save the moment. He tries a number of different stratagems, such as trying to wake himself up, and associating her with memories from his childhood. At first he has some success, but when the "erasure men" hunt down even these memories he's forced to find ever more buried and ever deeper parts of his subconsciousness. But even in the parts of his memory that Joel has almost forgotten himself, the memory of Clementine is systematically rooted out and destroyed.

Most poignant for me is probably the way the film portrays our desire to forget, so that we can block out the mind-numbing pain. When Joel is told to collect together all the things that may remind him of Clementine, he collects together two black bin liners full of stuff; I remember the ambivalence I felt to many of the things I myself once had (and coincidentally I also have a photograph from when my ex was about 8). Another point which touched me was the portrayal of the Eakin's (the mutual friends of Joel and Clementine who'd introduced them.) We see them arguing openly in front of their friends, slowly destroying their own marriage, which in the light of what's happened between Joel and Clementine looks like infinite folly. The film clearly shows the way in which we tend to ignore and take for granted the love we have for our partners and then how we often only realize after being rudely reminded by the pain of separation.

The final scene is when both Joel and Clementine have found out that they had once been lovers. Joel is sitting at home and listening to the tape from his case file. Clementine, on hearing some of the mean things that Joel had told the "doctors" about her, runs away. Joel runs after her and begs her to stay. This is juxtaposed with their real first meeting where the roles were reversed and Joel was the one to chicken out. The relationship starts anew.

Jim Carrey's performance was absolutely stunning. I would never have dreamed that he could play a shy, reserved and introverted man with both subtlety and compassion.
2005-12-11
Absolute pretentious rubbish
I cannot emphasize enough how much I hated this film. It was such an interesting concept and the teasers made it look so good that I had to go and see the movie. Unfortunately, as in so many cases, once you have seen the trailer, the film is identical but has been made about two hours longer. The end result is that you already know what is going to happen and are left waiting for the end so that you can leave to talk about how bad it all was...

I desperately wanted this film to be good. I hoped it would be as visually dramatic as the previews suggested. I prayed the cast would live up to their reputations and bring it alive. What I found was that no amount of desire was going to save this film. Avoid it at all cost.
2005-07-18
Love as Fate and Willing Acceptance
ETERNAL SUNSHINE's narrative is essentially a love story told backwards. It deals with the traditional problem of reverse narrative in a new way. The traditional problem is that if the audience already knows the ending (bitter breakup), then telling the story in reverse asks the audience the question of "is it worth it?" as we watch the story back to the beginning (falling in love). This intellectualizes the experience rather than giving us dramatic action. ETERNAL SUNSHINE deals with this problem of intellectualization by giving the protagonist an active role in the reverse narrative. Joel is able to interact with his old memories to try to stop the process of erasing; this attempt to escape is the major sub- plot of the film. The catharsis of the audience comes with his rediscovery of his love for Clementine as they try to escape together. They fail to escape at the climax of this sub-plot and his memory is erased. But the lovers meet again by fate and once again fall in love. This fake climax of the main love-story plot is placed at the beginning of the film and again at the end of the film – the audience realizes the despite losing all their memory, the lovers meet and fall in love again. If the film ended there, it would have been a good film, and the central idea would have been "Love happens because of fate". But the problem would have been that Joel went through this huge journey of discovery and change but that all seems to go to waste if fate was just going to put them together again – he needs to be the one making an active choice that demonstrates his internal change at climax. The real climax of ETERNAL SUNSHINE comes out of the reversal at the end, in which the Joel and Clementine discover their bitter past and must choose whether or not to commit despite their past. This resurfaces Joel's inner journey. He and she choose to commit, completing Joel's journey of internal change with an external action. The central idea now becomes "Love happens because of fate but it will only result in a happy relationship with open acceptance of each other and the painful compromises that come with love". This real climax fueled by true character change, dilemma and choice is what makes the film great. The climax completes the audience catharsis experienced through Joel's rediscovery of love; as a result he wins the girl and we are touched by a great story.

My Story Chart of this movie is at storycharts.ca
2013-07-19
Oh Dear!
Sorry, didn't rate this film at all. Shouldn't really say sorry though, it should be all the critics out there that rated this piece of shite, who should be saying sorry to me! What is it all about! Typical American attempt to be arty. A 10 minute film dragged into a hour and 3/4's. There is nothing wrong with the actors, but if you didn't know the ending within the 10 minute prologue to the titles, you would have to be a 5 yr old. Overrated, indulgent, crap! Why is there no story? Yes there is a nice ending. So what? You are so bored of the characters, that you don't even want to try to understand the plot! Why has it been rated so highly? Well one guy liked it and the other sheep followed. Shame on them! If you want a long weekend, watch this movie because it makes 1 3/4 hrs feel like a day. Don't buy into the hype Ste
2005-01-29
The Love Story of the New Millennium
Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman have crafted the best love story of the new millennium so far. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tells the timeless tale of falling in and out of love, of meeting one's kindred soul and of overcoming adversities in the pursuit of happiness. But the filmmakers tell it in a mind-bending, mixing everyday emotions with elegant plays on time, narrative and memory.

Jim Carrey, in one of his best performances, plays Joel, an everyman who discovers his unstable, unpredictable, but captivating girlfriend, Clementine (possibly Kate Winslet's best role) has just erased him from his memory through a new scientific process invented by Dr. Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson). In revenge, he decides to erase her too. But as the process unfolds, he realises that even his most painful memories are a treasure worth cherishing; so in his mind, he fights the process.

In spite of all the fantasy in this movie, I don't think I've ever seen a relationship so well portrayed in cinema. Joel and Clem aren't just characters, there's something very familiar in them, which any viewer can find in themselves. They're imperfect, impulsive, sometimes unlikeable. But nevertheless love finds a way through them.

Kate Winslet was spectacular in her role, but Carrey is the real surprise. Every once in a while he surprises people with a great performance: The Truman Show; Man On The Moon. He plays grief, tenderness and shyness so well in this movie I wish he'd get more dramatic roles.

Few movies are as emotional and honest like The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Many love stories come from Hollywood, with their perfect love stories, where everything turns out well; but this is the rare movie in which love has but a temporary victory so it must be enjoyed while it lasts, in which downbeat ending can still be uplifting. How is that possible? I guess that's why Gondry and Kaufman are hailed as geniuses.
2009-05-12
Charlie Kaufman strikes again.
Back in 1999, Charlie Kaufman wrote the film Being John Malkovich. Which was my favorite film of 1999. Also, it was like no film I will ever see. That film was unique and funny also. Now in 2004, Kaufman has written the film Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind, which isn't quite as good but is almost as good. Eternal sunshine is unique, funny, and like no film I will ever see in my entire life. The film has a great cast and a great twist in the end of the film. I am not going to get too into this film but I will give you the basic plot.

Jim Carrey stars a Joel, a guy who realizes that his girlfriend Clementine(Played by Kate Winslet) is having an affair. So he goes under this procedure to erase her from his memory. She has already done it also. I am not going to say anything else about the films plot because I want you to see it for yourself. Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind was one of my favorite films of 2004. It's unique, funny, strange, and I will never see anything like it. I give Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind a big thumbs up.

Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind:****/****
2009-09-15
A beautiful and amazing journey in a person's memory and dreams
Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind is American drama film directed by Michel Gondry.

Suddenly Joel discovers that his girlfriend Clementine has erased all her memories of him and their tumultuous relationship by undergoing an experimental treatment. In desperation, Joel contacts the company that carried out the treatment and ask to get the same procedure done on him to get rid of all memories of the same thing. When memories are and go through Joel's head, he discovers why he fell in love with Clementine from the start.

This movie - can not be anything else than a beautiful and amazing journey in a person's memory and dreams. Director Michel Gondry shows here his visual inventiveness but also excellent personal trainer. Kate Winslet shines perfectly in the role of the impulsive and extremely extroverted Clementine. Jim Carrey, as you usually see in cheesy overplayed comedy, show here the ability to do a little more personal and dark matter when he plays the introverted, gloomy and slightly smug Joel. To only see the movie once must be a huge loss, I've seen it several times and always find something new with it. It is necessary to be alert when you see this film - it takes great mental power to successfully connect everything that happens. The first time you see the movie you think it is very messy and cluttered scenes are completely mismatched. But on closer reflection, everything is extremely well thought out and every scene is absolutely right. The last ten minutes of the film are the hardest to watch - then tied the whole course of events in the movie together and the pieces are in place. This is a masterpiece - Michel Gondry's best, Jim Carrey's best and Absolutely Kate Winslet's best.

The film's title comes from a poem by Alexander Pope called Eloisa to Abelard and is read by Kirsten Dunst's role in the film - How happy is the blameless Vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot; Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd.

Best actor according to me: Kate Winslet for the role of Clementine.
2013-05-05
The Moose Hole - Review of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
It happens to both the best and worst of us at some time in our lives. Love . If you haven't experienced this yet just wait, you will. It is inevitable that at some time in our journey through life that we will come across someone that fascinates us so profoundly that we feel as though we could spend the rest of our lives with this magnetic individual. There is no exact science to the concept of love. Many believe that the idea of love goes beyond the reasonable or the logical to a more diverse level of the illogical, irrational, and the unreasonable. Why is it that we find ourselves attracted to people that, on the surface, seem as though they would never be compatible with our own lifestyle? Why is it that when we do fall in love with a certain individual and think at first that this is a perfect match, we find over time that less tolerable marks are more frequent on the surface? And why is it that we overlook some individuals that, although at first there is no real 'love connection' per say, we seem to have a somewhat pure liking for someone and that it takes us longer then it should to see that person for who they really are to us? Love is a complicated subject that can't be taught, it can only be experienced for what it is . utterly confusing and yet at the same time completely fulfilling.

The story is a twisted and complicated tale from the same man who brought movie-going audiences such award-savvy features as Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. Joel Barish seems like the average, normal guy who stays pretty isolated from communicating his true feelings to others and yet reveals spectacular insight only to the confines of his journal. He doesn't like going on impulses and gut feelings but rather relies more on common sense and the logical sense of self-direction. That is until he meets Clementine. They flirt with each other and eventually find themselves falling in love with one another . That is until one day Joel finds out that Clementine has undergone a radical procedure to have him erased from her memory because she was unhappy. So, in an act of self-gratification, Joel decides to undergo the procedure himself, erasing every argument, every embarrassment, every thought he has had involving Clementine. But as the procedure goes on, Joel begins to realize that beyond the quarrels and the less flattering incidents there were beautiful memories that he never wants to forget. So he does the unthinkable . Joel attempts to outrun the erasers through a dizzying chase through his mind. The story for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is hauntingly brilliant and, in some cases, personally gratifying. The concepts and the feelings expressed behind the script of this film hit so hard to home that it feels as though we our seeing our own love lives played out on screen. Granted Sunshine does tend to veer off into the ridiculously absurd but when evaluating what one takes away from this film, it is pure genius.

Quite amazingly this low budgeted independent feature showcases a surprising amount of A-list talent but manages to have those performers express well beyond their famous names. Jim Carrey, who has unsuccessfully attempted to make a mark in drama with lead performances in Man on the Moon and The Majestic, gives a thoroughly convincing and commanding performance in the role of Joel Barish. And Carrey's performance is only complimented by his interaction with Kate Winslet, who acts opposite of him as Clementine. Though the two give dramatically different personas to their characters and look as if they would never be quite compatible with each other based on surface actions, which is the idea the filmmakers are trying to express. It's not what is right in front of us that should define a relationship; it is the memories themselves and the experiences of the two individuals. Elijah Wood, in his first role outside the Lord of the Rings franchise which recently wrapped up in December, gives an effective performance as a man one can't help but despise for his methods of obtaining someone's affection but at the same time feel pity for his plight, which is that he feels love eludes him. And Kirsten Dunst performs well within the film despite her appearance that protrudes a sense of innocence that feels off-base or awkward that distracts from the actions of her character. Not to say that she doesn't perform well or that the character is a pointless one, not in the least, but perhaps it is the fact that her innocence, based on her name and the characters she has played, carries a stigma with her role.

Overall, Sunshine, as awkward and thoroughly confusing at it may seem and is, manages to express, in the most informal of ways, the feelings and thoughts we should all have when examining a relationship, in that it is not the superficial features but the underlining memories that make it all worth while. When a relationship hits that unfortunate moment where it all seems to be breaking down, we, as human beings, seem to instantly draw ourselves to the negative aspects of that person, as Joel did early in the procedure, in an attempt of sorts to make everything right within our mind. What Eternal Sunshine successfully expresses is that when breaking down the relationship moment by moment, more often then not the happier events outweigh the bad and that should be our determining factor to keep the relationship going. Too many moments are wasted on gut-instincts and logic, when it comes to love one must live every moment for what it is because we only have one shot in this world and we might as well make it worthwhile. What happens if that relationship doesn't work? You pick yourself up, let the relationship go, and, in time, move on. If you try your best and nothing seems to work in that relationship then perhaps it will never work and you shouldn't play out a fantasy that you know will never be. We have all experienced moments where we feel as though there is opportunity to ask someone out or express how one feels for a certain individual but have chickened out due to nerves, 'gut-instincts', or views of superficial matters. Eternal Sunshine promotes the ideology of living within the present and letting the course of the matter play out as it may. If we all relied on nerves and logic, would anyone really fall in love?
2004-03-19
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