Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This is the film that I have probably watched the most yet I never tend to watch the entire film (I have seen the entire film as a whole many times as well), I have a habit of skipping the part where the relationship between Joel and Clementine starts to crumble.

This in itself a strange act to do in a film that is about getting rid of the memories of a relationship that has ended, I edit a film that is about editing life, I just don’t like to see the bitterness and the negativity between the two leads, in this case I am the child shielded from the divorce of their parents (for the record my parents are still together). I also think it may have something to do with the fact that my favourite scene in the film is the point that Joel realises that he doesn’t want Clementine erased, and it is the ‘ugly Clementine’ doll story that is what does it for me, the moment when she becomes vulnerable and lays herself out for him to see beyond the crazy hair colours and wacky ideas.

This scene encapsulates what is great about this movie, that no matter how bad things become we should not try to get rid of the experiences that shape us, this means the good and the bad. Thematically this film could be a simple story of love and loss, how we get to the places we are and why but in the hands of Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufmann it becomes so much more which is another reason why I hold this film so dear to me. Visually this is film that tries in many different ways to represent how memories would look and how if they being erased would the landscape of the mind become. I also really like that digital effects were used to a minimum and most tricks were done with the cameras and the actors themselves.

Performance wise I am huge Kate Winslet fan and so it was particularly good for me to see her as a character that is far removed from much of her other work. Alternatively I’m not a big Jim Carrey fan but was more than pleasantly surprised by his portrayal of Joel, and I didn’t even mind when flashes of the ‘normal’ Jim Carry performance came out. The supporting cast is also great, including Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, Tom Wilkinson and Kirsten Dunst; the scene where Dunst finds out that her character has previously had an affair with Wilkson and has subsequently had the memories erased is particularly heartbreaking and further demonstrates that actions will be repeated even if they have been erased (there is a deleted scene that takes this one step further where we see Mary hearing that she has also previously had an abortion).

Music is an element in a film that can increase my love for a film and Eternal Sunshine really delivers on this; from Mr Blue Sky by ELO being used on the trailer to the score by Jon Brion who really does make exquisite soundtracks (he also scored I Heart Huckabees and he worked on a couple of Elliot Smith albums). It is for all these reasons that I have chosen this as my favourite film.

1 Comment »

  1. One of my favourite films of all time too, I usually start the movie with the ugly doll scene, it’s heart breaking when Joel tries to hang on to that one memory. Also of course the best line in the whole film; “I am making… a bird house.”

    Comment by Nina Brown — January 30, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

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