Thursday, January 20, 2005

Movie Review: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Thursday, January 20, 2005
A film by Michel Gondry

From the very creative mind of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman comes "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", one of the best movies of 2004. The narrative is kind of disjointed, but that is par for the course with a Kaufman script. The first scenes of the movie are really from quite a bit later chronologically, but at first we do not know quite how these first scenes fit into the story or why. Not long into the movie we learn that Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) had a relationship, but when it ended Clementine decided to have a new procedure done which can remove a person's memories of another person (or another thing). So, as far as Clementine now knows, she and Joel have never met. When Joel learns about this he has the same procedure done to remove all memories of Clementine.

At this point, the movie loses all sense of chronology, but it is makes more sense. The following scenes are Joel's memories as they are being erased, so his unconscious is reliving the memories and remembering both the good and the bad of his relationship with Clementine. At some point Joel decides that these are memories he doesn't want to lose. "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is a very original look at love and relationships and what it could mean to really try and make a relationship work. The film is uncompromising in how it reveals Joel and Clementine, but at the same time it is very tender and sweet. Co-starring Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, and Kirstin Dunst, the movie never makes a wrong turn. With a subject that could easily have mad a very bad movie, Michel Gondry instead makes a very good one. In a refreshing change of pace Jim Carrey plays the straight man to Kate Winslet's far crazier Clementine.

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is one of the most original, well acted, and simply excellent movies of the year. It deserves a place on any critics Top 10 list and is well worth watching. Grade: A-


Anonymous said...

Excellent review! Loved that movie.
Don't you think there are many elements in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' that can be found in 'The Time Traveler's Wife' as well? Overall even though the plots were very different, I found strong parallels in some aspects.


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