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RELEASED: 2004, Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 108 mins
DIRECTOR: Michel Gondry
PRODUCERS: Anthony Bregman & Steve Golin
SCREENPLAY: Charlie Kaufman
MUSIC: Jon Brion
Jim Carrey as Joel
Kate Winslet as Clementine
Elijah Wood as Patrick
Kirsten Dunst as Mary
Tom Wilkinson as Dr. Mierzwiak
FILM ONLY REVIEW
When quiet, shy Joel meets quirky blue-haired Clementine by chance, they fall in love, but it isn't long before the impulsive and a bit off the wall Clementine gets bored. The pair split up, and Clementine makes use of an organisation which specialises in erasing things and events from people's memories. For some reason that I was unable to understand, Joel decides to do the same.
Once the erasing process is underway, Joel discovers that he still has strong feelings for Clementine, so attempts to shift her to a part of his mind that the process can't reach.
That very basically sets the scene for this bitty, slightly crazy film.
The first thing which attracted me to this film was the title, as I found it to be intriguing, and not having heard anything about it before, had no idea what the storyline would be.
I quite liked the very beginning of the film where Joel and Clementine first fall in love, as the way it happened appealed to my sense of romanticism. However, from the point where Joel goes through his erasure treatment, I began to lose the plot. I mostly was able to understand what was happening, although did experience a bit of confusion here and there, whereby at first I wasn't sure if certain incidents were flashbacks or part of the treatment. Another thing which baffled me slightly was the interaction between Patrick, Mary and Dr. Mierzwiak to the point where I wasn't sure who was in love with and/or bonking and who was or wasn't involved with who.
As far as the musical score is concerned, I was aware of it on some level and it was seeping into my brain, but I believe it was hooking onto a part of my subconscious, because I was unable to draw it forth as a separate entity. I therefore can only say that yes, there was music and I had a sense of it being quite loud, but am unable to throw any light on what it was like.
The best part of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind by far for me was the acting. The whole cast was very good, but Jim Carrey as the somewhat colourless, repressed character of Joel and Kate Winslet as the whacky, impulsive Clementine, hit the nail on the head for me. I was very surprised at Kate Winslet's performance, because she is somebody who I normally have very little time for, but for me this is the best role I've to date seen her in. I've not seen Jim Carrey in much, but in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, he brilliantly plays a character that's somewhat different from his personal norm, and he was great.
The style of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind doesn't really lend itself to very much development of or depth to the characters, as the focus rests mostly on the erasure treatment and what it can do, rather than the building of solid personalities. There is also an element of comedy present, and even though this may cast me into the 'miserable old bag' pit, I usually find situations of this nature in that setting leave me a bit cold, as I like to - for the duration of any film I watch - feel a strong connection with the main characters and see them as complex and interesting people. This didn't happen for me with Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.
One rather frustrating aspect was some of the camera work being shaky and unsteady, which made it hard to focus on some of what was happening, due to it making my eyes go all peculiar.
I did quite enjoy some of the special effects, and as the film drew to a close, I loved the build-up to the ending, seeing it almost as a kind of twist, but once the absolute ending happened, I realised I'd misinterpreted part of what had been going on. I believe that had more to do with my possibly faulty levels of comprehension rather than a flaw in the film.
I very much doubt if I shall watch Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind again, as although the idea within the storyline is quite an interesting one and the film largely is very well put together, it isn't really my cup of tea as I prefer something with more depth - or, as far as any element of humour is concerned, something with a lot more grit and bite.
Overall and in summary, this isn't a bad film, but not one which especially appealed to me. I'd imagine it to be very popular with those who are drawn to storylines which contain an element of the 'unreal', and a thread of gentle, yet somewhat weak humour.
At the time of writing, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.02 to £14.29
Used: from 1p to £10.00
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
There are some films that you just need to be in the right frame of my mind to appreciate, and I think Michael Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of them. It's a quirky and explorative film which deals with deliberate mind wiping, a chosen and specific imposed amnesia. It does so through its characters and revolves around a company named Lacuna Inc which specialises in removing specific things or people from a memory. It's a science which is fictional, although various tests have shown there to be some possibility of future usage of this method, with a lot of research being done with regards to post traumatic stress. This is one way of looking at it, but what it also does is try to tell you that you just can't mess with fate, because it will always come back and bite you.
Joel and Clementine meet on a train journey, quite surprised by their relative familiarity with each other. Despite their obvious differences, both physically and in terms of personality, they hit it off and have a great date together. In a confusing switch of sequences, we see the two of them enjoying a date together and a relationship blooms, before she completely ignores him one day. He soon finds out that a company called Lacuna Inc has deleted all memories she has of him, at her request, and is devastated, undertaking to do the same with regards to her. However, as her flicks through his memories, he realises this isn't what he wants after all, and fights to stop a process that seems to catch him at every turn.
In a twist of psychological games, the film takes place largely in Joel's mind, with actor Jim Carrey giving an excellent performance in a serious role for once. He's actually a very good actor when he's not larking around, and I was impressed by his portrayal of a timid and shy man who is rather reclusive and actually pretty boring. The quirky nature of the film and the unstable nature of where in time we are as well as where we're viewing things from actually suits his style very well. The same is the case for Kate Winslet, a wonderful kooky Clementine who pretty much steals the show. As events transpire in Joel's head and he fights against the team of mind wipers doing what they think he wants, it's the popup memories that make the biggest difference in viewing enjoyment. Gondry uses a variety of styles to keep things mixing up as we're confronted with different ways in which the memories come, go and are fought to be deleted or saved, depending on which perspective we're looking at it from. Scenes fade in and out, people sizzle away, light comes and goes to denote memories being erased, and Joel races to ways of second guessing the erasers of Lacuna. We even get to see him effectively have an out of body experience as he regresses in memory, seeing himself in the room where they're 'operating'.
The cast forming the members of Lacuna also give a good subplot. Tom Wilkinson, Kirsten Dunst and Mark Ruffalo lend their impressive credentials to the roles, all of them doing a good job, and some of the little elements going on between these characters are as interesting as the main plot, which serves well as a distraction. A solid hour and a half or thereabouts of the same mind regression would have been a bit too much regardless of the cleverness in scripting, direction and acting. Here, as a result of the strong subplot, the variety means the main plot is that much stronger. Sure, it's really quirky, and more of a philosophical and psychological exploration of the human mind and what we'd get if we asked to have bits of our memory erased. The underlying message is that you can't mess with fate, and even though there are a few clever twists and turns, you soon learn to not be surprised by the way events reveal themselves and how links are made between the various characters. It's kind of like a cross between Memento and The Running Man, with a little bit of Being John Malkovich thrown in for good measure.
I largely enjoyed this, and felt it was an incredibly well created, written, acted and directed film for the most part. However, it's not perfect, as there are moments where you feel the romantic side of it just drags a little bit too much. I'd still recommend it as this doesn't spoil it by any means, but it does stop it short of being beautifully balanced, and this I found was a disappointment. There's a lot to think about here, and it's certainly a film I'd recommend watching, but you have to be in a patient mood, and it'll certainly make you think.
Have you ever loved somebody so much that you couldn't bear the idea of living without them? What did you do, did you cry endlessly for days and then realise there were plenty more fish in the sea? Did you beg them to take you back until pity got the better of them? Or did you employ a company to wipe them from your memory to forget the pain that hurts so badly?
If you chose the third option you are Joel Barish (Played by Jim Carrey) in this beautifully poignant film about love and moving on.
Written by the exceptionally complicated and gifted Charlie Kaufman and directed by the extravagantly talented Michel Gondry, this is a film high on visuals and ideas which succeeds for the most part.
The plot in its simplest form follows Joel Barish (Carrey) a shy, introverted man who meets the odd extroverted Clementine (Kate Winslet), they fall in love, believe they want to be together forever, but she rejects him, he struggles to live with it and decides to contact Dr Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkindon) a doctor at Lacuna Inc, a company specialising in wiping the memory of people who want pain erased from their minds.
As Joel watches his memories subside, he realises that he loves Clementine and would rather have memories of that love than nothing at all, can he stop his memory from expiring, or will he end up a sad lonely man seeking companionship?
Jim Carrey ... Joel Barish
Kate Winslet ... Clementine Kruczynski
Gerry Robert Byrne ... Train Conductor
Elijah Wood ... Patrick
Thomas Jay Ryan ... Frank
Mark Ruffalo ... Stan
Jane Adams ... Carrie
David Cross ... Rob
Kirsten Dunst ... Mary
Tom Wilkinson ... Dr. Howard Mierzwiak
Ryan Whitney ... Young Joel
Debbon Ayer ... Joel's Mother
I'm not going to lie, I'm a hopeless romantic and I love this film, I love the idea of love and this film is filled with images of love which are either cherished or twisted by the characters.
The film is very smart in that it has a simple idea at its centre, but really twists and turns as other things try to damage the love between two people.
The film starts as dull old Joel waiting for his train to work, feels a sudden impulse to run over to the other empty platform and get on a train going in entirely the opposite direction, this is one of my favourite cinematic images ever, I love the idea of just being grabbed by the moment and forgetting everything, the image reels through my head on so many occasions when the idea of going to work just feels like too much!!
On the train Joel meets Clementine and they both feel as though they've met before, they enjoy a beautiful day talking and learning about each other on a cold deserted beach and are set to be together forever thereafter. The film is being played back from Joel's memory as he remembers the love when it was good and then as it gets a bit nasty, Joel learns that Clementine, in the manner of her devil may care personality has erased him from her personality with Lacuna Inc, he resolves to do the same, but something in his head just won't let him let go.
The film moves around a lot, we have flashbacks at the start, middle and end of the film, it can become dizzying and confusing, but is also perfect, as Joels memory despite attempts to wipe it would be in a similar state.
Whilst the wiping is going on, there are issues arising as Dr Mierzwiak's assistants have their own personal crisis', these are played brilliantly by Mark Ruffalo as Stan, Kirsten Dunst as Mary and Elijah Wood playing against type as the creepy Patrick.
As the film unravels literally as Joel gets lost in his own memory, the images move quickly and the order of these memory distorts meaning that it is quite possible to get confused and very lost as to what is going on, if you appreciate that Joel is lost in his own mind, the distortion makes some kind of sense, and when you appreciate that he is lost in his mind because his love for Clementine is stronger than the machine trying to wipe his memories, it is actually pretty beautiful.
The film starts with gorgeous images and beautifully delicate acting, both Carrey and Winslet are excellent playing against type, Carrey is at his best in a role that requires little gurning and a lot of emoting, he finds a place that allows him to be Joel and really draws a lot of emotion out of the viewer, his performance is beautifully understated and a real kick in the head to all the haters out there. Winslet is similarly excellent as the slightly damaged, but very out there Clementine, she is ballsy, mouthy and at times makes perfect sense, but her scatty performance is loveable and utterly confusing in equal measure.
Both actors are dowdy and unglamorous in the film and their acting perfectly encapsulates real life not some beautiful coiffured show pony who is about as real as an episode of Footballers Wives.
The Lacuna Inc team are great, Gruffalo and Dunst have fun as a couple of preppy kids, who want to have fun more than do their work, while Wood really does put your teeth on edge as his characters motives develop, but its also interesting learning about other unlikely personal relationships within the team.
The acting overall is excellent, but this film works partly because of this, the wonderful imagery is a major part too, Gondry uses bleak settings to show a love affair explode into life, he clearly enjoys the distorted memories which become more and more surreal and perfectly work with his visual style, but he really manages the complicated script well and makes a film that could slip off at tangents something that remains a love story with a strong story and a heartfelt core.
The films structure will confuse many, but for Kaufman fan's, this is one of his best scripts as he writes about love, loss and life itself, without wanting to confuse the viewer too much, which is nice. As Joels memory fades, Clementine keeps appearing begging him not to forget, as his memory twists he regresses to childhood and old age, but always comes back to his one true love, the bolshy, showy, but ever so sweet Clementine.
The film is about one man's memories of his greatest love and some of the imagery owes to his imagination and doesn't make sense, but doesn't need to, as any of us probably couldn't explain all of our thoughts to others. The film is visually stunning, funny, at times heart aching, when you consider the love story it begins with, and the power of Joel's desire not to forget something or someone he treasured even though they have hurt him.
You can draw your own conclusions on the ending, but the start does give some clues and really allows you to imagine it for yourself. Love in any form is something to treasure and remember and this film offers that hope to anyone who believes such a thing.
Favourite Line: 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.
Favourite Actor : Jim Carrey is exceptional in a really drawn back performance, he is emotive and heart breaking without needing to resort to pulling faces or trying to hard.
Favourite Moment: Running from a packed platform of workers to catch the soon departing train on the other platform with no idea why.
The DVD is available anywhere and everywhere, I bought my copy from HMV many years ago for £6.99 but it is now available in a garish orange case for £2.99, it includes director notes and out takes as well as a trailer, but for me the film is all that really matters, having someone else explain it takes away from the idea of creating your own take on the film for me.
I heard critics and people saying that this film is really good and such a comic laugh, so I picked it up one day to see if it is actually a real comedy treat.
I thought at first that the two lead actors, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet were friends! And not forgetting that Kate Winslet gives another Oscar nominated performance!
A couple, Joel and Clementine, undergo surgery to erase their past together, Clementine has managed to do that and now has forgotten about Joel, however Joel is very depressed about this, and goes and contact the inventor of the process, named Dr Howard Mierzwiak, during the treatment his memories of Clementine start to fade, but once the process is over, Joel has only just realizes that he still loves her! But could he get a second chance? Or will they both just carry on with their lives just as normal?
Joel : Jim Carrey
Clementine : Kate Winslet
Stan: Mark Ruffalo
Mary : Kristen Dunst
Patrick : Elijah Wood
Dr Howard Mierzwiak : Tom Wilkinson
certificate : 15
director : Michael Gondry
run time : 103 minutes
release date: April 2004
Personally, I thought this was a story with some strong, good characters, however the story line was confusing and you could easily get muddled up where the plot was coming from! However, the comments that critics have given for this film I wouldn't agree with all of them to be honest as they don't describe what the film is actually like. But I do agree that the actors do give good performances!
Joel is a strange man who has a hard time with his emotions, he is shocked when he gets attracted to Clementine and they start a relationship. There relationship seems to be going well until one day when Joel goes to see her a work and she does not know who he is. Joel soon finds out that she had a procedure doe to remove all memories and traces of him from her mind. Joel is shocked by this and goes to see the Doctor who did the procedure.
Joel is talked into having it doe as well so he can forget about Clementine and he reluctantly agree. With the procedure underway Joel has memories of what he and Clementine did together and soon realises that he is still very much in love with her but will he be able to stop the procedure or will it be too late to stop him loosing all his cherished memories of their time together?
I had a bit about this film before watching it and was expecting it to be quite good, I am sorry to say that neither me or hubby 'got' or enjoyed this film. The storyline could have been good but with Carrey in the lead role we were both expecting this to be more of a comedy. The way the story was told with the memories was interesting but it did get a little confusing at times.
Jim Carrey took the lead role of Joel and he was not too bad but there was something strange about his character and he just seemed uncomfortable in the role. I did understand he had a hard time with his emotions but he just came across as a flat character and would have liked more depth from him so maybe I could have got a better understanding about him and how he was feeling. There was at times a good chemistry between him and the character of Clementine but at times it looked awkward and strained. The role of Clementine was played by Kate Hudson and she did come across in a slightly better light. She was a free spirit and she suited this role. I have to say I found sides of her personality to be slightly odd and she did not always look comfortable working with Carrey but overall she was the better of the two.
We had a few good supporting actors, these included, Elijah Wood, Gerry Robert Byrne, Mark Ruffalo and Jane Adams. They all did Ok jobs and some of them even bought a little humour to the film.
The film was set in the present day with the memories only coming from the past few years so not much effort was needed for the costumes or sets, they did all look good and authentic. The special effects were good but nothing amazing. I cannot remember a single track which was played during the film and for me this was disappointing as so much more could have been done with the soundtrack and even the use of powerful songs would have helped express the emotions and feeling throughout but none of this happened.
There are some funny moments in the film but not a lot, these mainly come from the team who are working on Joel to extract his memories, they have fun in the apartment when they are supposed to be working and this did actually give me and hubby a few small giggle. I think putting Carrey in the lead role gave the wrong impression that this was gong to be a funny film because it certainly was not.
The DVD which we have does contain some bonus features and they include:-
- A Look Behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- Step into the mind of the film makers in this behind the scenes look
- A Conversation with Jim Carey and Director Michael Gondry as they reflect on their favourite moments from the making of the film.
- Feature Commentary with Michael Gondry and writer Charlie Kaufman
- Deleted Scenes
- The Polyphonic Spree 'Light and Day' Music Video
- Lacuna Infomercial
As neither me or hubby were overly impressed with this film we did not take any more time in watching these so I am not able to make comment on them.
The running time of the film is 103 minutes and I found this was quite long enough. The certificate is a 15 as it does contain strong language and moderate sex references. I paid around the £4 mark for this DVD from Amazon.
Overall I am only giving this film 2 stars as I just did not get it and at times I had a hard job working out what was going on. I think this is going to be a film which you either love or hate. I would not suggest buying the DVD but waiting for it to be shown on the TV so you can make your own mind up for free.
I am a terrible moviegoer; I rarely make it to the cinema and promise myself I will catch the DVD. Or the TV premiere. Or you know, I'll just watch a few movies next time I'm in an aeroplane. Thus I have missed many modern classics - possibly because of my natural dislike of anything that everyone else raves about. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are not two of my favourite actors, (in fact, they both make my top ten list of dislikeable actors) so perhaps it's not surprising I had managed to avoid watching this movie for so long. I couldn't stomach the thought of Kate Winslet being all blue haired and self consciously kooky. But the more it was cited as a ground breaking piece of art, etc etc, I decided that I must see it.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much heart this film had. For the uninitiated (though there must be relatively few of you out there) this film is about Clementine, said blue haired girl, who has broken up with Joel (Jim Carrey) and decided, impulsively, to have all her memories of him erased from her brain. It beats the usual method of spending your evenings gorging on chocolate, watching Bruce Willis films and crying for a few months, doesn't it? Luckily there is a company which performs such a service, although I'm a little hazy on the details. If you were trying to erase a marriage of twenty years, for instance, you probably wouldn't have a whole lot left by the time the memories connected with THAT person were gone, would you? Yet the clients awake feeling fine, with perhaps a few gaps in the memory, but with no more harm done than a few blackouts from heavy drinking.
The only problem is, the next time Joel sees her, he is nonplussed by her failure to recognise him. Long story short, he finds out about the procedure she has had done and decided if she can do it, so will he. But does he really want her out of his life, memories and all?
The following film is unexpectedly touching, and put together in a much more interesting way than I had hoped for. There are times when I just have to accept that there are people around who are about a million times smarter than me, and Charlie Kaufman (writer / producer extraordinaire) is one of them. He seems to specialise in mind bending, philosophical stories and is one of the leading lights in the "Let's make films smarter" project running counter to the "lets' dumb everything down" school of thought.
This film has something to say about love, and how it can permeate every part of us. If you have no memory of someone, can you still be "in love" with them? It's a question asked by sufferers of amnesia and Alzheimer's. Maybe there really is a secret place inside of us where love can still live even when all else is stripped away.
The quality of a film can sometimes be judged by the quality of actors in supporting roles, and this one boasts Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst and Tom Wilkinson. Quality all the way.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was released in 2004 by director Michel Gondry. It is a difficult film to classify although I would simply describe it as a drama.
Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) Rises from bed one morning. He goes outside to go to work to see that his car has been dented & seems slightly discontented. Whilst on the train platform, he desides to skip work & get to the train to Montauk. Whilst on the way back, Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) strikes up a conversation with Joel. After spending the rest of the day together. We then see a scene of Joel weeping & unhappy after a break up with Clementine & the film really begins from there.
It has hard to give a true & good review of the film without talking about some of the things which happen. So I will talk about some of them although i will try to avoid giving away too much.
The film maybe a drama but it has many elements of fantasy & flows it's own way. It is definitely not linear. Some of the scenes are flashback scenes. Some of the scenes are flashback scenes viewed through Joel's memory with his perceptions. It is highly unique in it's depictions.
The acting is very good. Carrey takes on a meaty roll which he plays with dignity & subtlety throughout. Winslet is lively, Kooky & brings depth to the character even ehwn playing Clem as viewed through Joel's memories.
I really love this film. It is my favourite romantic drama by a considerably distance. It is very well paced & none of the scenes seem to drag. It has elements of humour, joy & sadness. The journey that you take with Joel through the film is moving, touching & for me, leaves you wanting more. I'd love the story to continue. This is mainly due to the fact that even though it's subject matter may not always be the happiest fair, in my opinion, the film is still very uplifting.
The film is highly intelligent & thought provoking without requiring you to be part of mensa to enjoy or understand it. Many films have dealt with relationship break up although non have taken such a fantastical way of dealing with it. The film is truly unique.
I can't recommend this film highly enough. I enjoy it every time I watch it. I see something new in it with every viewing. It's story is fill with emotion, both heart wrenching & beatifully uplifting. If you're fed up of run of the mill rom-coms or dramas. I think you should give this a go. It's sunshine is eternal!
Directed by Michel Gondry and written by Charlie Kaufmann, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind always had a recipe for success. Having previously worked together on Human Nature, Kaufmann had also written the brilliant Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Eternal Sunshine certainly had some pedigree.
The film begins when Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet), meet seemingly by chance on a beach in Montauk. Despite having completely conflicting personalities they are drawn to each other. As the film progresses we find out that after a fight Clementine hired Lacuna Inc. and asked them to erase all her memories of Joel. When Joel finds out he decides to do the same and then we see his memories of Clementine starting with the most recent. As he sees the better memories of her he decides he wants to call it off and tries to stop it.
This plot isn't that simple however, it is very non-linear although like some films with non-linear plots, it isn't that difficult to follow. It is very clear when we are inside Joel's head and when we aren't. As the film progresses you just want to jump into the screen and help Joel, stop the mind-erasers from erasing his memories. You become emotionally involved with the characters and you are left teary eyed by the end.
The fact you do become so emotionally involved and you feel the tears welling up in your eyes is purely down to Kauffman's scriptwriting, it is fantastic. It is one of the most romantic stories of the last decade but looking back on the film I don't understand why. The plot is non-linear and all over the place, we are constantly being thrown in one direction and then the other, but the story has a focal point, love will win out. Maybe that is just how the story speaks to me, but I really believe that after the ambiguous ending Joel and Clementine went on to live a happy life together.
The ambiguity and the end of the film allows the viewer to decide how their relationship began or ended and I think that the film has the ability to speak to people in many different ways and it will probably depend on the viewers outlook on love. It is an extraordinary emotional device that gives us a unique connection to the film and it's characters.
Michel Gondry's direction of the film is also superb and the image of Joel and Clementine lying in the middle of an ice lake looking up at the sky is iconic, it is a beautiful image. The images that Gondry creates are all in there own way beautiful and draw us into the story and without them the brilliant script just wouldn't have worked. It is the partnership of the director and the screenwriter that allows this film to work and without one the other would have fallen.
Jim Carrey is brilliant here, in a more serious role that he seems to be doing more of recently. He plays Joel perfectly capturing his emotionally detached personality brilliantly. Although we don't see much of his facial elasticity here, it is still a performance of the highest calibre. This is also Kate Winslet's greatest performance to date in my opinion, as the free spirited Clementine. Her constant mood changes and impulsiveness is captured brilliantly and Winslet obviously enjoyed sinking her teeth into such a part. She is magnificent.
The film also has a very strong supporting cast, Kirsten Dunst is the best in my opinion as the receptionist at Lacuna, conflicted over her love of two people, and she plays the role perfectly. Elijah Wood is good, but it isn't his strongest performance and you just can't help picturing him as Frodo.
The film could perhaps be accused of being too deep or a little pretentious, but that doesn't matter. It works and it is brilliant, it moulds together perfectly with some brilliantly flawed characters, and it raises some very nice questions, are some memories really best forgotten? For example, it will make you think, it will make you cry and it will make you laugh.
This is a film that everyone should watch, it is emotional and touching, you will be left teary eyed and moved. It is a brilliant achievement from director Gondry and writer Kauffman and I believe it is easily one of the best films of the last decade.
Most of the people I've spoken to that don't like Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind seem to criticize it primarily for the following reasons: 1) The film doesn't feature the usual arse-talking, trademark comedy style of Jim Carrey that everyone is used to watching for a quick fix of laughter; and 2) It seems to be just another pretentious punch-drunk love story, so far from the confines of reality, that it's not possible to ever take it seriously.
Those people are half right. Carrey certainly delves deeper into his abilities as an actor moreso than he has done in some of his earlier comedic roles. Not that I ever had a problem with Carrey doing comedy (admittedly, I've laughed numerous times at Ace Ventura and Liar, Liar), but he is undoubtedly giving a performance to impress the critics here, rather than to simply make his fans laugh.
As for the second point, yes, ESOTSM is concerned with the intimacies between a man and a woman, but the way the story is shaped is so emotionally mature and exceptionally inventive that it will impress even the most sceptical movie goer (providing he actually bothers to sit all the way through it, that is, rather than prejudging before he's even seen it). The film is hardly quite so conventional in its approach to romance as, say, Love Actually; with elements of drama and science-fiction, it is rooted firmly in reality, though with enough fantasy that will keep the viewer guessing about the fate of their human interactions.
Being the hard-nosed wanker that I am, I'll admit that I, too, was sceptical about seeing this movie beforehand. But I quickly discovered ESOTSM was nothing like a Huge Grant movie that I had expected. The plot is concerned with targeted memory loss, a (fictional) non-surgical procedure that a dysfunctional girl named Clementine (Kate Winslet) has undergone to erase the unwanted and painful latter memories she has of her quietly-reserved boyfriend, Joel (Carrey). After dropping by Clementine's place of work to give her an early Valentine's present, Joel is startled and confused as to why his girlfriend doesn't even recognise who he is, and begins questioning mutual friends for some answers.
Joel soon finds out that Clementine had become tired of dealing with his "boring" ways, and wanted to forget that they had ever met and fallen in love. So he marches into Lacuna Inc., the company responsible for Clem's a procedure, and demands that Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson) erases his memory, too. Joel is instructed to go home and collect all the personal possessions that remind him of his time spent with Clementine, as these will help trigger the memories that the medical team (consisting of Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood and Kirsten Dunst) will target for termination. From there, director Michel Gondry attempts to illustrate the complex imagery of the subconscious using a variety of flamboyant filmmaking techniques.
The premise of being able to mend broken hearts in such a way is fascinating, but even if you strip away the science-fiction element of the film you'll notice that the characters seem very much real in how they interact with one another, still keeping ESOTSM separate from the conventional Hollywood love story.
Carrey, for one, just amazed me as Joel. His facial expressions and verbal communications are sharp, but toned down from his usual style, allowing the viewer to sympathise with him when he does try and escape the procedure, after realising he would much rather keep the memories of a broken love bond than lose them. Winslet, his opposite, comes across as annoying and unlikeable at first, but the sincerity in her voice when she talks about such things as her fears of being ugly as a child later on manages to tug on the hearts strings of the viewers, making them understand why Joel would fall for her and want to hang onto his memories. The supporting characters are also just as good; the subplot involving Ruffalo and Dunst makes for intriguing viewing as it echoes the main story.
In the end, the movie has a perfect balance of style and substance, and is very imaginative and very moving -- a product of Gondry's delicate direction and Charlie Kaufman's excellent writing. The story address the key point of fate: Two characters who have both had their memory erased meet each other seemingly for the first time and have the feeling that they are destined to be together. Not even technology can permit the natural connection evolving between these two people, and this is a testament to the power of raw human emotion.
ESOTSM gives faith to even the most heart-broken individual by expressing clearly, that in time, we'll each grow to treasure the minutes and hours we spend with someone special that we meet along our way. It's an incredibly heart-warming drama that I can't help but recommend to everyone.
I have to admit this movie has to be one of the most intriguing and confusing I have seen in many years but that fact alone keeps you watching as you try to understand and piece together the jigsaw that this is. In addition even though this is in the comedy genre it is in my opinion a very dark comedy and certainly away from the stereotypical roles that Jim Carrey normally plays. It does however show he has versatility as an actor and can easily turn his hand to other types of characters than just plain funny.
The story starts on Valentine's Day and Joel played by Jim Carrey is heading to work when he realises that someone has dented the side of his car. He decides that enough is enough and instead of going to work heads to Long Island and a walk on the beach. He is looking to meet someone new either on the beach or in the diner later where we see him or at the train station. He meets Clementine (Kate Winslet) on the train and so begins a relationship between the two that quickly develops into something more and they decide they will marry.
Then we flash forward in the film to see Joel driving in his car in a terrible state, crying. He goes home and takes some prescription drugs and then passes out. He, however doesn't notice a van parked out the front of his apartment buidling and once the lights go out they enter.
Next, in another flash forward we see Joel go to the company where Clementine works with a Valentine's gift to find that she doesn't remember him at all and has no idea who he is. At this point he discovers via her friends that she has had him erased from her memory by a company called Lacuna Inc.
Joel goes to the doctor at this company to find out what is going on and he tells him that Clementine was not happy with their relationship as it broke down and wanted to move on and in a revolutionary procedure has had him erased. So, in a state of rage and disbelief he decides to erase her from his memory as well.
However, in a twist to the plot and where the story takes us, is will Joel go through with it or will he be unable to erase her from his mind and his heart or will the memories of their time together keep their love alive.
And so begins the battle in his own mind against having her erased from his memory and is where the film can get a bit confusing unless you concentrate, not least because it jumps around all over the place throughout to different moments in their life and relationship.
The movie has a real moral side to it as well. Is it really that easy to forget about someone you love just by erasing them from your memory? Or like Jim Carrey in this film do you fight it with everything you've got as the feelings for them are still strong?
I would watch this film again as I think if you do you will understand it more as there are always bits you miss in it and piece together each time a bit like a jigsaw. Jim Carrey is exceptional in this movie in a different role for him...
Well worth watching but stay alert otherwise you'll miss some of the plot and get very confused
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
There's little doubting that Charlie Kauffman is a genius: he has written some momentous cerebral films, such as Adaptation, the seminal Being John Malkovich and the great Synecdoche, New York. However, arguably his most acclaimed film is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a beautiful and haunting look at mind within the framework of love, and how sometimes what one SHOULD do and what their heart tells them to do just don't fit coherently.
The film revolves around despondent oddball Joel Barish (Jim Carrey), who meets the similarly odd Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) on a train, and the two are undeniably drawn to one another, starting a relationship. However, little do they know it, they have dated before, ending after two years with a horrible argument, causing Clementine to have the last two years of her life erased via a new non-invasive procedure. While Joel himself decides to undergo the same procedure, his mind begins to fight back, realising that he wants to fight for those memories, and that despite their previous failures, perhaps this time they won't make the same mistake again.
This is a haunting film that has a beautiful musing on relationships, with a gorgeously unconventional execution that is baffling while also utterly compelling. Overrated, but Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is an impressive film, nevertheless. Carey shines in what is essentially a cerebral sandbox, and Winslet is also up to standard, for roles that should both have recieved Oscar nominations (instead of just Winslet). It may require multiple viewings to truly appreciate, though, due to its complex structure, much like virtually any film written by the brilliant Charlie Kauffman.
In my entire life, I must have watched only five or six sci-fi movies, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind being one of them. I would never even dream of picking up such a film had it not been for the rave reviews that boldly declared the powerful romance within this film. I have to say I loved the film- it was certainly confusing and I had to watch it at least twice before I could wholly grasp the concept of the film. But I loved it, I loved the melodrama, the sci-fi aspect, and of course, the romance .While Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet did not really enact the best on-screen couple ever, the powerful screen presence of these two legendary actors served to make up for any lack of on-screen chemistry. It was certainly an extraordinarily memorable film to me.
Joel wakes up one morning and without knowing why, he heads off to a beach instead of work. He meets Clementine, a girl with bright blue hair. The two of them are seen on a few days together and then the film brusquely shifts to Joel trying to recover from his breakup with Clementine. One day, however, he receives a letter from a clinic asking him never to contact Clementine again because she had him permanently erased from his mind. Angry and hurt beyond words, Joel decides to do the same...
The confusing elements in the film might have been due to the constant parallel between the present and the past as depicted within Joel's past. For those who get confused by this, I would recommend keeping a close watch on Kate Winslet's hair all through the film- I think it was a deliberate move from the producers; the vivid color of her hair will certainly help the audience into situating the various timeframes and circumstances in the plot development.
I am so used to seeing Jim Carrey as a comedian that it was extremely, extremely amazing for me to watch him in the skin of deep, intense and melancholic Joel in the film. I must say that he left quite an impression on me. There are many scenes in the film that some people could describe as boring- scenes where there is no particular dialogue or acting, just some lengthy camera shots on the faces or slow deliberate gestures. However, I think that Jim Carrey was the perfect master of such scenes; he was in his usual element in manipulating facial expressions. In fact, he showed a lot more emotions in these silent shots on his face, more emotions that I guess words could ever express.
Kate Winslet was as great as Carrey even if I have to say that she was somewhat over shadowed by her co-star. While her line deliveries, gestures and body languages were all appropriate and fluid, she did not really manage to depict the same deep and intense personality as Jim Carrey. In a way that might be a positive factor because one can only imagine the dullness of a film where both actors are nostalgic and moody! I can say that Winslet was the perfect contrast of Carrey in the movie, and she depicted her childish, perky and eccentric character to the best.
Kirsten Dunst and Mark Ruffalo also appear in this film as part of the staff working in the clinic. While Kirsten Dunst left no impression on me whatsoever, I was extremely impressed by Ruffalo's performance. I never particularly liked him in any of his past movies, his acting always seemed to bland and flat to me, but he was just amazing in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. There was nothing bland at all in his acting, and I guess I can rate his performance side by side to Carrey's.
Like I mentioned above, the film certainly is confusing, the scenes shift very very abruptly and the actors shift facial expressions as brusquely as the scenes change and while it might be hard for someone to fully grasp the concept of the film at the first viewing, I would advice you to watch it again for a better understanding. I never thought I would say that about any science fiction film but it is a completely fascinating and romantic one. Sadly, I cannot say what exactly is romantic about this film without giving spoilers away, but I was really touched by the powerful messages of love depicted all throughout.
* Jim Carrey
* Kate Winslet
* Gerry Byrne
* Elijah Wood
* Thomas Ryan
* Mark Ruffalo
* Jane Adams
* Kirsten Dunst
* A Look Inside Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
* Commentary track
* Deleted Scenes
Overall, this is definitely one to recommend. It is captivating, enthralling, interesting, dramatic and romantic in one. There are some outstanding performances in the movies and the storyline is extremely original. This is not a light, preppy watch, it is more of a dark, intense one but this is definitely a movie that I am sure many will enjoy.
Thanks for reading!
This comedy-drama was first released in 2004 and explores the elements of science fiction, memory and of course true love. It has a star studded cast which include: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Elijah Wood, Kirstin Dunst and Mark Ruffalo to name a few.
It earned about 70 million in the box office world wide and even an academy award for best screenplay of 2005. The film gets it title from the poen "Eloisa to Abelard" the story of a tragic love affair where loss of memory becomes the heriones only comfort.
What is the film about:
When Joel Barrish (carrey) meets weird and cooky Clementine Kruczynski (Winslet) they are suddenly drawn to each other despite their radical differences in personality.
Although they dont realise it at the time, they have met before, in fact they spent two years in a relationship together!
We find out that during their relationship the two had a huge row and as a result of this Clementine made the decision to have her whole memory of Joel erased so its as if he never existed, when Joel finds this out he decides to do the same and rushes to firm Lacuna Inc to erase Clementine from his mind and his life.
However while Joel in unconsious having his memories of her erased he decides he doesnt want to forget her and fights to keep his memories from leaving his mind.
Due to this most of the film takes place in the mind of Joel, showing us in reverse his relationship with Clementine and the love they had for one another.
Will he be able to hold on to his memories and try to win Clementine back or Will they forget each other and simply move on with their lives?
Great ending to the story which shows that true love will always win in the end and if youve found your soul mate, that is the person you will be with no matter what!
What I Thought Of The Film:
I thought it was brilliant, great storyline and fantastic actors.
I did have to watch the film twice to fully get the story as it is quite hard to follow I thought but that might just be because I didnt watch it the first time or something like that, so I would say concentrate otherwise you'll lose track of what's happening.
Its a great more modern sort of love story none of that kissy-cuddly stuff, so I think most people will love it!!
Price & Stockists:
Amazon: Brand New: £3.88 Pre-Owned: £1.99
So you can get it in any HMV store or at any of these online sites for less than £5 so its well worth a watch and a buy!
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is impossible to categorize or compare with aother film, or any film I've ever seen anyhow. I watched it on recommendation after being asked the question 'what is your favourite film of all time?'.
The plot is quite simple, a man decides to erase an ex girlfriend from his mind after discovering she has done the same to him. During the operation however he changes his mind having relived all these memories and tries for the duration of the procedure to cling on to these memories and save them from the erasers.
What surprised me most at first was Jim Carrey's shining performance, the depth of his character hit me from the start. Now I don't know about you but when I hear Jim Carrey I think over-the-top comedy performer who's had some fairly decent comedy films under his belt, I simply didn't expect this from him. I completely believed his character, the quiet, thoughtful, lonely man. The inner narative in the opening scenes with the cafe and the train were fantastic.
The film is certainly artistic. The skewed sequencing of story is no breakthrough but the artfully distorted depiction of memory is beautiful; how weeks, months, years even can flit backwards and forwards and the slow often sudden destruction of a man's own past is tasteful as well as awe inducing.
I have no idea how Charlie Kaufman managed to craft such an movie from paper to film but the sheer imagination of a sci fi writer coupled with the sensitivity and taste of a serious arty director is incredible. However far fetched some of the concepts involved in the fil appear to be the film feels so real. Never did I feel as if these things were a million miles away.
Do watch this film, I promise you won't regret it.
A wonderfully presented story, Eternal Sunshine never lets up on its magic, it seems to have an atmosphere of mystique that is so rare these days in cinema - you never truly know where this picture is going, everything from the characters to the set have an air on un-real to them, as if it isn't really set in the real world. But the main premise that is o so real are the human emotions that are portrayed here. Jim Carey gives a career best performance in this film, really showing that he can be a serious actor. He can portray emotions through his body and his voice rather than just through his mushy face and for this i think the casting was incredible - i love Kate Winslet in this as well, i dunno about you but i think she takes herself way to serious in some roles and just ends up becoming unrealistic, but here she was wonderful and seemed to enjoy herself thoroghly.
This film deals with relationships on a whole new level and changes perspectives on why we need each other no matter how much little imperfections can bother you. This film to depicts the life of two people that dont really relationships, two people that just can't get their head round them and yet yearn so bad for it to work. No film has delivered such a tale of relationship since Annie Hall in my opinion. I know that Eternal Sunshine is not nearly as funny, or as witty in its approach but to me Eternal Sunshine tries to show how relationships can effect peoples lifes in a different way. They show just how important they can be.
Screenwriters rarely develop a distinctive voice that can be recognized from movie to movie, but the ornate imagination of Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) has made him a unique and much-needed cinematic presence. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a guy decides to have the memories of his ex-girlfriend erased after she's had him erased from her own memory--but midway through the procedure, he changes his mind and struggles to hang on to their experiences together. In other hands, the premise of memory-erasing would become a trashy science-fiction thriller; Kaufman, along with director Michel Gondry, spins this idea into a funny, sad, structurally complex, and simply enthralling love story that juggles morality, identity, and heartbreak with confident skill. The entire cast--Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, and more--give superb performances, carefully pitched so that cleverness never trumps feeling. A great movie. --Bret Fetzer