Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
1,831 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
10/10
Meet me in Montauk...
tccandler26 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
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. -- Alexander Pope

==> I confess to being an idealist and a romantic. This type of film appeals to people like me... the ones who believe in love at first sight, soul mates, destiny, yada yada yada. The Charlie Kaufman penned 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' is as fresh and original as some of his other screenplays (Being John Malkovich, Human Nature, Adaptation), but adds a romantic depth that makes this one of the most complete film going experiences I have ever had.

There was an exchange during the film between our two leads, Joel and Clementine, played with poignancy and nuance by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, that echoed what I was feeling about the film.

Clementine: This is it Joel. It's going to be gone soon.

Joel: I know.

Clementine: What do we do?

Joel: Enjoy it.

Luckily for me, I knew I was going to be able to revisit the film many times in my life. The depth of the film manifests itself in the fact that the soul mates, Joel and Clem, both know that their time is running out and that they will never be able to meet again.

Most films might choose to highlight this type of heartbreak with the death of a loved one or a bittersweet farewell at a train station. But not Charlie Kaufman. He is bored by clichés. Rather, he chooses to dazzle us with the complexities of the human mind and all of its glorious possibilities. He is a master storyteller that is unlike any other I am aware of.

Joel (Carrey) is socially inept. He has had girlfriends, but none that really meant anything. It is as if he has never had a significant relationship of any kind. But, one day, he meets Clementine. "Don't make any jokes about my name", she warns him. She is wild and kooky, changing her hair color from red to orange to blue to green depending on her current mood. She seems the polar opposite of Joel, but they click. They click in ways even they can't pinpoint. But from the moment they meet, they know there is something special there.

However, after a silly argument breaks up their relationship, Clementine decides to visit Lacuna Inc., a company that specializes in wiping troubling memories away forever. She has decided to erase the memory of Joel. When Joel hears this from some friends, he angrily decides to do the same to Clementine, erasing her completely from his mind.

The erasing process involves a mapping of the memories and an all night process of erasure that is "technically brain damage", according to the doctor. The bulk of the film takes place during the process, inside Joel's mind. The most recent memories are first to go and we watch as they slowly disappear into nothingness. Those recent memories are bitter as we witness the arguments and the boredom of their relationship. But as the time rewinds, the memories get better. We travel backwards and watch Joel and Clem during their best moments, loving life and loving each other. As this happens, Joel desperately regrets his decision. He wants the inevitable erasure to stop, but he is completely powerless. Soon she will be gone and he won't even remember that he forgot her. The film focuses on his attempts to foil the process and retain some of her in the recesses of his mind.

'Eternal Sunshine' is directed by Michel Gondry who also helmed 'Human Nature'. He has a flare that accompanies Kaufman's words with perfect symmetry. This film bounces around on its timeline almost hysterically, but the director never lets us get lost. We always feel in control of our senses and our emotions. It is a tribute to Carrey and Winslet that they were able to do the same.

Jim Carrey has pulled off a rather remarkable transformation that I would have deemed impossible a decade ago. He is becoming a brilliant actor with qualities that resemble Jimmy Stewart and Tom Hanks. He is a fabulous everyman who is sympathetic and knowing, interesting and kind. He deserves tremendous praise for this role. Kate Winslet is consistently brilliant in every film. She is easily one of the very best actresses we have. Here she plays against type, and embodies a fascinating woman who craves attention but needs intimacy. Hers is a beautiful performance that will go overlooked. It is easy to understand why Joel falls in love with Clementine.

I think fans of Charlie Kaufman will be thrilled with this brilliant entry in to his collection. I think the film will appeal to those who loved the recent masterpiece 'Lost in Translation' or Tom Tykwer's recent beauty, 'Heaven'. It is a romantic fantasy with real emotions and real characters that will resonate with the viewer who isn't entirely closed to sentiment. When Clementine whispers "Meet me in Montauk" into Joel's ear... it's hard to hold back a tear.

This will easily be one of the best films of 2004. It is the antithesis of the typical romantic Hollywood fare. I loved every minute of its refreshing originality. The film has passion and flare and brilliant wit, all framed by an intelligent script that deals in absurdity while managing to maintain an intimate realism. These characters feel real. You root for them. You want them to meet again and give it another chance. It is a film that will only get better over time, as our memory of it waxes and wanes its way into our hearts.

TC CANDLER
988 out of 1,125 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is a bizarre but wonderful movie, a very strange and remarkably tender experience.
MovieAddict20162 June 2004
"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." - Alexander Pope

Michel Gondry's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is a bizarre but wonderful movie, a very strange and remarkably tender experience, which I suppose is only to be expected from screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, the man behind "Being John Malkovich."

The film was produced by Focus Features ("Lost in Translation," "21 Grams"), a company which strives to offer original, quality films to the true cinema lovers. If the company keeps producing films this good, they may become hugely successful in the future, if not already.

The previews portrayed the movie as a bouncy, cheery comedy in the vein of "Adaptation," the last film written for the big screen by Charlie Kaufman, when it is really a tender movie about love and romance. This is Jim Carrey's best performance to date, and may open the eyes of his prejudiced haters who have only imagined him as Ace Ventura and a certain cable guy for his entire career. No snippy quotes, outrageous humor or bizarre antics in "Sunshine" -- Carrey plays a true, realistic, three-dimensional character named Joel Barrish, who plans to have memories of his girlfriend, Clementine (Kate Winslet), erased by a new company called Lacuna, after he discovers that she herself has had the procedure performed only a week before. Joel meets with the company's founder, Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), and is informed that the procedure -- although "technically" brain damage -- is on par with a heavy night of drinking. "Nothing you'll miss much," he is told, as he plunges into a bizarre world of long forgotten memories.

The entire process of the operation is quite fascinating, really, if a bit reminiscent of an idea founded by none other than one of Kaufman's favorite writers, Philip K. Dick, who wrote the source short story for the Ah-nuld movie "Total Recall." All items relating to the person you want erased from your brain are assembled together, and the technicians at Lacuna (Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood) then "map" an outline of your memories, which are supposedly stemmed together. I have my doubts about the seriousness and remote possibility of such a procedure being performed, and the explanation is quite simply utter bull, but we don't care because the entire erasing of Joel's memories serves as a backdrop for a deeper meaning: If you could forget about past romances, would you really want to? And if so, would you be willing to sacrifice all the good ones, along with the bad ones?

The conclusion that "Sunshine" arrives at is, to be totally truthful, as honest as can be. During the procedure, Joel's subconscious realizes that it doesn't want to let go of its memories of Clementine, and so begins a strange labyrinth of fragmented memories, constantly changing surroundings, and mental materializations of Clementine. The movie is like a very bizarre dream, when you're trying to interact with people, but they're not responding, and you shout and try to get their attention but they don't seem to notice. Joel's entire odyssey of the interior of his mind makes "Being John Malkovich" look normal -- but as I didn't like "Malkovich" very much, and thought its strangeness was unjustified, it fits perfectly in "Sunshine" -- there are some great special effects, such as when Joel is wandering through his own memories, drifting in and out of sleep, hearing the voices of the technicians erasing his memories and watching as objects and areas around him vanish and deconstruct. It's so bizarre but yet also so beautiful. Gondry was a former music video director (his complete works are available on DVD) and he is the perfect candidate for this project, having worked with Kaufman before on the 2001 flop "Human Nature." It seems that he has finally found a unique directing style that ties in perfectly with the underlying themes of the movie.

There is a very deep message in "Sunshine," and it is arguably Kaufman's deepest film to date. Love and romance and memories of both have rarely been examined as thought-provokingly and tenderly as they are in this wonderful motion picture. The movie has a very profound message that all viewers should pay attention to. There are many small intricacies in the film, surely picked up on more thoroughly on repeat viewings, and the entire construction of the movie is completely enthralling and intelligent. I saw two people leave the rather empty theater during the screening I attended. It tanked in the US and I predict it will do the same in the UK, which is a shame, because this is the smartest film of 2004 and has the most to say about our lives than any other film this year. While everyone flocks to see the new Denzel Washington action movie, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is forgotten, which is quite depressing -- people would rather spend their money on forgettable entertainment than view something unique that has something important at its core.

I think what the movie finally asks us after its long, emotional journey, is would we want our own memories erased? And if so, what would the consequences be? A lesser film might examine this idea poorly -- "Sunshine" is not. It is perfect in almost every conceivable way, and anyone who complains that it is not original must be joking -- in my entire lifetime, this is one of the most unique film experiences I have ever had.

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is a beautiful movie, eloquently voiced by Gondry, firmly constructed and rooted in an eerie nightmarish fantasy land where anything is possible. It's beautiful, it's bizarre, it's exceptional, it's funny, it's lovely, it's touching, it's witty, and it's one of the best movies I have ever seen.
822 out of 957 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Imagine.
swestgat12 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This movie gives us what we all secretly wish for-- a chance to forget something that's hurt us in the past. The viewer can almost live vicariously through the two dysfunctional characters that are remarkably just like ordinary people. The relationship problems are the same. The little fights and bickers are things we all can relate to. The acting was amazing- throughout the movie, I actually forgot that I was watching Mr. Ace Ventura himself. Carrey and Winslet pull off a great performance, both ditching the typecasts that they've been shackled with. Not only did the film give us the opportunity to see what it was like if painful memories were erased, but it also gave us the opportunity to see that everything deserves a second chance. The way it ends leaves the viewer to imagine how the characters' lives will end. The idealist may say that they lived happily ever after; the pessimist may say that they just reverted to disliking each other again. Either way, it leaves you to imagining your own ending; a characteristic many films leave out. Basically, this movie makes you think, "What if...?" It truly gives new meaning to the phrase "You never know what you've got until it's gone."
412 out of 491 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Interior Landscape
doctec22 March 2004
Of all Kaufman's screenplays that delve into the interior landscapes of its characters, Eternal Sunshine is the most fully formed and moving story of the bunch, a rumination on the possibilities and consequences inherent in making the process of removing unwanted memories from your consciousness as easy as going for a checkup. Kaufman here plays on our desire to forget the bad things that happen to us and what happens when we are given the power to forget those things permanently, and the conclusion he arrives at is that it ultimately creates as many - if not more - problems than it solves. At the very least, it can result in making the same mistakes again ("Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it"); at the worst, it eliminates the possibility of our ever reconciling and coming to terms with our life experiences, the way we relate to the people who help to shape our lives and whose lives we shape through ours.

The film explores these ideas in a novel and engaging way: by taking the audience inside the mind of Joel Barish (Jim Carrey), a man who, after breaking up with his girlfriend Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslett), discovers later that she has had her memory of him wiped clean from her mind. He finds out how she had this procedure done and, despondent not only about the breakup but even more so about her having completely erased him from her mind, searches out the doctor who performed the procedure and signs up to have the same procedure done to him, so that he may also have no memory of her. He is rendered unconscious for the procedure but his subconscious is still active. Once the procedure is initiated and he becomes aware that his memories of the woman he loved - and still loves - are vanishing from his brain, he starts having second thoughts and wants the procedure stopped. His challenge then becomes to figure out how to protect as much of his memory of her as he can, and to find a way stop the procedure despite the fact that he is in an unconscious state.

The manner in which he comes to realize and confront his dilemma is played out entirely within his interior landscape, a realm which (as anyone who remembers their dreams upon waking from sleep can attest) is a very surreal extension of our day-to-day experiences. Michel Gondry's visual style and direction works exceptionally well here in conveying the slippery, chaotic unpredictability of the worlds we construct from our memories and experiences; the clever interplay between this interior world and the goings-on of the outside world helps keep the viewer off-balance just enough to illuminate the fuzzy line of demarcation separating the two worlds and the peculiar manner in which they play off one another.

Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett do an exceptional job of bringing this abstract story concept to life with characters that are endearing, poignant, believable and utterly human. The supporting players are equally impressive: Tom Wilkinson as the mind-eraser doctor, Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood as the technicians, Kiersten Dunst as the receptionist all have relationships to the main protagonists and to one another that come to light as the story unfolds and help to propel the plot; as friends of Joel and Clementine, David Cross and Jane Adams are hilarious as a couple who seem to be stuck in the same rut that compelled the protagonists to break up and have each other erased from their respective minds. Kaufman juggles all these relationships masterfully and in such a way as to ensure none of them are superfluous to the ideas he is trying to get across in this story.

While there are elements of the plot that seem to place this movie in the realm of science fiction, the focus of the movie stays on the interior states, emotions and relationships between the characters. As such, the film is more of a romantic comedy than anything - albeit unlike any other romantic comedy you're ever likely to see. I saw a late showing of this movie with my girlfriend the day it was released at a local multiplex and there were only 20 or so people in the theater, yet at the film's conclusion everyone broke out in a spontaneous round of applause. This gives an idea of how compelling this movie can be. If you give this film a chance to creep under your skin, you will likely find yourself reflexively thinking about your feelings toward the important people in your life, as well how you relate to those feelings, as well as your memories and how you relate to them. A thought provoking, moving and entertaining film - I can imagine that a working title of this film might have been "Warts And All."
269 out of 318 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A warm hearted original love story
samuellewis486 May 2004
After a lukewarm reception in 2001 with "Human Nature", Charlie Kaufman has teamed up with director, Michel Gondry again for this romatic fantasy. With a name like Jim Carrey, this second collaboration couldn't go wrong in terms of box office success, and nor should it as this film is quite simply brilliant.

"Eternal Sunshine" centres around the life of Joel (Jim Carrey) a shy, mild mannered man who is heart broken after splitting from his feisty, impulsive girlfriend, Clementine (Kate Winslet). A short while after their split, he meets her again while she is working at a library and he is stunned to discover that she doesn't recognise him. He later finds out that the reason for this is that Clementine has had her memory of Joel wiped out completely. Dr Howard Mierwick (Tom Wilkinson) has performed an operation on her brain after Clementine visited his clinic to forget Joel. Much to Joel's distress, he decides to do the same, but during his operation he revisits memories of Clementine that he struggles to let go of.

If anyone was in doubt as to whether Jim Carrey can act, this is the film that will put all doubt out of the way. He performs with sensitivity and warmth, never once verging on the manic rubber faced lunacy to which he is most well known for. Out of all the perfomances where he has stepped into the dramtic role (The Truman Show, Man on the Moon, The Majestic), this has got to be his best yet. Kate Winslet is also brilliant as his unpredictable, adventurous girlfriend.

Kaufman's story of a man going into a surreal dream world is not too dissimilar from his earlier work, "Being John Malkovich". You have off the wall images such as Carrey re-enacting his 4 year old self along his journey in his head. The eccentricity of the story, which is Kaufman's trademark, once again works excellently. When watching this you generally care for Carrey and Winslet, in much the same way as Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in "Lost In Translation". Gondry's diection gives a bittersweet flavour to the tale.

The sub plots involving the supporting characters who are operating are ingenius. Tom Wilkinson once again proves that he is one of the best British actors of his generation and he is backed up by great performnces from Kirsten Dunst and a post-LOTR Elijah Wood.

This is a lovely film and if you like originality with a sense of fantasy with a love story, then I suggest you see it. It's one of those films you'll want to see twice.
268 out of 323 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Perfect - a movie that puts 99% of all contemporary movies to shame
Superunknovvn2 July 2004
There's only one way to describe "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind": perfect. It's been one week since I saw the movie and I still cannot stop thinking about it. Was the ending happy or sad? I cannot tell, but it's deeply touching.

Charlie Kaufman is incredible. How does he come up with all these original, flawless scripts? Finally there's someone who uses the possibilities of cinema to the fullest. I love the way Kaufman shows the fate of individuals and derives universally true rules from it. The content of his story is always highly philosophical without ever being smart alec.

Some say "Eternal Sunshine..." was over-directed. I disagree. Having read the script, I know that Gondry deserves lots of credit for bringing this beautiful story to life. Sure, there are five creepy images per minute, but have you ever seen such an original, weird picture? Mind you, I'm not saying that lots of effects automatically make for a good direction, but in this case it really helped to underline the story, not distracting from it.

Jim Carrey... wow! I've always liked him as the hilarious Comedian he is, but I never thought that his performances in "The Truman Show" and "Man On The Moon" were that much of a departure from his funny-man side. As Joel, however, he is a completely different person. It's like Jim Carrey had a serious twin brother. Unbelievable. I bow to this performance! Give this man more chances to show his acting abilities, I say!

Finally I have to mention Beck's cover of "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime", which fits perfectly into the movie and won't leave my CD-Player for the next months.

A movie like "Eternal Sunshine..." really shows how much time and money Hollywood wastes on producing crap like "Bad Boys" or "The Fast & The Furious", and its box office result demonstrates how little people care about quality in movies. Personally, I have found my first contender for best motion picture of the year. I need to see the movie again, because I have a feeling that this one gets even better with each viewing. I can't wait until it's released on DVD.

I feel the need to say more, but I can't put my feelings into (English) words. All I can say is: GO SEE THIS MOVIE! You won't regret it.
245 out of 295 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
an modern artistic triumph for all involved
Quinoa198427 October 2004
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 one of the great romantic dramedies of the decade.
384 out of 469 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
The Moose Hole - Review of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
JAKastner19 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
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?
370 out of 455 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Brilliantly Original and Wonderfully Magical
soriano32911 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is the most well written movie since Pulp Fiction, and the best movie since the turn of the century. It's originality is unprecedented, putting screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation) up there with the greats. And every time you watch it, you will gain a new understanding of the characters and story.

Just imagine, instead of dealing with the pain and suffering of your past, you can erase people and moments from your memory, and move on with your life, without giving it another thought. Imagine your bad relationships can disappear. You bad experiences obliterated. Your bad times gone. Dr. Howard Mierzwiak makes this all possible.

Meet Joel Barish (Carrey), an archetypal lost American, a passive soul wandering through his own life in a cloud of dissatisfaction. One day, his shyness and antisocial tendencies led him to meet the free spirit Clementine (Winslet), changing his life forever.

They break up, and Clementine impulsively decides to "erase" Joel from her memory. Joel, upon hearing this, also signs up for the procedure. But midway through, he changes his mind. Then the chase begins, as Joel and Clementine try to outrun the erasers, hiding in his childhood and humiliation.

Meanwhile, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, and Mark Ruffalo, the ones performing the procedure on Joel, have their own troubles with romance, memory erasure, and Clementine, all due to the procedure offered by Dr. Mierzwiak.

Although Carrey spends most of the movie in an induced coma, his outstanding performance proves to us that his talents go far beyond his Ace Ventura days. And Winslet's spectacular performance didn't go unnoticed either, earning her another Oscar nod.

To say the least, Eternal Sunshine will change your life. Kaufman shows us that you must take the good along with the bad, because if you forget, you are destined to repeat your mistakes. Joel doesn't realize he made a mistake until he gets past their bad moments, and remembers all the good times he and Clementine had together. This movie gives a new meaning to "You never know what you've got until it's gone."

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a brilliant work of originality. With all the crap Hollywood has been turning out in recent years, this will feel like a blast of fresh air. Kaufman's masterpiece is inspirational, and, unlike most Hollywood films, makes you think. It'll make you realize that at the end of the day, our memories are all we really have, and when they're gone, we're gone.
116 out of 139 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Great, if you can relate...
rje5824 March 2004
If you can relate to the underlying theme of love longed for, love given and received, and love lost, this is a great film. If you have come to understand that acceptance can -sometimes- be a great thing and not a compromise or a 'settle for' - this is a moving film.

As crazy and almost surreal as elements of this film are, it somehow remains honest and real. That seems like a contradiction... life is contradictory, isn't it?

Carrey and Winslet both turn in superb performances, as do the supporting cast. An incredible film that most of the people who 'get it' will love - but I suspect there will be more than a small percentage who won't understand it or can't relate to it and they will (understandably) dislike it.
642 out of 813 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
It's OK (very OK)
mstomaso6 May 2006
Very nicely crafted science fiction love story. More of an experience than a film.

What? Sci Fi? Well yes. A simple science fiction device, memory erasure, is the vehicle for this beautifully shot, brilliantly edited and directed love fable. The fact that this is a good film does not disqualify it from the sci fi genre. In fact, would-be sci fi writers and film-makers should take note of this.

But Eternal Sunshine is a love story first and last, in all respects. The characters are what John Irving would call "L.A. dysfunctional", although they don't live in L.A. Carrey and Winslet are deeply insecure people with little going for them but good looks (which they try to disguise), fairly sweet dispositions, and a desire for companionship. They meet on Valentine's Day in Montauk, where they have both seemingly traveled 'on a lark', and the entire experience of the film seems to derail from this point forward. Chronological, linear story-telling becomes impossible because the characters are having their memories erased in order to assuage the pain of their separation. No spoilers, so let me stop right there.

If I have made Eternal Sunshine seem like it might be too much of a challenge or too disturbing for an evening's light entertainment, be not afraid. Certainly there are occasional disturbing elements, and the characters themselves are all neurotic enough to have walked off the street and onto the screen. But the film is so artistically rendered, and so well thought-out that what could have been a nightmare really becomes a fantastic post-modern love fable. It's also one of those great films that becomes predictable after a while, but is so delightfully portrayed and satisfying that it does not matter.

The acting is exceptionally good. I would expect nothing else from this cast. Winslet is especially remarkable for her ability to play a young North East American better than most American actresses could. How this genius has been passed up in each of her 4 Oscar nominations to date is inexplicable. Carrey's talent is undeniable, though I dislike many of the films he chooses to take on. His performance here is easily as good as his award-worthy performances in the Truman Show, Bruce Almighty, and Man on the Moon.

We spend a lot of time inside people's heads in this film, yet the camera never becomes a member of the cast as it does in films like "Being John Malkovich". I can pay no higher compliment to the production team. This is a very difficult thing to accomplish, and it is done with flawless simplicity in Eternal Sunshine. This film has just joined Shakespeare in Love, Wild at Heart, and Brokeback Mountain among my favorite all-time love stories. This is the first Michel Gondry film I have seen. I am going to make sure it is not the last.
101 out of 123 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Fantastic
hecklerdanny18 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Here's the basic plot. Clemintine and Joel have a long, rocky relationship. Clemintine decides to get Joel erased from her memory, so Joel decides to do the same, only while Joel is in the process of the erasing, he comes back around to the really sweet, nice memories, and realizes that he wants out of the procedure. Now here's what I thought about it.

This movie is completely amazing. Totally original story and wonderful directing. Some of the best directing that i've seen in any movie. Some of the best original music too. This is in my top five favorites, and it also boosted Jim Carrey into one of my favorite actors. You know you have a good movie on your hands when the next day you're still thinking about parts of it, and you want to see those parts again. If you haven't seen this, I recommend that you check it out. It's different, in a really good way. There's not much more to tell you about it. If you want to see the Ace Ventura Jim Carrey, than you should absolutely skip this one. But if you want to see a side of him and Kate Winslet that you've never seen, or if you want to see a total original movie with wonderful cinematography and really great music, then by all means, you should absolutely see this one!
267 out of 346 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Best Film of 2004
Matt_Layden13 February 2005
Joel (Jim Carrey) is a rather milquetoast man who meets up with free spirit Clementine (Kate Winslet), and they become romantically involved. However, they endure a messy breakup and Clementine goes to a business called Lacuna, Inc., where she has all of her memories of Joel erased. Not wanting to be left out, Joel also goes to have his memory erased. However, soon after it begins, Joel realizes that he wants to keep the memory of Clementine, so he tries to reverse the process.

Well, if you're familiar with Kaufman's work, then you know what your getting yourself into. This is just as weird if not weirder than his previous work, Being John Malkovich. I knew what I was getting myself into, but 90% of the movie I was saying to myself "What the hell is going on?", but in a good way. It opens with Joel calling in sick for work and going on a different train, heading for Montauk. He meets Clementine and they hit it off. Now this is about 15 minutes into the movie, then out of nowhere come the opening credit sequence. I will admit, I thought it would be different, but I'm glad that it is the way it is, the movie is 80% of the time in Joel's head.

If you think you know Carrey, think again. This movie is his best performance, better than Majestic, Truman show and all of his comedic roles (which is what I love him for). Just looking at his face from the second we see him, we feel his pain, then like that, we feel his joy, embarrassment and hate. Just awesome acting on his part, and Winslet was great as the free spirit who never seems satisfied. The supporting cast all work well in their small, yet important roles. Oscar nominations for Winslet and (crosses fingers) Carrey.

But if I were to bet any money on any Oscar nominations it would obviously be the writing, what a mess, but beautifully constructed. You think to yourself, is that scene really necessary? Then ten minutes later you think to yourself how brilliant it was, that's beautiful, crazy, give me whatever he's smoking kind of writing. Charlie Kaufman's writing is always clever, but this time he's one-upped himself by making something simultaneously bizarre and emotionally engaging. It seemed like his earlier movies were clever for the sake of cleverness, but 'Eternal Sunshine' manages to dazzle you with it's originality and it's poignancy. The fact that this movie was able to wrap such profound loss, emotional tenderness, and hope in such a self-consciously stylized package illustrates the incredible talent of the people behind it.

Michel Gondry's use of vibrant coloring and quick camera movement give the film a very involving first hand feeling. The constant use of the handy cam is very all involving for the viewer, and I suppose that this is exactly what is needed in such a personal movie. His work on the dream sequences is incredible as well. He decides to use more practical effects than what we see today with computers.

Eternal Sunshine is a tragic, yet beautiful film that sits at the top of my list of "Best of 2004".
98 out of 124 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A deep and personal marvel!
silly-lil-thing23 December 2004
this is my favorite movie of 2004 and definitely one of the top in my all-time favorite lists!

Eternal touched a certain part of you, your heart that most shows never did. or rather could never did. it shows the fragility of a relationship. people want to erase bad memories of a failed relationship yet at the same time, cant bear to part with the good ones! how so can that be done? how can you erase bad memories and saved good ones only? Carrey and Winslet did a perfect job acting as Joel and Clementine respectively. Arguably one of their career best so far. its a pleasant surprise to see the man behind "The Mask" playing such a quiet and introvert role. Kate, on the other hand, brought Clementine to new heights as the bubbly and brutally honest lass who you love and hate.

Eternal is a definite marvel, a feat in itself. its rich and flamboyant yet fragile. it brings the audience to such a personal level it hurts. especially when both cant seem to escape from the erasure.

well-done!
333 out of 447 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
How happy IS the blameless vestal's lot?
q-taran12 February 2005
"How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each prayer accepted, and each wish resigned." - Alexander Pope Is ignorance truly bliss? And if you could erase a person, what would the consequences be? "Eternal Sunshine" answers these questions, in a way that most Hollywood movies could not. Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman have created one of the most original, touching, funny, and unique films of recent years. It explores the mind and the heart, deeper than other movies have dared to do.

Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) is on the shy side. He's rather quiet and ordinary. Joel is stuck in life; he has no real relationships, a job he hates, and doesn't know where he's going or what he wants, but is too nervous to break out of his niche. Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) seems like his complete opposite. She's spontaneous, wild, and eccentric. Her hair changes from red to blue to orange to green, depending on her mood. Clementine doesn't care what people think, and is free and impulsive, doing and saying what she wants.

Clementine and Joel have a wonderful relationship, then break up because of petty arguments and irritations about each other's personalities. Joel tries to talk to her, then discovers she has had her memories of him wiped, by a company named Lacuna, that specializes in removing unwanted memories. Angry and hurt, he decides to undergo the procedure himself, confident he'll never miss Clementine. As the various memories are erased, Joel sees their best and their worst moments together. They argued and fought, but they were also happy, and for a time, they really loved each other. He realizes he'd rather have the pain of their relationship than have no memory of her at all. He begins to regret his decision, and desperately tries to stop the procedure. The film focuses on Joel's attempts to hide Clementine in his mind, and his struggle to fight the process.

Jim Carrey's performance is wonderful, a complete change from his usual antics. He is sympathetic and believable; the rubber face that is usually contorted in a silly grin is subtly controlled, every line and expression honest and real. He is becoming a gifted actor and hopefully the public will forget the Ace Ventura side of him. Kate Winslet, who is one of our greatest actresses, gives one of her best performances. She gives a complexity to her role, which could have easily been clichéd and simple. She shows Clementine's want for attention, but also her incredible loneliness. Both of these characters aren't perfect; there are times when you understand why they dumped each other, and fought. But you also see why one loved the other. The supporting cast of Wilkinson, Wood, Dunst, and Ruffalo hold their own, as the eccentric team who run Lacuna, and have their own opinions about the process.

People have called this an "anti-romance" movie, but I don't feel that. I think it is the ultimate romance movie, for it shows the complexity and pain of love. How much it hurts when it's gone, and how wonderful it feels while it's happening. "Eternal Sunshine" explores the mind with an intensity that is both painful and eloquent at the same time, like love itself.

This film will make you reconsider your opinions about many things: life, love and memories. Gondry has brilliantly made it confusing and fast, yet clear and profound at the same time. The film is delicate and soft, but it hits you right in your heart. This is definitely a movie everyone should see. Because if they did, love would never be the same again.
44 out of 54 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
That's not OVERRATED!
tariksaygili6 August 2018
Before the i watched this movie, everyone said it's overrated, overrated, oooooooverrated. And after these returns i thought it's overrated. WHATEVER This movie has a good story and awesome acting performance. But, most important for me: AWESOME EDITING!!! Lovely soundtrack and cool side story into the bargain! ENJOY IT!
7 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A difficult film to watch
alexhayes11 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
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.
39 out of 51 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Jim Carrey show a serious side
acedj4 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is a deep dark look at loss and regret, and the desire to forget forever the things that cause us deep emotional anguish. Jim and Kate play a couple that had a rough break up, despite the fact that they were deeply in love. Jim goes to a company that will come into your house, and while you sleep seek out and destroy painful memories. What makes this interesting, well there are many things that make this movie interesting, but what really stands out is the way that Jim's character struggles within himself to hold on to the memories he so wanted erased initially. This movie is a sobering look at the thing that makes us what we are, our choices and the pain or reward that they bring. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet do a phenomenal job in this movie.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Finest work of cinematic art
aplusr23 January 2019
Its a splendid movie all round. To me, it is indeed the finest work of cinema art. It tickles your curiosity throughout and doesn't falter at the end. In a nutshell, if you don't find this movie as being a masterpiece, you're either stupid or dead inside, there is no other way to put it. "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"
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Would You Erase Your Mind to Kill the Heart?
nycritic22 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
That is the question underlying this entire movie, since two-thirds of it is the process of elimination of a man's memories in order to forget the person who caused him some hurt in the recent past.

This man is Joel Parish, played (or underplayed) by Jim Carrey who on a train ride to Long Island meets Clementine Krucyzinski (Kate Winslet). Both strike up an uneasy conversation: she being brash, aggressive, he being almost demure. There seems to be something there lingering between them, some connection even when they're totally different, and later we learn, when their affair ends, that she has decided to erase her memories of him and move on, which prompts Joel to do the same.

Except he decides he doesn't want to at the last minute.

So begins a roller-coaster ride where he tries to salvage anything he can as one by one his memories are being zapped away from him, and to see how he goes from one to the other, often with the surreal assistance of Winslet herself (as she is an integral part of his memories), we definitely get bombarded with frenetic images of Joel's mind literally coming apart at the seams, but we never forget that this is his heart that we're talking about, and in a small performance, Kirsten Dunst reveals just how heartless the procedure can be in a revelatory moment, one that makes us totally root for this odd couple right down to the last scene. One of the most original stories which hit theatres in 2004 and which deservedly won its Best Original Screenplay Oscar even if it lost in acting categories, this is the Movie of 2004.
33 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Simply brilliant in all dimensions of the word
DonFishies6 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I had no idea what Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was about until the end of March. I had heard some small rumblings about it around the Internet for a few months, and also saw a few short TV trailers for it, but that was about it. Basically, all I knew was it was another dramatic Jim Carrey film, written by the same guy who wrote two of the weirdest and somehow great films to come out in a long time, Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. But does this film succeed to be just as weird yet excellent as the other two? Or is it even better? A big yes on both counts would be highly appropriate.

The film's main protagonist is Joel (Jim Carrey). He was in a relationship with the very free-spirited Clementine (Kate Winslet), but slowly, they began to pull apart. So, the very impulsive Clementine decides to have a wicked new procedure done to herself in which every memory of Joel is erased from her brain. Of course, Joel fails to find out right away, and only thinks upon various attempts to try to speak to her that she is simply just completely ignoring him. That is until, he finds out about the procedure from friends who were supposed to be keeping it a secret.

The company performing the procedures is called Lacuna Inc. Upon heading to Lacuna for answers, Joel finds out from the head doctor, Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), that he cannot be given any whatsoever, as everything is confidential. The Doctor does however, tell Joel the details of the procedure that Clementine had. After some passing time, Joel decides to have the operation done to him, on the night before Valentine's Day. So Joel goes home that night, takes the special pills given to him and falls asleep on his bed. It is then that Mierzwiak's assistants at Lacuna enter in to perform the procedure.

What follows from here, is a seamless blend of both memories of Clementine and Joel within Joel's head, and the real world where Patrick, Stan and Mary (Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo and Kirsten Dunst respectively) are performing the procedure on Joel, as well as doing random things around his house. Only everything doesn't go so sweet. After the procedure's initial reactions begin to set in, Joel isn't as enthusiastic as he once was about having it done. So he begins to try to fight off the erasure. This begins to complicate things for the assistants working on him and serves for the main basis of where the film goes from that point.

Despite how complicated and bizarre the film may sound, it still is a great and maybe even brilliant film. All the actors shine brightly in their performances, especially Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. I don't think I've ever seen these two as good as they are in this, both within and outside Joel's head. Their chemistry and romance comes off very well on screen as well as being very believable. The writing is also just as good, if not even better. It must take quite the effort to continue to write films such as these, but the writer, Charlie Kaufman, is seemingly getting better and better with his scripts. By the same token, the scripts are getting stranger and stranger.

The editing and look of the film is very well done as well. The film is quite jumpy in many instances, looping back and forth from activity in Joel's brain to the real world outside of it. The way the imagery is shown is quite stylish, and truly shows the complete agonizing nightmare Joel is going through. It is evident that a great deal of time was spent on the final product of the film both by the editors and the director, Michel Gondry. Although Gondry hasn't had a hit film as of yet, he does show off his excellent film-making skills with this film. Hopefully, this director will continue to excel with films like these and become much more mainstream as the years go on.

I have nothing but praise for the film. It is definitely a must see. The complete brilliance of every aspect of the film is far superior to many of the "hit mainstream" films being released in theatres these days. It can even be considered as a very early candidate for the best picture of the year. If you have the chance to see it, this film is not to be missed.

10/10.
20 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A strange but full-of-emotions love story that's ever been brought to the big screen.
adrien_ngoc_170111 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Though I'd heard of this movie for a very long time, I just watched it recently. And honestly, I've been asking myself ever since why I hadn't done it sooner. It's such a beautiful and remarkable romantic screenplay that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone around me.

This movie is all about one thing and one thing alone: love in its purest meaning. The story has no more nor less than what any of us has been living in our couple's everyday life. Joel is an ordinary guy with a very normal (not to say boring) life, nothing had seemed to be much alive until the day he met Clementine. She, on the other hand, is an unconventional girl who changes her hair color depending on her mood at the moment. Like two opposite poles of a magnet, they fell for each other right away. And like every ordinary couple, they enjoyed their time together, they had fun together, but they also fought. As they are so different, they fought a lot. Though all those fights have never made them stop loving each other, one time, they fought so badly for some stupid reason that they decided to do something terrible that they've both regretted ever since: they went to Lacuna Inc. - a company specialized in wiping away customer's undesired memories... The erasing is an all night process of mapping and killing of the target memories. And here what's made this movie so special: almost the entire love story was told inside Joel's mind while we were walked through all the key memories of their relationship, just before every of them faded away into nothing during the erasing process.

It started with the most recent ones - their biggest stupid fight and some another before it, in which Clementine and Joel looked like 2 miserable persons who don't fit together and all they've been doing is to make the other suffer. But as we traveled backward, the memories got better and better. Witnessing the very same couple in their best moment, seeing how deeply they love each other, we finally understood why they were together at the first place. And that's also the time when Joel realized how much those memories mean to him and began to regret his impulsive decision. So he hopelessly tried every single thing he could think of in order to save all the memories he had left of Clementine, but it's too late... It's thrilling watching all those desperate attempts of Joel's mind, the movie showed us how amazingly our brain functions in creating new memory by mixing existing ones. Yes, remember when Joel tried to hide Clementine in some of his childhood memories? He was creating a new memory of her! But sadly, even this new one couldn't escape the erasure. As the process went on, no matter how hard Joel tried, his memories of Clementine continued to disappear one by one, until there was nothing left of her...

"[...] Clementine: This is it Joel. It's going to be gone soon.

Joel: I know.

Clementine: What do we do?

Joel: Enjoy it. [...]"

Facing the inevitable forgetting - the fact that they will be gone forever from each other's memory, they just enjoyed their last moment together.

The reason why I've placed this movie at the number one of its genre (romance) is because what it delivered is love in its true form, no more no less. No shiny romantic scene, no "the 2 of us against the world" situation, no drama with a lot of tears... It's just love, in normal life, of 2 very ordinary person, but brought to us in the most fascinating way! Following the whole erasure process, then seeing them falling for each other again as 2 complete strangers, that's made me realize how strong love can be. Even though all the memories were erased, the emotions, the feelings they'd had for each other are still there, buried deep down in their heart and mind, just waiting for the day they met again to come out...

And at the end, when they both learned about the truth, about all the heartbreaking things they'd done to each other:

"[...] Joel: I can't see anything that I don't like about you.

Clementine: But you will! But you will. You know, you will think of things. And I'll get bored with you and feel trapped because that's what happens with me.

Joel: ... Okay.

Clementine: ... Okay. [...]"

Then they laughed and cried, and they're together again. Yes, that's what love is all about.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.
nikkiharlan25 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This was hands down the best movie of 2004. I wish it had come out later in the year so Kate Winslet would have won the Oscar she so dearly deserves. One of the reasons I loved this movie was because of the wonderful role reversal. Jim Carrey, whose comic performances have been lauded and dramatic roles almost universally reviled by critics, is superb as the normal, every-man Joel. Kate, who almost always plays the uptight proper lady, is hilarious and heartbreakingly too real as the quirky, emotionally disturbed Clementine. The words that come out of her mouth make you laugh, cry and go into shock all at the same time.

The basic premise of this story is about a recently parted couple, Joel and Clementine, who were polar opposites. Joel comes to realize that in order to move on with her life, Clementine has undergone a new radical procedure that erased all memories of her relationship with him. Joel is horrified and curious at the same time and decides to seek out the doctor for his own experiment. Only once the procedure has begun, he decides (too late!) that although those memories hurt, they are his memories and he is better for having them.

The supporting cast is fantastic as well. Tom Wilkinson, who has never given a bad performance, does not disappoint here as the doctor performing the memory-erasing procedures. While it would have been easy for this character to be one note, Tom breathes life and his own story line into him. Kirsten Dunst shows depth rarely seen before as Mary, a receptionist in the doctor's office. Elijah Wood is stuck in a pretty thankless role as a technician who performs the procedure. Mark Ruffalo, another technician, takes his character to another level with his relationship with Mary and proves once again that he is an amazing supporting actor.

This movie is very big on psychedelic special effects, but the moral is completely real. I would recommend this to anyone in any walk of life.
16 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
You can erase someone from your mind. Getting them out of your heart is another story
Lady_Targaryen22 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
''Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'' is a big and strange name, but it matches perfectly this movie. I can say this is one of my favorite films at all, and one of the things that makes it so special to me, is the fact that it can be interpreted in multiple ways. Jim Carrey finally has a serious role and Kate Winslet is great as Clementine, the very extroverted girl with the most hair varieties you can imagine. (It is different from the British girl characters she is used to play)

The story is focused in the relationship of Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski. Joel discovered that his ex girlfriend Clementine erased him from her memories, using the procedure of Lacuna's clinic, developed by Dr. Mierzwiak. Angry with that fact, Joel decides to erase his memories with Clem as well, but during the procedure he sees that he actually loves and wants to keep his memories with her. The movie shows their new meeting without remembering each other and Joel's memories of their relationship. The End is enigmatic, but far from the cliché.

I really recommend it!

aka "O Brilho Eterno De Uma Mente Sem Lembranças" - Brazil
18 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A fantastic, in-depth and though provoking film. One of the best romantic movies of the last decade.
alishahmohd5 July 2014
Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind is a love story about two lovers who undergo a procedure to erase each other from one another's memories, but when they meet after their memory is gone, there is something strange still drawing them together and it is also during that memory wipe that they realize how precious their relationship really was.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of those films where you have to pay close attention to the scenes and dialog because even the smallest bit of dialog is important in this film. Because otherwise you will be confused in your initial viewing and will soon be asking yourself what in the world is going on. This film requires close attention in the initial viewing or multiple viewings in order to fully understand it and appreciate it for what it truly is.

The film is not your basic love story, it is unique and sort of bizarre at the same time, and while it is not a suspense movie, it is filled with several shocking moments and twists, which will only increase your interest in the movie and the more you will be intrigued by it. The narrative part of the love story is also told in a reverse chronological order, which starts from the moment the lovers broke up and ends when they first met. While the present scenes are told in a normal order, the film constantantly switches back and forth between the two which may create some confusion, another one of the reasons that this film requires close attention, at first you will probably be confused about what you are seeing is the present or the past, but as the film will progress you will be able to tell them apart. The way the Narrative is similar to Mememto which also followed a reverse chronological order of storytelling. The storytelling is clever and interesting and only makes the film better and it's twists more shocking and intriguing.

Acting wise, Jim Carrey is in Truman Show mode, or probably the most serious he has ever been in a film, this is probably the most serious role he has ever done, and he shines in his role as Joel Barish and is completely into his character. Kate Winslet also performs excellently well, and her character development in both the dream sequence and the present sequence is done extremely well. The supporting cast did not get that much screen time but they are performed their roles well, Kirsten Durst and Mark Ruffalo are good but the scenes between them in the apartment are kind of drawn out and I could have done without a few of them, but Elijah Wood is really great in his role as Patrick and scenes between him and Clementine are also interesting.

The ending is also great because it leaves it completely up to the viewer to interpret what will happen next and the events that led up to the ending were also very interesting and intriguing. The soundtrack is also great and suits most of the scenes it is being played in, the opening and closing credits song is also fantastic and also wonderfully portrays the relationship between Clementine and Joel. The ice setting was not something i was fond of before watching the film but it is handled extremely well here, with the scene of Clementine and Joel laying on ice being one of the most touching and memorable moments of this film.

Overall, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, is a touching, in-depth and intriguing love story with such great plot, settings, performances and memorable moments that I can watch this film over and over again and never get bored. However you may need to watch this film multiple times to fully understand it's plot and the message it is trying to convey and appreciate it for what it truly is.

Rating: 9.5/10
11 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed