Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Director: Michel Gondry
Writers: Michel Gondry, Charlie Kaufman and Pierre Bismuth
Released: March 2004
Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, Tom Wilkinson

My Valentine’s Day post. Why? Because of this line that Joel delivers in the film about Valentine’s Day:

Joel: Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.

Which I found amusing.

It’s still one of my favourite movies after multiple viewings. I discovered this film in English class at high school and (admittedly not actually getting it the first time I watched it) I have loved it ever since!

Believe you me, the people who said they got it after the first viewing were either lying or they read the plot on Wikipedia.

It explores the idea of erasing painful memories and the implications of this. Imagine being able to erase the memory of an embarrassing moment. More seriously, imagine being so distraught with losing a loved one that you choose to erase the memory of them ever existing.

Mary (Kirsten Dunst): Blessed are the forgetful, for they get the better even of their blunders.

But is erasing difficult memories enabling one to make the same mistakes again? Is never meeting a true love better than enduring the loss?

It follows two main characters Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) whose difficult relationship leads them down the road of removing the memory of each other. They are polar opposite. It shows how two people can complete each other, but also how much they can clash.

Clementine: This is it, Joel. It’s going to be gone soon.
Joel: I know.
Clementine: What do we do?
Joel: Enjoy it.

I love how the story explores relationships. How sometimes the things you love about someone becomes the very reason you fall out of love with them.

Joel: [on tape recording] And the whole thing with the hair – it’s all bullshit.
Joel: I really like your hair.
Clementine: Thank you.


(Cleverly, Clementine has ever-changing hair, which helps viewers keep track of the order of the plot, which jumps between past and present.)

The actors appear to be playing the opposite of the sort of characters they’ve been typecast to play. Winslet and Carrey both nail it though.

Joel Barish

This film is thought provoking to say the least. Mind boggling too. But it’s ultimately about accepting that pain is part of growing, and loss is a part of life.

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: [pauses] Okay.

It’s sort of like Inception meets The Matrix, but that’s just because it’s the exploration of a different perspective of life.
At the end of The Matrix we all asked ourselves ‘is this world virtual?’.
At the end of Inception we all asked ourselves ‘am I in a dream?’.
At the end of Eternal Sunshine, you’ll ask yourselves ‘have I done this before?’.

You’ll be sure to pick up a few funny sayings and dwell over the small touches that you would never notice the first three times of watching this layered film.

Clementine: You’re not a stalker, or anything, right?
Joel: I’m not a stalker. YOU’RE the one that talked to me, remember?
Clementine: That is the oldest trick in the stalker book.
Joel: Really? There’s a stalker book? Great, I gotta read that one.

This is an absolutely awesome film that will have you thinking for hours. I thoroughly enjoyed it as it is a fantastic break from the monotonous love stories out there. The technology used and tricks done on set by the camera and the actors is old school, but very cool.

Eternal Sunshine

Eternal Sunshine is a film that not everybody could relate to or fully appreciate. I think it is because this is not a spoon-fed love story Fedexed from Hollywood to a cinema near you!

Jodie’s rating: 8.5/10

This trailer really makes this film very light and fluffy… Which isn’t accurate.

About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working in marketing, and writing fiction in my spare time. I love to write about movies on this blog when I can. I also do paid reviews and voiceovers via Fiverr (nzfilmfreak).
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11 Responses to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

  1. Steve says:

    Really enjoyed this review. I watches the film once, didn’t get it. I’ll hire it out again and give it another whirl. Cheers.

  2. Anastasia says:

    I think I’ll have to have a look at this again, I’m not seeing it & found it a bit, I don’t know really, I have only watched it once & as your review was so passionate, will give it another chance & let you know, great review by the way

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