A MIND ERASED, A HEART RESTORED…
Possibly the most imaginative and innovative motion picture of this decade, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind” is writer Charlie Kauffman’s quirkily poetic vision of love and memories. Directed by the visual genius Michel Gondry, this movie has a surrealistic, lucid feel that one can only liken to a transient dream-like state.
A sullen Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) is devastated when he learns that following a bad break-up, his flaky and impulsive girlfriend – Clementine (Kate Winslet) has undergone a new medical procedure that has completely erased him from her memory. As a co-dependent loner & someone who so completely defines himself by living vicariously through the free-spirited Clementine, Joel borders on an existential meltdown, losing his own sense of identity in Clementine’s diminishing reminiscence.
Jilted and undone, Joel storms into LACUNA INC., the office of Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), insisting upon a vindictive reciprocation. Understanding the gravity of the situation, the doctor schedules him for the procedure immediately, and explains the mechanics of the magic eraser.
Basically, they create a map of a relationship – drawing upon visual stimulators, keywords, pictures, tokens, mementos, anything and everything that incurs an association. Once routed, the technicians obliterate the correspoding brain cells, thus erasing the memory.
A brilliant concept in itself, the movie gets even more engaging when Joel begins to understand his deep-set love for Clementine, and while sifting through his memories, realizes that he doesn’t want to lose her. This propels a tumultous journey through Joel’s memories, as he struggles to keep her intact. Hiding her in his most private, secretive and embarrassing memories, Joel tries his best to preserve the dwindling likeness of a woman he loves.
Subplots involve the Lacuna receptionist Mary (Kirsten Dunst), who’s infatuated with Dr. Mierzwiak, and technicians Stan (Mark Ruffalo) and Patrick (Elijah Wood), who work out their own love lives while erasing Joel’s memories.
Possibly one of the most romantic movie ever made, the very-human characters of Joel and Clementine demonstrate how falling ‘out of love’ can teach us just as much about ‘falling in love’. Our memories, both good & bad, are like the gossamer threads that keep the illusionary fabric of relationships together. We are, how we live. And so an unraveling of a single strand can lead to devastating loss… of heartbreak and identity.
Astounding performance by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, a truly deserving Academy Award winning screenplay by Charlie Kauffman, and the impeccably artistic direction by Michel Gondry, sets this film on a pedestal that’s in a league of its own.
Similar Movies: Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, Synecdoche New York
Directed by Michel Gondry: Human Nature, Science of Sleep, “Be Kind, Rewind”