The old saying, “Less is more”, has never rang more true than in the 2004 dramatic movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, directed by Michel Gondry. The film stars Jim Carrey as Joel Barish and Kate Winslet as Clementine Kruczynski. The basic setting of the film takes place both in the real world as well as inside the mind of Joel Barish.
Written by the same man who wrote the 1999 film, Being John Malkovich, Charlie Kaufman once again takes us inside the head of the lead character. This time out, the film is about a couple, Joel Barish (played by Jim Carrey), and Clementine Kruczynski (played by Kate Winslet). As their relationship turns sour and they split apart, Clementine has a procedure done where you can have your memories of your ex erased. Joel finds out about it and wants to have the exact same procedure done. However, as his memories are being erased, he discovers how he really feels about Clementine and wants to stop the procedure so that his memories will stay. This causes the inner Joel to fight the procedure by trying to escape before the memories get erased permanently. As they say, “Less is more”, which, in this case, never rang more true as the less memories Joel has of Clementine, the more he realizes how much he loved her and how much she truly meant to him. Sometimes you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder.
One aspect of this film which truly makes it a gem is the editing. An example of the editing would be when we are inside of Joel’s head as he and Clementine are together in the airport. She is about to leave but he grabs her and they run off together. One by one, people start disappearing as that signifies Joel’s memory fading away. Another example of the editing would be when they are running through the neighborhood and the fence starts disappearing as Joel is running away with Clementine so that she doesn’t disappear from his memories.
The other aspect of this film which truly makes it unique would be the set design. One trick they use when making movies is called optical illusions. Optical illusions can make something small look big, or big look small depending on the way it is shot. In one scene, Joel is hiding under the table from his mother. Obviously Jim Carrey is too big to fit under the table. In order to make the scene work, they had to make it where the table was higher on one end and lower on the other in order to create the illusion.
I truly enjoyed this film. I especially enjoyed seeing Jim Carrey in a different light as this film proves that Jim Carrey can be a serious actor. This film goes to show that, while you can erase the memories of your relationship, you can never erase your true feelings. I recommend this film for film classes, psychology classes, and for those in a relationship as it truly is a great love story.