"One of the most mentally challenging and rewarding romances ever made."
Ever desperately wanted erase the memories of someone or something that you are unable to shake from your head? Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, directed by Michael Gondry and scripted by Charlie Kaufman, explores some of the outcomes if one was able to eliminate memories of their choice.Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) is a reserved and shy (yes, that’s right – Jim Carrey, reserved and shy) middle class man who one day decides that he is going to skip work and take a trip by train to Montauk Beach on a bitterly cold winter’s day. During this out-of-character excursion, Joel meets the intriguing blue-haired Clementine (Kate Winslet) who is a very energetic and talkative free spirit of a woman. Despite their very different personalities, they end up falling head over heels in love with each other. Their relationship blossoms, but somewhere along the line it shows signs of falling apart. Then one day Joel turns up at Clementine’s workplace after an argument the night before and she is in complete denial that she even knows who he is. Utterly bemused, Joel soon discovers that Clementine had recently visited Lacuna Inc, a company who offer a memory deleting service, to have any trace of Joel removed from her mind. In order to eliminate the grief of losing Clementine, Joel decides to book himself in to have the same procedure carried out. Normally a relatively simple procedure, but it gets complicated when Joel’s subconscious puts up a fight to keep his mental memoirs of Clementine where they are. Going any further into the plot would be an injustice to the movie and anyone interested in seeing it – but let’s just say that it is a mental cat and mouse chase through the labyrinth of Joel’s mind.
Gondry successfully uses grainy hand held filming with a combination of low and high tech special effects in order to create a dreamlike and somewhat claustrophobic world inside Joel’s head. The script is intelligent, witty and carries strong messages about how our memories and experiences, whether we like them or not, make us who we are. Jim Carrey once again shows that he can really act and is miles away from his trademark rubbery face and slapstick antics here. Winslet is also fantastic, as are the supporting cast who make up the employees of Lacuna Inc (Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood and Tom Wilkinson).
Kaufman seems to enjoy probing into the minds of his characters. He has taken audiences inside the brain of John Malkovich, into his own headspace for Adaptation and with his latest screenplay he delves within the psyche of a man desperate to hold onto love. It is rare for a screenwriter to receive as much attention as Kaufman does but in his case it is well deserved.Script after script it seems he can do no wrong and with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind he has come up with the most warped, mentally challenging and rewarding romances ever made.