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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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There is a certain fear, I think, that is instilled in every human being: the fear of being forgotten by one or many. Whenever I watch a movie with an actor I do not know, I ask my parents, “Whatever happened to that actor?” They reply, “I don’t know, it’s like they dropped off the face of the earth.”
What Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the latest creation by Academy Award winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman & director Michael Gondry, succeeds in doing is tapping into that hidden fear inside all of us and bringing it to our attention.
The story opens with Joel (Jim Carrey) deciding that instead of taking the train to work, he is going to take another train that goes in the opposite direction. On that train, he meets Clementine (Kate Winslet), a feisty rebellious girl with blue hair who insists that her and Joel have met before. We learn later that they have and that the two of them were in love. But, Clem underwent a procedure which had all of her memories of Joel erased from her brain. Joel finds this out by accident and, out of impulse, decides he wants the same procedure.
While the brain engineers (Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, and Elijah Wood) work on erasing his memories, Joel is thrust into a slideshow of the past and ultimately realizes that he loves Clem too much to have her completely out of his mind.
Eternal Sunshine is a brilliantly concocted experiment in film making: the plot shifts in and out o memories, both past and present, it mixes different genres such as science fiction, surrealism, and romantic comedy, and is, in the end, devastating.
Anyone who has ever loved or been in love would find Eternal Sunshine devastating and, perhaps at times, painful. I like to recommend this to teenagers to watch because I think it resonates more with us that with adults. The rawness of Joel & Clem’s relationship echoes teen love, it is naive, often times they don’t know what they want in and from their relationship, and all they know is that they want to be together. Kate Winslet’s portrayal of Clem is one that is almost teen-like; she is frisky, restless, and never fully satisfied with herself. Joel can be seen as the teenage boy, quiet, wants the best for Clem, though is always a little too honest.
Long after the credits roll and the screen goes black, this film will stick in the minds of all who watch it and you won’t be able to shake it off for days. The greatest irony behind the film is that it is about erasing memories…though however hard you try, you can’t seem to get the film out of your head. (JC)





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