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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Still of Elijah Wood in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindStill of Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindStill of Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo and Tom Wilkinson in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindStill of Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindStill of Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindStill of Kate Winslet, Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Plot
A couple undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour, but it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 8.5/10 (305,704 voted)

Critic's Score: 89/100

Director: Michel Gondry

Stars: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson

Storyline
A man, Joel Barish, heartbroken that his girlfriend Clementine underwent a procedure to erase him from her memory, decides to do the same. However, as he watches his memories of her fade away, he realizes that he still loves her, and may be too late to correct his mistake.

Writers: Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry

Cast:
Jim Carrey - Joel Barish
Kate Winslet - Clementine Kruczynski
Gerry Robert Byrne - Train Conductor
Elijah Wood - Patrick
Thomas Jay Ryan - Frank
Mark Ruffalo - Stan
Jane Adams - Carrie
David Cross - Rob
Kirsten Dunst - Mary
Tom Wilkinson - Dr. Mierzwiak
Ryan Whitney - Young Joel
Debbon Ayer - Joel's Mother
Amir Ali Said - Young Bully
Brian Price - Young Bully
Paulie Litt - Young Bully (as Paul Litowski)

Taglines: Replace My Memory



Details

Official Website: Focus Features | Official site [Germany] |

Release Date: 19 March 2004

Filming Locations: 123 Valentine Lane, Yonkers, New York, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $8,175,198 (USA) (21 March 2004) (1353 Screens)

Gross: $34,126,138 (USA) (20 June 2004)



Technical Specs

Runtime:



Did You Know?

Trivia:
To help promote the movie, a fully functional website was created for Lacuna (http://www.lacunainc.com) purporting to provide memory erasure. The only giveaway is the link to watch Joel Barish "experience the procedure", which links to the movie's official site.

Goofs:
Continuity: In the scene where Mary first comes into Joel's apartment, Patrick and Stan had been drinking beer. At first, just before the door is opened, they are both Rolling Rock (green bottles). After she has entered, Stan's beer turns into a Labatt Blue (brown bottle).

Quotes:
[first lines]
Joel: [voice over] random thoughts for Valentine's day, 2004. Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.



User Review

Meet me in Montauk...

Rating: 10/10

How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd. -- Alexander Pope

==> I confess to being an idealist and a romantic. This type of film appeals to people like me... the ones who believe in love at first sight, soul mates, destiny, yada yada yada. The Charlie Kaufman penned 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' is as fresh and original as some of his other screenplays (Being John Malkovich, Human Nature, Adaptation), but adds a romantic depth that makes this one of the most complete film going experiences I have ever had.

There was an exchange during the film between our two leads, Joel and Clementine, played with poignancy and nuance by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, that echoed what I was feeling about the film.

Clementine: This is it Joel. It's going to be gone soon.

Joel: I know.

Clementine: What do we do?

Joel: Enjoy it.

Luckily for me, I knew I was going to be able to revisit the film many times in my life. The depth of the film manifests itself in the fact that the soul mates, Joel and Clem, both know that their time is running out and that they will never be able to meet again.

Most films might choose to highlight this type of heartbreak with the death of a loved one or a bittersweet farewell at a train station. But not Charlie Kaufman. He is bored by clichés. Rather, he chooses to dazzle us with the complexities of the human mind and all of its glorious possibilities. He is a master storyteller that is unlike any other I am aware of.

Joel (Carrey) is socially inept. He has had girlfriends, but none that really meant anything. It is as if he has never had a significant relationship of any kind. But, one day, he meets Clementine. "Don't make any jokes about my name", she warns him. She is wild and kooky, changing her hair color from red to orange to blue to green depending on her current mood. She seems the polar opposite of Joel, but they click. They click in ways even they can't pinpoint. But from the moment they meet, they know there is something special there.

However, after a silly argument breaks up their relationship, Clementine decides to visit Lacuna Inc., a company that specializes in wiping troubling memories away forever. She has decided to erase the memory of Joel. When Joel hears this from some friends, he angrily decides to do the same to Clementine, erasing her completely from his mind.

The erasing process involves a mapping of the memories and an all night process of erasure that is "technically brain damage", according to the doctor. The bulk of the film takes place during the process, inside Joel's mind. The most recent memories are first to go and we watch as they slowly disappear into nothingness. Those recent memories are bitter as we witness the arguments and the boredom of their relationship. But as the time rewinds, the memories get better. We travel backwards and watch Joel and Clem during their best moments, loving life and loving each other. As this happens, Joel desperately regrets his decision. He wants the inevitable erasure to stop, but he is completely powerless. Soon she will be gone and he won't even remember that he forgot her. The film focuses on his attempts to foil the process and retain some of her in the recesses of his mind.

'Eternal Sunshine' is directed by Michel Gondry who also helmed 'Human Nature'. He has a flare that accompanies Kaufman's words with perfect symmetry. This film bounces around on its timeline almost hysterically, but the director never lets us get lost. We always feel in control of our senses and our emotions. It is a tribute to Carrey and Winslet that they were able to do the same.

Jim Carrey has pulled off a rather remarkable transformation that I would have deemed impossible a decade ago. He is becoming a brilliant actor with qualities that resemble Jimmy Stewart and Tom Hanks. He is a fabulous everyman who is sympathetic and knowing, interesting and kind. He deserves tremendous praise for this role. Kate Winslet is consistently brilliant in every film. She is easily one of the very best actresses we have. Here she plays against type, and embodies a fascinating woman who craves attention but needs intimacy. Hers is a beautiful performance that will go overlooked. It is easy to understand why Joel falls in love with Clementine.

I think fans of Charlie Kaufman will be thrilled with this brilliant entry in to his collection. I think the film will appeal to those who loved the recent masterpiece 'Lost in Translation' or Tom Tykwer's recent beauty, 'Heaven'. It is a romantic fantasy with real emotions and real characters that will resonate with the viewer who isn't entirely closed to sentiment. When Clementine whispers "Meet me in Montauk" into Joel's ear... it's hard to hold back a tear.

This will easily be one of the best films of 2004. It is the antithesis of the typical romantic Hollywood fare. I loved every minute of its refreshing originality. The film has passion and flare and brilliant wit, all framed by an intelligent script that deals in absurdity while managing to maintain an intimate realism. These characters feel real. You root for them. You want them to meet again and give it another chance. It is a film that will only get better over time, as our memory of it waxes and wanes its way into our hearts.

TC CANDLER




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