What did you think of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?


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It was pretty good, but I thought it was really odd, how it dives onto weird sci-fi territory.


Mainly their is a machine that is capable of erasing memories, but I felt this was weird cause the movie is suppose to take place in the real world in modern times and it's very hard to believe that not only could such a machine be invented, but that the government would actually pass licensing laws, allowing a doctor to use it in his clinic.

And I thought to myself, why didn't the writers just write the doctor to be a hypnotherapist instead? That way he can use hypnosis to erase the character's memories, and it becomes much more plausible. It seemed like such an easy fix, but maybe I am wrong?

What did you think of it?

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Chalk it up to conservation of narrative and suspension of disbelief - the legality is ultimately irrelevant to the film at large so it's never addressed. One possible explanation is that the invention is relatively new, as evidenced by the business itself being a small one with one boss and three employees that doesn't have too many customers. It's possible that the government either hasn't heard of it or has but considers it a hoax since it sounds so unbelievable. It's possible that they would've shut it down eventually, but since the business seems to implode before that point, it doesn't matter.

As for the hypnotherapist angle - in short, then there would be no movie. This is science fiction, after all - we're already talking about erasing memories so one method of doing that being more "plausible" than another is, again, irrelevant. Besides, having it be a machine makes narrative sense and the fact that it seems like an "easy fix" is kind of the point - the characters are supposed to realise that the easy fix is not the right answer so they ultimately resist it.
Iro is to reviews as Kubrick is to films.

I had no problem with the memory erasing machine. Its within the realm of possibility and its treated in such a casual way that I never really thought about how "unbelievable" it all was. My problem was with accepting the relationship between the two main characters. Because it seemed so unlikely it was hard for me to accept it as the pillar of the story. And I was kind of dubious the whole time they were together. Like I was watching some day dream he was having about a girl he knew he could never get with.

And then when memories start becoming a feature of the film it got terribly confusing for me. What was real. What was true. what was going on. I needed to really get to the very end to get all the pieces and then I had to piece it back together and in the course of doing that I missed a lot of the emotional significance of many of the scenes. Also, Im still not sure of the central message of the film. Is it in fact that love is deeper than memory or is it more a statement about the inevitable corruption of trying to use artificial means to free ourselves of emotional discomfort? Perhaps the latter was just a plot device to emphasize the former?
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28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
This was from 3 years ago.

@Iroquois pretty much summed up my thoughts here, it is sci/fi after all.
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Suspect's Reviews

Movies don't need to be believable: they just need to make sense within their own internal logic. The initial premise can and should be taken as a given unless it's implications are completely glossed over in ways that would totally preclude it. But skipping over boring things like "how would they regulate the technology" is just fine provided it's clear from the beginning that the movie isn't about that.

If a movie tells me "magic exists in this world," I accept that so that the story will be possible. It's only a problem if they start off telling a story without magic and then use magic to solve a narrative problem without any indication it was available as a solution.

I think using hypnotherapy might be less believable, because it already exists and we know it doesn't work with the kind of reliability or precision (relatively speaking) as what's depicted in the film. But since the technology is new, whether it can "work" is at least not disproven. The fact that we don't really understand it, then, is not a flaw, but a necessity.

It also lends a more fantastic quality that, I think, dovetails better with the more satirical and metaphorical aspects of the story.

Indeed Yoda, I think the film quiet deliberately presents the technology as being somewhat outlandish inline with its general tone. Beyond obviously being a device for the story to be told in the fashion it is I would say if a point is being made its not about the specific dangers of such technology but of the importance of painful memories.

As well being smart/amusing I'd say a clear strength of the film was that unlike a lot of tragic romances it did actually reel like the natural outcome of the characters rather than the plot throwing them around. Seems rather Satre like to me basically people looking to shift someone else more to there own view of them rather than accepting them for whothey are. As for a wider message perhaps a comment on the value of romance even if its impermanent?