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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Directed by: Michel Gondry
Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate WInslet, Kristen Dunt, Mark Ruffalo

Yep, the film falls apart.
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind is the highlight imagery of Being John Malkovich, when subtracting dark humor and bizarre, surreal nuance that made it so special, then adding a blanket of banal low pressure over it. I'm definitely on the minority, but I am still sure that the film is one of the most overrated films to ever exist. Even though I take Imdb with a grain of salt, I still find the rating to be ridiculous. As of today and probably 10 years ago it triumphs over thousands of masterpieces with its whopping 8.4 score. Theoretically, it clearly means something about is so brilliant and original. That's partially true, but most of the film cannot support it.

The first few scenes, like all films do, set the mood for the rest of the ride. It starts off with Joel Barish (Jim Carrey), a lonely, quiet semi-wanderer who narrates his recent trials and tribulations with quite possibly one of the most...boring...and...uninteresting...narration voices¡¦ever. Often there's a four-dot break instead of three between interesting dialogs, but for the sake of a minimally entertaining review, I didn't include them. Then we get a few bleak shots of the Long Island Rail Road train station, as Joel tries to make an escape from work.

Immediately, a huge problem can be recognized. In a much better film, we would be introduced to our lead character using a conversation, creative locations/situations, anything distinctly different from the norm, so it makes him or her one of a kind, and instantly recognizable. Here, what makes Joel Barish, Joel Barish, is a train station, a train ride, and an inner teenager who always tries to get out of his written path, sort of like a train derailing. He is no Travis Bickle in any sense, who has a clear reason for his misanthropy and rides his Taxi like a slowly moving vessel of doom, cautiously viewing the streets of New York. Jim Carrey's character is unclear and rides his train, instead of a taxi, in such an appallingly un-inspiring way.

Luckily, Clementine (Kate Winslet), meets Joel and falls in love with him because she is attracted by his personality opposite from hers, sort of like how yin and yang go together well. Clementine is different from Joel, which is great. She's lively, energetic, and adventurous, always venturing out. Kate Winslet acts her character masterfully and blows in the charm needed. I am not a fan of Winslet, but in this film she is a true wonder here, and I regard her performance in the film as one of her best. The two end up, as a result of Clementine's reckless nature, staring at the stars while lying on thin ice. Joel is now no longer alone and Clementine no longer need to keep her thoughts to herself. Happily ever after seems like a sealed fate.

Then disaster strikes, as the film shifts to two years later. They are longer together and as a result, Joel is constantly receiving extreme stress. It's described by Charlie Kaufman¡¯s script, by a crumbling supermarket, shifting rooms, and hallucinations, a result of a non-linear story-line, and the memory erasing thingamajig (I'll get to all this later). Joel is shocked when he finds out when he finds out Clementine has erased her memory about him. He decides to do the same. He hands over all items related to her to a group of memory erasing experts, and then embarks on his mind-bending journey.

Most of the film from now on takes place in Joel's slowly fading memories, and trying to find fight against the thingamajig when suddenly receiving the urge to start again with Clementine. Like I said above, the film is told in a non-linear sequence, so memories and reality come and go, fading and appearing, as you try to figure out where the characters are, what they're doing in the midst of chaos, then ultimately not caring.

Because, why use a bunch of disintegrating structures and blurry, claustrophobic memory scramble on a plot that can be boiled down to "Baby, please don't go"?A couple of scenes involving a memory version of Joel and Clementine trying to hide from the thingamajig are hilarious and daring, but the rest of the genius mind of Kaufman is wasted on the two running, and running, and running, then punctuated by three of four flashbacks, then back to running away. It is indeed an awe and pleasure to watch, however they're not nutritious at all, they have a good exterior but fall apart like one of Joel's memories on the inside. I didn't t care much, other than wondering if Winslet will show her crotch again.

Speaking of not caring, another part of the story is focused on a team of thingamajig operators. The best part of it is seeing Mark Ruffalo before he became famous. Yes, that's the best part. Hope is shattered when you realize you'd rather watch Joel and Clementine run than listen to the personal clique talk about each other's trials and tribulations, while not caring about the movie-goers (start to see a repeating similarity?). They do a lot of stuff, at least including Elijah Wood secretly dating with Clementine, taking advantage of the memory wiping, which does help build Joel's and Clementine's character and propel the plot, a rarity in the entire 108 minutes. The rest of their activity, other than that, is desperately trying to support the 108 minutes and end up being unsatisfactory, common in the entire 108 minutes.

The title of film is part of a poem, a metaphor meaning that one can enjoy happiness and ongoing peace once the negative experiences are erased.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is certainly not forgetful movie- that's why such meager amounts of joy derive from the film to your brain. It is an overall gloomy and overly-dramatic science fiction drama despite the chemistry between Carrey and Winslet. Being John Malkovich worked because it used its potential to the maximum and had fun using it, lots and lots of fun using it.

Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind is a good film, but it restrains itself so the drama factor can effectively kick in. Half of the time that works, half of the time it doesn't. And the half of the time it doesn't is when the free-flowing, wild fun is needed the most.