Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Review


Originally posted 2016-01-16 17:00:34.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Grade: A

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” takes us on a journey through the recesses of love, only to leave us more optimistic than ever on our way out.Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

After learning that his girlfriend, Clementine(Kate Winslet), has had Joel(Jim Carrey) erased from her memory after a painful breakup, Joel begins the same procedure, only to regret it midway through the process. We follow Joel through his best and worst memories as he fights to keep Clementine safe from deletion.

A departure from his typical funny-man role, Jim Carrey shows the full range of his acting spectrum as he navigates from rage, depression, longing, and into the depths of love. Winslet’s Clementine matches Carrey’s performance as the chemistry between the two actors make their relationship unique, and yet broad enough to be relatable by every couple in the theater.

Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay is brilliantly executed; living out each stage of their relationship one memory at a time, in reverse. We the see the decay of the relationship, followed by the blossom, each memory more cherished than the last. While it’s not an effect driven film, the visuals are well implemented as memories become blurry, fade to black, or are quickly pulled away into oblivion.

Themes are on the surface and hidden. For instance, “Better to have loved and lost than not loved at all” is obvious, but go deeper and see that it’s not our memories that define us. Basic human tendencies keep us the same person, and as hard as we try to avoid it, we always fall in love with the same people, or person.

A love story, but deep enough to stave sappy love story tropes. No gushy monologues or over-the-top gestures, it’s a real love story and not one designed by romantic comedy screenwriters.

“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”

 

Andy Knauff