Title: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Release Date: March 19, 2004
Director: Michel Gondry
Production Company: Anonymous Content | This is That
The premise of this film is made clear in the trailer: After ending their troubled relationship, Clementine (Kate Winslet) uses a service provided by a company called Lacuna to erase all memories she has of her ex-boyfriend Joel (Jim Carrey). When Joel discovers what she’s done, he decides to erase her from his memory as well. The brilliance of the movie is that knowing this does not spoil the movie, and in fact the opening scenes defy the moviegoer’s expectations. In fact, the movie plays with chronology to support the central idea of memory being lost. It all works in visually presenting a metaphor of how the mind works while Joel’s experience makes him realize that memories, even the bad ones, are what defines him.
Carrey and Winslet are great in their roles and their performance captures both the little things that are great about a romantic relationship as well as the little irritants that can build up and cause a relationship to fail. The typically manic Carrey is reserved, even introverted as Joel, but even as the film’s straight man his comic instincts are well served, especially when he has to play his character as a child.
The supporting cast is mainly the crew of Lacuna who turn out to be a messed-up and unprofessional bunch. Stan Fink (Mark Ruffalo) is the technician assigned to erasing Joel’s memory who uses the time to invite his girlfriend and Lacuna receptionist Mary (Kirsten Dunst) over for marijuana and sex. Mary meanwhile has a crush on Lacuna’s director Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson) who has skeletons in his own closet. And Patrick (Elijah Wood) is the creepiest of all, using knowledge gained from the procedure to pursue women.
This is an excellent movie and I’m glad I revisited it after many years. Bonus points for having significant scenes set on the frozen Charles River.