innocent_man: (lsd)
[personal profile] innocent_man
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a bit of a mindfucky movie starring Jim Carrey (in, IMO, his best performance to date), Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson, Kirsten Dunst, Mark "the Hulk" Ruffalo and Elijah Wood. Hell of a cast, yeah?

The movie opens with Joel (Carry) waking up, confused, and deciding to knock off work and go to the beach...in February. There, he meets Clementine (Winslet), a beautiful but rather eccentric woman. They hit it off, and then have a second date the next day...but things seem a little off. Why is Joel's car damaged? Why does a young man (Wood) stop by Joel's car and ask what he's doing there?

We soon learn that both Clementine and Joel have actually had a year-long relationship that ended badly (she drinks, she's a little crazy, he's too reserved for her). When it did, Clementine went to Lacuna and had Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Wilkinson) erase all of her memories of Joel. Joel, infuriated, has the same procedure done, and it's about then that we figure out that all of this is happening as Joel's memory is being erased.

There are complications - Patrick (Wood) is using what he knows about Joel to seduce Clementine and is her new boyfriend, but the familiarity of it all is fucking with her. Mary (Dunst) is in love with Howard but dating Stan (Ruffalo) another technician, but it turns out she's had her memories of Howard erased. And while the erasure of Clementine from Joel is happening, he decides that, no, he wants to keep his memories and tries to hide his memory-Clementine in his subconscious.

It doesn't work, but before the memory vanishes, she whispers, "Meet me in Montauk." The next day, as Mary quits her job at Lacuna and (apparently) hand-delivers the files of all of Lacuna's clients, Joel wakes up, confused, knocks off work, and heads to Montauk...and we're back where we started.

The movie is brilliant. Script, acting, cinematography, all amazing. It's almost tragic, because Clementine and Joel don't seem to learn - even after they discover that they've had a full relationship, it ended horribly, but they decide to try again. Hopeful, or are they both idiots? It's hard to say. The movie is poetic, bittersweet, and sad, but it's really beautiful. I've been in relationships with people like Clementine, and I don't miss it...but I do know what it's like to love someone enough to do stupid things to stay with them.

My grade: A
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: European Vacation

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January 2013

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