Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American psychological-drama film by director Michel Gondry. The film uses elements of science fiction, nonlinear narration and neosurrealism to explore the nature of memory and romantic love. It opened in North America on March 19, 2004 and grossed over US$70 million worldwide.
Gondry worked on the story with writer/director Charlie Kaufman and Pierre Bismuth, a French performance artist. Together, they won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2005, alongside a nomination for Kate Winslet for Best Actress that year. The film stars Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet and features Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, Elijah Wood, Jane Adams, and David Cross.
The film became a critical and commercial success, developing a strong cult following and receiving myriad accolades, even well after its release. The film was lauded by critics as one of the best films of 2004, and, in recent lists, has been acclaimed as one of the best films of the decade.
Emotionally withdrawn Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and dysfunctional free spirit Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) strike up a relationship on a Long Island Rail Road train from Montauk. They are inexplicably drawn to each other, despite their radically different personalities.
Although they apparently do not realize it at the time, Joel and Clementine are in fact former lovers, now separated after having spent two years together. After a nasty fight, Clementine hired a New York firm – Lacuna, Inc. – to erase all memories of their relationship. (The term "lacuna" means a gap or missing part. Lacunar amnesia is a gap in one's memory about a specific event.) Upon discovering this, Joel was devastated and decided to undergo this same procedure himself, a process that takes place while he sleeps.