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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

A comedic romance film written by Charlie Kaufman, directed by Michel Gonfry, and starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.

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The Fragile Tenacity of Memory...and Love

  • Oct 24, 2004
Rating:
+5
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is one of those movies that's one can't say enough about, but it's also so very easy to say too much. What I say about likely won't capture what makes it so utterly charming and inescapably honest.

There's the standard stuff -- the performances, for example, are uniformly excellent. Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey deliver what may well be the finest performances in their careers for this film, and Kirsten Dunst, Tom Wilkinson, Elijah Wood, and Mark Ruffalo also show up with some wonderful acting. The visual effects are sharply original and incredibly well-executed, so that they add to the film's story rather than serving as a distraction from it. The script is top-notch, conveying a rare complexity and a clear message through a unique story that nevers fails to captivate.

If I say that this is now one of my favorite films, will that mean anything to you? It is one of my new favorites -- frankly, it's one of the best new movies I've seen in a long time, and it's a movie I know I'll be thinking about for a long time to come, and which I'll see many times again. I already know this, because it's captured my spirit and my imagination in a way that only a few movies have. "Fearless" was (and is) one such film, "Leon" is another. These are among my favorite movies, and now "Eternal Sunshine" is too.

The concept of the film is deceptively simple, a straightforward "what-if" story: what if painful memories could be just plucked out of our head? How would that affect our lives? How would it affect our selves? To explore this concept, "Eternal Sunshine" looks at the lives of two lovers who were once happy, but had a painful breakup. The film takes us through the process of one of these characters, Joel, as his memories of Clementine are removed from his mind.

The way this movie expresses memory is what makes it so magical. The fractured, interconnected, tenacious nature of our most treasured memories is examined closely here, with an honesty that is refreshingly rare. The complex way Joel's memories intermingle (like his childhood memory of Huckleberry Hound and his adult memory of Clementine's name) is expressed with such clarity, such honesty... here's the part where it would be easy to say too much and ruin it all. Suffice it to say that this is a film which understands how we cling to our memories, how our memories cling to the heart, and how the heart yearns for that which is lost.

Have I said anything to convince you? I don't know... I'm still a bit swept up in the movie myself, and that's all I'm really trying to say here. The acting, the writing, the direction, the music -- all were excellent in "Eternal Sunshine." But what I really want to get across is that here, here at last is a film which might just capture your imagination the way it has mine, which might just set your heart beating and your mind racing and your soul reaching out for an unnamable something, a something which we rarely see but can all understand. Love, memory, loneliness, pain, and hope. It's all here, in a form so pure that it almost overwhelms.

If these things mean something to you, as they do to me... if they're important to you, then I'd say this is a movie you might just come to love. I already have.

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More Eternal Sunshine of the Spotle... reviews
review by . September 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     We remember a lot of good things in life; that, as I believe, is given. We remember because we want to, and because these are the moments that ultimately save us in times of doubt or depression. I have embraced the times; no matter how hard they may be. I've enjoyed myself plenty and am content, but those not-so-good memories will linger forevermore. They cannot be avoided; they can be forgotten, easily through healing and otherwise with at least a little …
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Dispite the craze of hipster kids who love this movie. It is still one of the greatest written films ever. Jim Carrey is amazing.
review by . May 13, 2008
Movie Poster
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind explores the impact on life and love if we could decide to erase our physically and emotionally traumautic memories.  Specifically, the movie follows the relationship of Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) in the context of the availability and use of this memory erasing technology.    I don't want to spoil this brilliant movie, so I'm intentionally trying to stay light on the details.   I always use this movie …
review by . December 31, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
DVD cover (front)
From the brilliantly eccentric minds of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation) and visionary director Michel Gondry comes Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a romantic comedy that's unlike any other. The film's screenplay, which deals with familiar themes of reconciliation and redemption, is constantly surprising in the direction that it chooses to go. Kaufman and Gondry, who are themselves rather unconventional, avoid the clichés of both the comedy and romance genres.  The film's …
review by . October 18, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
The title of this film is taken from a poem written by Alexander Pope entitled "Eloisa to Abelard". Pope based his poem upon the lives of two real people who were involved in an illicit affair. The poem is written from Eloisa's point of view and illustrates the conflict the woman has between her deep love for Abelard and her devotion to God. The movie takes it's name from the lines, "How happy is the blameless Vestal's lot!/The world forgetting, by the world forgot./ Eternal sunshine of the spotless …
review by . July 03, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Eternal sunshine is a clever movie that explores the concept of memory being erased to remove unpleasant memories. The setting is a dreary, blighted area of Long Island NY and the beaches of Montauk, where the disrupted romance of the Jim Carrey & Kate Winslet characters begins. The story shifts back and forth in time as well as in and out of the mind of the Carrey character. The supporting cast includes Elijah Wood and Kirsten Dunst, with each supporting character playing an important role in the …
review by . June 27, 2004
Pros: Acting, directing, plot-line.     Cons: Some rough patches in the script.     The Bottom Line: A thinking person movie to be sure…     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. You never know what to expect from comedian, turned comedic actor, turned dramatic actor, Jim Carry (Peggy Sue Got Married - 1986, The Mask – 1994, The Truman Show – 1998, Bruce Almighty – 2003), or where the very …
review by . April 15, 2004
Pros: Carrey, Wilkinson, Ruffalo, Dunst, Wood, funny, thought-provoking, visually dazzling     Cons: Winslet (at times), plot holes     The Bottom Line: This is the last time I'll forget you / I wish I could... This review is rambling, but so is the film.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. When my cousin was a baby, he tried to pick up a football that had been sitting in the sun all day and burned …
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Rich Stoehr ()
Ranked #10
I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … more
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The title is taken from the poem “Eloisa to Abelard” by Alexander Pope.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Theatrical release poster Directed by Michel Gondry Produced by Anthony Bregman
Steve Golin Written by Screenplay:
Charlie Kaufman
Story:
Michel Gondry
Pierre Bismuth
Charlie Kaufman Starring Jim Carrey
Kate Winslet
Kirsten Dunst
Mark Ruffalo
Elijah Wood
Tom Wilkinson
Jane Adams
David Cross
Thomas Jay Ryan Music by Jon Brion Cinematography Ellen Kuras Editing by Valdís Óskarsdóttir Distributed by Focus Features Release date(s) March 19, 2004 Running time 108 minutes Country United States Language English Budget $20 million Gross revenue $72.2 million

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.[1] It opened in North America on March 19, 2004 and grossed over US$70 million worldwide.[2]

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 title is taken from the poem Eloisa to Abelard by ...

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Details

Director: Michel Gondry
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: March 19, 2004
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Charlie Kaufman
Runtime: 1hr 48min
Studio: Universal Studios, Focus Features
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