Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating – Joel Barish
Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is about Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) who is devastated after learning that his ex-girlfriend Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) has erased him from her memories with help from a memory erasing firm Lacuna. In revenge, Joel decides to do the same but while undergoing the process of erasing the memories he has of Clementine, Joel decides that he can’t part with her and decides to hide her in his various memories of life, creating unexpected problems for the four workers of Lacuna.
I have been quite vocal about my dislike for comic book movies and action movies. I consider them as dangerous as potassium cyanide when it comes to movies. But romantic comedies are in reality the slow poison. See, action and comic book movies do suck, but almost in every 5 years I can point out a movie which has gave hope or redefined its genre, like The Dark Knight or the recently released Fury Road. But romantic comedies haven’t done that. They just show the same crap over and over and over and over again, knowing that they will find an audience among couples or single ladies. But there are some movies which have changed my perception thankfully from time to time like (500) Days of Summer and Up In The Air which showed that love is not just these cheesy bullshit of kissing all the time and facing innumerable cliched problems, it is some hard crap which needs a lot of many things to sustain. And now, God bestowed on me Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.
I had watched it before and had seemingly loved it, but now as I think about that, I actually hadn’t been able to comprehend its themes and messages due to my maturity level. The captivating performances of Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey and Kirsten Dunst in lingerie was enough for me. It was recently when I read an article by Oscar Relentos that an interest to watch this one again was set ablaze inside me. And watch I did, and thankful for that I was.
Jim Carrey is stellar. This is a career-defining performance by Carrey, but surprisingly this time, the feeling of anger against the Academy doesn’t get invoked in me, a feeling of pain does. That’s what this movie has left me with. A mess of my own emotions. I don’t feel anger anymore, I feel pain. The pain of losing is more than enough for an individual but the pain of that person deciding that you have inflicted upon them that much pain that they wish to cease they remember you, is excruciating. Kate Winslet shines when she has a meaty role. Be it The Reader or Titanic, or as we are discussing now Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, she shines. There is this array of emotions that are on Winslet’s face that we feel what she feels. Kate just takes it to a whole new level.
The movie is a labyrinth. We are thrown into an archive of Joel’s memories as he tries to rescue his lady love to be erased from his mind forever. Then there is another drama cooking up in reality, where the characters of Lacuna are trying to keep up with a night which will forever change the lives of many of them. There is a character who we think is just for the skin show, yep you guessed right, the character of Kirsten Dunst who is having sex with Stan (Mark Ruffalo) halfway through the night but the other half just changes it around. She turns out to be the most important character of the movie and just changes the course of the entire movie.
In Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, the emphasis is laid on the romantic version of the relationship created by Joel rather than the real relationship of Joel and Clementine. You see a relationship that is developed in a person’s subconscious rather than in the real world. And you see a hope like in real life in the dream, that this will last. And for Clementine, I think she got an insight into Joel’s life more than she got in real life. There is obviously a psychological cord existing between Joel and Clementine, which is apparent throughout the movie. There is this fear of of losing someone which is emphasized throughout the movie. And even though there are so many complex thematic elements in the movie, it never stops being witty and visually arresting.
Thank God Michel directed this. It feels like a music video. And that helps the most in this flick. The frequent use of hand held camera gives you a feeling of being there with these characters. The lights are frequently toned to give the required effects such as in that scene where Joel encounters Clementine the first time after she has erased him from her memories. When Joel discovers that she now knows nothing about him and that she has already got involved in another relationship, he is shown walking out of the door of the book store in which Clementine works and there are lights shutting all around him in the background which gives the heartbreak scene the very much required gravitas because we can only experience Joel’s emotions in that scene, not Clementine’s.
And there is that climax. In the end (you may skip this paragraph if you don’t want any type of spoilers), Joel and Clementine reunite because Joel and Clementine had struck a psychological chord midway through the movie and both had fortunately remembered their train ride to Montauk and they meet again and fall in love again. But, Mary (Kirsten Dunst) sends them both back their tapes where they had confessed their hate towards each other before undergoing the memory erasing process. After hearing them in Joel’s living room, Clementine walks out of the room. But this time, Joel stops her and says that although they might break up again because they might end up feeling the same emotions again, it is well worth to give their relationship another go and both say ‘Okay’ and laugh heartily with Beck’s Everybody Gotta Learn Sometimes playing in the background. And that’s what you call a perfect scene.
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind delves into a world of memories and eventually develops a heart warming love story in the subconscious of a person. The movie successfully advocates that love can penetrate every boundary and the amaze ball performances by it cast add a lot of depth within this movie. The movie never fails to make the audience work their brains and earn their pleasure, while continuing to visually arresting. There are two messages that I think the movie wants to convey : 1. Love and destiny can penetrate any boundary and that, 2. It is better to be loved and forget about it rather than not being loved at all. I prefer the first one.
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is a labyrinth, but it is one that I would love to get lost again and again.
Rating : 9.3 / 10
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