Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind , Dir. Michel Gondry

Focus Features

Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood

Reviewed by Jehoshaphat

This film, by music video veteran Gondry, is about a couple who both seek to have all their memories of each other removed after a painful break-up. It introduces a technique of neurological intervention that could, in theory, achieve memory erasures of this sort—albeit to much more limited degree—and provides basic pop-psych explanations for how this works. The story focuses on Carey's character, who wages a sub-conscious battle to resist the treatment he has consented to because he realises his love for Winslet's character, and opts to fight for their relationship after all.

This reasonably enjoyable and clever film handles the rather fun psychological ramifications in a poignant, humorous and sometimes heartrending way, and is sensitive to the themes of love whilst leaving the audience to go off on their own emotional exploration. Carey’s exploration of his character’s memory is quirky, visual and sometimes predictable (which is perhaps unsurprising given Gondry’s music video direction experience). Carey’s own comedic movements, which we have grown used to after Ace Ventura, Mask etc, do not however really fit either the process of memory exploration, or his character’s quiet and often unassuming nature.

Carey and Winslet both provide very good performances and portray intriguing and realistic characters. They are, however, very static and I felt that there was very little chemistry between the two, who are after all supposed to be lovers. Whilst I admit that this is because I felt that they were not a good match, there was just something missing from how their relationship was portrayed—this may be an issue of directorial experience.

The other characters are interesting. They all poses a very two-dimensional quality, which is deliberate, I think, and as Dunst's character wrestles with the academic masturbation that memory erasure proposes, her reactions give her a sharply three-dimensional quality that is both stark and convenient for the plot.

I want to love this film, but I have to say only that it is likeable and worth a watch. There is definitely something that everyone can relate to in this film. I recommend that you watch for love appreciation and mind fuck value.

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