Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:48 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Focus Features
Release Date: 2004
Kiddie Movie: A little too involved for them.
Date Movie: Sure, it’s romantic.
Gratuitous Sex: A little.
Gratuitous Violence: Not really.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: Quite a few, but not gutbusters.
Memorable Scene: Joel and Clementine trying to hide the memory of her somewhere else in Joel’s memories.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Michael Gondry

Part of me really appreciated the clever story and great acting in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” but as I was leaving most of me was saying “What the hell was that?” Let’s start with the story.

As the movie begins, we are introduced to Joel (Jim Carrey). He wakes up, finds his car is damaged, and begins his trek to work only to decide on a whim to go to Long Island. In a diner Joel sees Clementine (Kate Winslet), and makes the comment that he falls in love with any woman who will give him time of day. Low and behold, we see Clementine and Joel on the train back to the city where they hit it off. Then the opening credits roll, and we next find Joel, ready to give Clementine a Valentine’s Day/Make-up gift (they got in a big fight). At the bookstore Clementine doesn’t seem to know who Joel is, seems to already have a boyfriend, and Joel is really confused, until he finds out that Clementine had all memory of him erased. Not to be outdone, Joel decides to visit the same clinic and have Clementine erased from his memory as well. And then the fun begins.

So he meets Dr. Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkenson), his receptionist, Mary (Kirsten Dunst), and the Doc’s technicians, Stan (Mark Ruffalo) and Patrick (Elijah Wood). Joel gets set for the procedure by bringing every memento of him and Clementine, to trigger memory responses, which our good technicians will erase when Joel is drugged to sleep. So at first Joel is alright with these memories being erased, after all, they are the crappy memories at the end of the relationship. But slowly he gets to memories of Clementine when things are good and he no longer wants to forget her, but remember the good times. The problem is that Joel’s asleep, that and the fact that we’ve got two of the most unethical technicians and a stoned receptionist not paying attention to Joel’s fighting the procedure.

This is where the fun comes, with Joel and Clementine trying to find a place to hide Clementine’s memory in an old memory not scheduled to be erased. We get a trip to one of Joel’s most embarrassing moments (it’s pretty funny), Joel as a little kid in a giant kitchen, until eventually the Doc has to be called in to finally get rid of Clementine once and for all.

Alright, the story sounds a little complicated, and it is, but if you follow along, I think you’ll have fun with this movie. The only problem I had was that from the trailers, well, it really depicted this as more of a comedy than this movie is. It’s actually more of a romantic drama, with some comedic spots put in. Don’t think Jim Carrey as funny man, think of Jim Carrey as drama man, kinda more like he was in “The Truman Show” rather than “Bruce Almighty.” And he’s great at it, playing the loser-ish Joel, then the guy in a crappy relationship, then the guy in love, then the guy trying desperately not to lose the memory of the love of his life. Kate Winslet is great too. She plays Clementine with a whimsical look most of the time, until the end of their relationship when her talking too much is the problem, mostly because she’s not really asking how they can get their relationship back to its blissful period. You hate her, but then you really like her, and then everything comes together at the ending.

So, is the movie good? Well, I’m classifying “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” as an artsy romantic drama with some comedic elements to lighten the mood. Visually impressive with a creative story, Charlie Kaufman writes an entertaining look at if we really want bad memories erased. This is also the first movie that comes close to showing a person inside a dream, sometimes able to control the actions in the dream, then losing control, then controlling it again. It’s a weird experience when you’re dreaming, then realizing you’re in a dream and can control what’s going on (sometimes I’m able to do that), and the filmmakers have really brought this to light. And if they’re looking for any more wacky stories in a dream state, I can give them tons, like the butterman incident or the magic stones that turn into a staircase at the bowling alley. I’m sorry, I digress, back to the movie.

Anyway, if you like a more artsy movie, “Eternal Sunshine…” is as good as any. If you’re looking for an all-out comedy, keep looking and stay away. So I guess, in the end, even saying “What the hell was that?”, that I did like this movie. The acting was great, you get to see Kirsten Dunst in panties and an almost see-through top, and the story is kinda wacky. It’s just not the story I expected from the trailers. 4 stars out of 5 for this one, but remember, this isn’t an all-out laugh fest.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!