Top 100 Films: 82. Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind (2004)

French visionary, Michel Gondry best known for his music videos pairs with surrealist writer, Charlie Kaufman, to create a serene and fractured display of the mind and memories. 

The film stars Jim Carrey as Joel Barish and Kate Winslet as Clementine. They were together for over 2 years and after their breakup, Clementine decides to try a new procedure that forgets all the memories about Joel. A way to completely forget about him. When Joel finds out about this, he attempts to do the same procedure to forget about Clementine. The film mostly portrays the mind of Joel and the memories he is trying to forget about Clementine.

This film is beautiful, not some grand visual masterpiece but a gentle serendipitous treat that likens a quiet walk in the rain. The film asks the viewer that if they had a relationship that meant a lot to them and at the break up, would they wipe all memory of it just to escape the pain. It is a question that may seem simple but once you remember the good times and bad, it becomes important to a person’s character and demeanor to remember where they went right and where they went wrong.

Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind portrays perfectly the frailty of the mind when it comes to relationships. The visuals reflect the extreme reactions we have to these memories. The beach scene is fantastically shot. The scene is cold and distant but somehow at the same time close and intruding. The house on the beach is such a pristine image but  blue hues of the scene creates a cold and fractured representation of the moment.

Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet both play their roles perfectly, they have a silent subtlety that fits perfectly with the film. The film panders and strolls through the memories of Joel Barish and Winslet’s and Carrey’s portrayals of their characters reflect this, never going over the top. Even when both characters start to forget the memories of their relationship there seems to be a hidden pain within the actors. This is true on Carrey’s part as he had just come out of a relationship break up. Both of these actors put in a performance that could easily break into the list of the greatest performance of the 2000’s.

  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a perfect visual representation of the broken mind and the broken heart. It is not extrovertly extreme but inside there is so much pain that it is numb. The tone of the film and the hidden beauty and pain of the visuals and actors encapsulates how humans reacts to heartache. We do not scream in pain we just live and deal with it. The subtle fractures and the silent pain creates a serene experience that is complimented by the soundtrack and the visuals. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is romantic, full of horror, gentle, painful but overall a bask of silent tranquility.

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