"Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!/Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd... Desires compos'd, affections ever ev'n,/Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heav'n." The original Alexander Pope poem suits the movie whose title it inspired, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," a unique, surreal film about memories, love and sorrow.
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" deals with timid, conservative Joel, who bumps into ex-girlfriend Clementine at a store -- and finds she doesn't remember him. He finds a notice in his mail that she has had him erased from her memories, and angrily decides to have the same done. But during the procedure, Joel revisits the good times they had together, and finds that he doesn't want to lose his memories with Clementine.
This movie, by Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman, was one of the best of 2004, and one that isn't quickly forgotten. The screenplay is an excellent accompaniment; if there is a line or an image that didn't seem to make sense, it might make more sense here. "Eternal Sunshine" fans will also like the scenes that never made it to the final cut, and one scene got shuffled around.
Additionally, there is an interview at the end with Kaufman. In it, he describes his writing background, his collaborations with Gondry, clashes with Ben Affleck's horrific "Paycheck," memory, and that wonderful "Velveteen Rabbit" scene. Although, it could have used more of Kaufman's thoughts on the final product and the actors.
The stumbling blocks? Don't try reading the screenplay BEFORE seeing the movie, or you will be hopelessly lost. The script cuts wildly from the past, the present, inside and outside the characters' heads. It works wonderfully on the screen, but on paper it's hard to visualize just by the words alone. That, and this richly visual film is only represented by some murky black-and-white photos.
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is a wonderful script, which spawned a wonderful film. And for fans of that film, this is an excellent accompaniment and resource.