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on 27 September 2007
When I first heard of this film it didn't interest me that much but after a number of recommendations I dove into it. Thankfully enough I found "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" an excellent romantic and intriguing comedy-drama about two people who don't truly realize they are in love until one loses the other. Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) is a lonely yet sweet man who is looking for true love and the ideal woman. His search ends when he meets Clementine Krucynksi (Kate Winslet), an energetic and wild young woman. Clementine is everything Joel isn't... at least not the Joel the world sees. The feelings locked up inside of him are released through Clementine. They prove you do not have to make love or kiss all the time to be in love. This couple can play music, in the snow, go shopping, or just lounge around at home and the audience can tell they are in love. But as time goes by, their relationship begins to shatter and really goes to the extreme when Joel discovers Clementine erased him from her mind, thanks to a brilliant doctor's invention. Joel contacts the agency, Lacuna Inc., and its main doctor, Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), for Joel to receive the same operation. During the evening Dr. Mierzwiak and his team: another doctor/technician (Mark Ruffalo), a lovestruck receptionist/assistant (Kirsten Dunst), and naive (Elijah Wood) perform the operation, Joel evaluates his relationship with Clementine and realizes he is still in love with her and wishes to keep the memories of her.

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is an incredible film and one of the greatest modern romantic comedies of our time. It is smart, clever, and charming with an exceptional cast and an intelligent crew. This movie received many excellent reviews and anyone that I've known that has seen it agrees. A movie like that is superb. This movie is unique and makes the audience think and comprehend of what is happening. Carrey delivers a superb performance that made him avoid the "Oscar". His humor mixed with sadness and all the complexity of the character made me understand that he is a great actor (before, Truman Show made the audience give a serious look at this actor) and performer. Kate Winslet, again, delivers a full featured character, a "girl" from town, this "Shakespeare" actress can do it all and likely see the wild and funny side of her, what you would think would be vice versa. The supporting cast consisting of Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, and Tom Wilkinson is does a great job. Charlie Kaufman, as always, writes a phenomenal script with such creativity and intellect. Speaking of intellect, director Michel Gondry uses his own intellect to make this film a spectacle. The shots are captivating and exciting.

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is a romantic motion picture unlike any other. It is definitely not one of those typical romantic comedies when they both love each other without realizing it. This film captures beauty and the true quality of a great film. This film is one of the better films out there and anyone else who has will agree.
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VINE VOICEon 12 October 2004
Jim Carey plays Joel, a man who wakes up, and skips work. You just have to some days. He catches a different train, and ends up far away from where he has to be. Here he meets Clementine (Kate Winslet), and they are drawn together.
It turns out they have a past, however. The films runs nearly in reverse, will the events of the past listing themselves in reverse order- going back to when they first met. But in between both Joel and Clementine have their memories of each other erased, and the film tells of Joel's struggle to let go of what he discovers are precious memories.
This is a breath taking film. The first part is quirky and jumpy; however stick with it. It builds into a masterpiece of desperation as Joel realise's through living his memories again that there will come a time when she is gone from his life- again- and it hits him that he has to say goodbye.
The sub story is of the people who provide the memory treatment. Kirsten Dunst and Elijah Wood play what seem to be unimportant distractions in Carey and Winslet's tale, but as momentum builds, they become the key to their future.
I loved this film. Although it starts as something you have to think about, it build into an emotional masterpiece, one is which makes you realise how precious your memories are, and how much you take them for granted. You are left in a world which you simply don't want to leave.
One of the few films I would recommend buying.
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Charlie Kaufman is known for creating films that bend the mind -- "Being John Malkovich," "Adaptation," "Human Nature." But he takes a slightly different turn in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," a sort of romantic dark comedy that raises questions about memory and identity. It may not be the best of Kaufman's work, but it's in some ways the most endearing.
Uptight Joel (Jim Carrey) is shocked to learn that his likably flaky ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has taken unusual measures, post-breakup. She's having her memories of him erased from her brain at Lacuna Inc. When he learns WHY she broke up with him (she thought he was boring), he gets mad and decides to have the same thing done to himself.
So a group of offbeat techies and doctors (Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood and Kirsten Dunst) begin to erase the memories of Clementine from Joel's brain (Wood's character also tries to use Joel's memories to seduce Clementine). Problem is, his brain doesn't want to let them go. It pokes Clementine into parts of his memory where she doesn't belong, so he won't have to let go. And viewing the memories makes him fall in love all over again...
"Dark romantic comedy" is the closest thing that "Eternal Sunshine" has to a description. Like Kaufman's other films, it's funny in a subtle way, and more obviously sweet and romantic. Not to mention thought-provoking. If you could erase unpleasant memories, would you do it, if it changed the person you were? If we get rid of the pain, do we also get rid of the joy?
Michel Gondry is best known for his work on Bjork, Radiohead and White Stripes music videos -- deliciously strange ones. Somehow, he fits perfectly into directing "Eternal Sunshine." A trip through a person's brain is a hard thing to manage, but he does it -- surreal little images like a teeny tiny Winslet and Carrey bathing in a kitchen sink, or lying on the ice. It's weird, and it works. At the same time, he can capture more mundane moments well.
Jim Carrey gives what may be his best "serious" role ever, as the conflicted, lovelorn Joel. Kate Winslet's Clementine breaks the mold of "romantic comedy heroine" with her free-spirited wackiness. Together, they make a flawed couple that you really want to see together. And Elijah Wood takes what could have been an empty role and turns Patrick into a rather pitiful, lonely figure, rather than a 2-D creep.
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is not the best from Charlie Kaufman's fertile brain, but this melancholy dark comedy is well worth checking out. A wonderful, prismatic film.
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on 16 April 2006
This is a truly outstanding film about love, pain and the nature of consciousness. Joel is devastated to find that his free-spirited girlfriend Clementine has had all her memories of him erased. To try and get rid of his heartache, he signs up to undergo the same procedure himself - but once it's underway, he realises that he's made a mistake, that he doesn't want to lose his memories of Clementine, and he tries to hold onto them. This is a beautifully innovative and playful film visually, the story is excellent and the lead performances of Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey are wonderful. (Yes, Jim Carrey - he's actually really good!)
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VINE VOICEon 8 April 2005
At your peril should you be fooled by the slightly inexplicable advertising pitch of this film that presents it as a happy feel-good teeny 'comedy', nor should you be tempted to classify it according to the presence of Jim Carey and Kirsten Dunst. In truth, as you would expect of a film named from a quote by Alexander Pope, it is far more complex, more worthwhile, darker and more special than that.
The plot, in a nutshell: Joel (Carey) discovers that his eccentric, impulsive, blue-haired ex-girlfriend, Clementine (Kate Winslet) has had all memory of him erased by a company specialising in the procedure, and he decides to have it done too. There is a subplot involving Elijah Wood and Kirsten Dunst, but the focus of the film is certainly the messed-up tragicomic alternately perfect and disastrous relationship between Joel and Clementine. The majority of the film then takes place inside Joel's mind as he chases Clementine through his memories and watches them fade away.
The deepest parts of Joel's memory begin to collapse in chilling, sad and sometimes downright scary sequences, as books lose their writing, buildings tumble, places and people fade and disappear and faces lose their features. At the same time we catch a glimpse of the insecurities of both characters that originally brought them together. Corny romanticism is thrown aside: this film is uncompromising, realistic and honest, and the relationship between the characters is both glowing with light and life and shadowed by their differences. The delightful idiosyncrasies of the objects Joel names as having an association with Clementine (a giant stuffed skeleton doll, people made of potatoes, journals, mugs, pictures, cards, snowglobes...) reveal the crazy truth that exists between people.
There is some humour, but it's neither slapstick nor simple and always touched by sadness: there is the charming familiarity of childhood humiliation and of speaking the words through to a silent film, and the pathetic humour behind the old woman in the waiting room preparing to have her memory erased with tears in her eyes, clutching a box containing a bone and a dog-bowl with her pet's name on it. Not a shiny happy film, then, but a dark, fractured and yet somehow uplifting account of love.
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on 29 September 2008
I watched this film over two days ago, and have found it increasingly difficult to think of anything else since. An unnassuming, honest, off-beat, film , 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' is one of those movies that will grow on you and make you want to watch it time and time again, and is intelligent and thought-provoking enough to keep you captivated on repeated viewings.

Boasting none of the usual hollywood glitz, though the cast list is definately something to show off about, 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' follows the shy, quite and often seemingly 'boring' Joel Barish, who, after dating a girl called Clementine for several years visits her one day, only to discover she has no recollection of who he is and has in fact had him intentionally and entirely erased from her memory. Joel, distaught, hurt and confused, visits the place where Clementine had her memories of him erased and chooses to do the same to his memories of her. However, once made unconcious so the procedure could occur, he re-lives each of the memories as the team (Patrick, Frank, Stan and Mary) are trying to erase them, and suddenly decides that this may not really be what he wants. As the viewer we are given the chance to see Clem and Joel's relationship through these memroies, how they met, the good times, the bad, why Clem finally decided she no longer wanted to have Joel as part of her life - or memory. And we also watch as Joel discovers that he doesn't, in fact, want to erase Clem from his life forever, and we sit at the edge of our seat willing Joel to find a way to keep his memories safe forever.

I think 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' is a brilliant film, probably my second favourite film I have ever watched (the first being' A Beautiful Mind'). However, I do realise it's limitations too. It feels like a low budget movie (whether it is or not I do not know) despite boasting many hollywood stars in the cast list. However, I feel that this definately adds to the movie rather than takes away from it - it gives the film a sense of character, of individusality, as well as fitting the story well - for neither of the main characters live a glamourous life, so for the film to be filmed in that style would have been untrue to itself. Another limitation some may note would be teh actual story - the idea of having a person fully erased from your memory is absurd, howver, like certain other science-fictional stories I have seen or read (such as the novel, 'The Time Traveller's Wife') the absurdity of the idea comes second to the story, and the message of the story. The film is set in the real world, in our time, so it is easy to forget that memories cannot just simply be erased, and instead, as the viewer you pay attention to the story, and what the film is trying to ultimatley say.

The acting in this film is superb. Jim Carrey (who I have only ever seen in comedic roles previously) makes a breathtaking transformation into a serous role as Joel Barish, pulling off the character of a quite, shy loner with far more integrity and skill than I would have ever believed possible. Kate Winslet too made a startling change in my eyes from the only other role I'd seen her in (Rose in Titanic) to the gritty, fun-loving, unique, emotional, impulsive and incredibly chatty Clementine, who's ever-changing bright coloured hair makes the passage of time in the film slighlty easier to follow. I think my favourite performance however was by Mark Ruffalo as Stan, and this is the second time Ruffalo has blown me away with a role and he will certainly be someone who I will keep my eye on in the fuiture - he is an incredibly gifted actor.

I don't want to say too much about this film as I don't want to give much away. I will say though that the final scenes were very emotionally powerful (which surpirsed me)and that, although the film is only about an hour anda half in length, the character development throughout makes it feel like you have known the main two characters, Joel and Clem, for many years, and you end up caring for them as you would for two good friends, wanting them both to be happy. The film worked enough to have me willing Joel to hide his memory's from the 'evil' eraser team, to remember Clem, and go back to her and make her remember him too, but wehther that happens or not I will not say - you'll just have to watch and see. All I will say is that there are a few surprises that I definaetly was not expecting, that this film is not as predictable as you may expect, it being a love story and all.
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VINE VOICEon 13 February 2005
At your peril should you be fooled by the slightly inexplicable advertising pitch of this film that presents it as a happy feel-good teeny 'comedy', nor should you be tempted to classify it according to the presence of Jim Carey and Kirsten Dunst. In truth, as you would expect of a film named from a quote by Alexander Pope, it is far more complex, more worthwhile, darker and more special than that.
The plot, in a nutshell: Joel (Carey) discovers that his eccentric, impulsive, blue-haired ex-girlfriend, Clementine (Kate Winslet) has had all memory of him erased by a company specialising in the procedure, and he decides to have it done too. There is a subplot involving Elijah Wood and Kirsten Dunst, but the focus of the film is certainly the messed-up tragicomic alternately perfect and disastrous relationship between Joel and Clementine. The majority of the film then takes place inside Joel's mind as he chases Clementine through his memories and watches them fade away.
The deepest parts of Joel's memory begin to collapse in chilling, sad and sometimes downright scary sequences, as books lose their writing, buildings tumble, places and people fade and disappear and faces lose their features. At the same time we catch a glimpse of the insecurities of both characters that originally brought them together. Corny romanticism is thrown aside: this film is uncompromising, realistic and honest, and the relationship between the characters is both glowing with light and life and shadowed by their differences. The delightful idiosyncrasies of the objects Joel names as having an association with Clementine (a giant stuffed skeleton doll, people made of potatoes, journals, mugs, pictures, cards, snowglobes...) reveal the crazy truth that exists between people.
There is some humour, but it's neither slapstick nor simple and always touched by sadness: there is the charming familiarity of childhood humiliation and of speaking the words through to a silent film, and the pathetic humour behind the old woman in the waiting room preparing to have her memory erased with tears in her eyes, clutching a box containing a bone and a dog-bowl with her pet's name on it. Not a shiny happy film, then, but a dark, fractured and yet somehow uplifting account of love.
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on 19 October 2004
Occasionally, I go and see a total whim when by all logic it doesn't sound that appealling. I don't like Carrey (except for his turn as Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon, I've found him difficult to tolerate), and I've never really got to grips with any of Charlie Kaufman's work. Nor did the premise of this sound particularly interesting. As the film unfolded, I gradually became the only person sitting in the cinema.
Probably because the audience expected a dull, common denominator 'comedy' which consisted of Jim Carrey pulling silly faces and prancing around for an hour and a half. Instead, they got a brilliantly conceived story of romance and a piece of cinematic magic.
From the opening section where Joel (Carrey) and Clemantine (Winslet) meet on a train, I was engrossed. This is undoubtedly Carrey's finest performance, as he plays the somewhat insecure Joel. Discovering that his somewhat crazy ex-girlfriend Clemantine has had all memories of their relationship erased through an experimental procedure, Joel decides to have the same procedure performed.
Not only is the core relationship one you can believe in and root for, it's tightly wound together. Elements that fail to make sense at the begin are made clear half-way through, as Carrey races through the maze of his memories of Clemantine, watched over by the dodgy medical crew overseeing the procedure.
The directing is wonderful with some surreal sequences in Joel's memories, the acting is excellent throughout and it has that ethereal something that separates a good film from a truly great one.
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on 28 October 2004
When you hear the basic storyline of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," it sounds like another one of those "wacky" romantic comedies that they love to put out every month. However, when you realize that this is written by Charlie Kaufman (who also wrote "Adaptation" and "Being John Malkovich"), then you know that this will be a very different movie. This is such an enjoyable, hilarious and a brutally honest film that has immediately become a favourite of mine.
Jim Carrey plays "Joel;" a quiet and shy person who keeps to himself most of the time. He's bummed out when he discovers that his girlfriend had a new procedure done in where she has erased him from her memory. Not knowing what else to do, Joel decides that he must get the same thing done to him and goes to the clinic to have her erased from his memory, hoping that the pain and sadness will go away. When he's undergoing the procedure, unconscious and reliving the memories as they are being erased, Joel begins to realize that there were some very happy moments he had with her and he doesn't want to lose them after all.
It's really hard to categorize a movie like this. While it is indeed a comedy on some levels, it has a lot of dramatic elements to it, as well. Because of this, people will either fall in love with it or despise every minute of it. What really struck home with me is how honest and creative it really is. You'll find a lot more honesty and truth in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" than in most of the "cute" comedies that are out there today. It is extremely easy to relate to the characters, and that is what makes it all the more realistic for us. Jim Carrey is absolutely fantastic in this, as he is very controlled and doesn't try to steal the show. This is when you really get to see his acting skills shine. Kate Winslet takes the challenge of playing opposite of Carrey head-on and succeeds every single time. We cannot forget about Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst and Tom Wilkinson, who also make the movie that much more entertaining.
What I really admire about the movie is the theme of it, and that is that just because a relationship doesn't work out in the end, it doesn't mean that it was time wasted. Sure, there are certain memories we wish would go away somehow, but how would that change us as a person if we could do such a thing? We learn from our experiences; from the good and the bad. That's how we mature as human-beings, and Kaufman's clever writing really establishes that perfectly. The DVD has some cool extras, such as behind-the-scenes documentaries, audio commentary from the writer and the director, deleted scenes and more.
"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" remains the best film to come out of 2004 for me. It's strange, yet clever; funny yet sad, and imaginative, yet honest. If you're looking for a risk-taking film that is like a breath of fresh air, then I highly recommend this excellent picture. This can possibly be the best movie of Jim Carrey's career. Take a chance and find out why so many people are raving about it in the first place. -Michael Crane
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on 5 July 2006
With this movie you'll either love it or hate it. To be blunt if you're looking for a Jim Carrey style comedy then I suggest you click back on your browser and buy something else.

To begin with the movie is quite hard to get into, there were multiple times when I was considering switching it off. The key to this film is to slog out the confusing start and wait as the movie unravels it's twists very slowly.

I must point out that Carrey and Winslet do a superb job of acting out their roles in this film. Extra credit for Carrey as I believe this is his first real shot at a serious role; he nails it perfectly.

I really enjoyed the film and I would recommend it to any who enjoys romance films (not chick flicks). If you like Enduring Love by Ian McEwan (novel not movie) then I believe you would enjoy this film a lot. It is interesting, insightful, innovative and once you get into it you can't keep yourself away from the screen until you know how it ends.

So confusing and surreal at times that it's basically the matrix of romance films.

Romance fans buy now....

Jim Carrey comedy fans look away now.
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