movie film review | chris tookey

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

© Momentum - all rights reserved
  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Review
Tookey's Rating
6 /10
Average Rating
7.30 /10
Joel Barish: Jim Carrey, Clementine Kruczynski: Kate Winslet
Full Cast >

Directed by: Michel Gondry
Written by: Charlie Kaufman

Released: 2004
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Length: 108

PRO Reviews

Bookmark and Share
A unique romantic comedy, unfettered by the normal expectations of the genre, is a rare and wondrous thing... Those who have been exposed to Kaufman's previous screenplays (especially Malkovich, Adaptation, and Human Nature, which was also directed by Gondry) recognize that he never takes the story where one expects it to go. That's precisely what happens here, as he toys with the boundaries between reality and fantasy, and makes some probing points about the malleability of memory and the importance of the past in defining the future. The film also doesn't ignore the ethical implications of what Howard is doing. His motives may be pure, but how much control does he have over what he has unleashed?... With films like Memento, 50 First Dates, and the execrable Paycheck, memory loss has become an increasingly fertile ground for movies to plow. By using a slightly different approach to the subject than those films (but still staying in the Twilight Zone), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind carves out its own niche. This is unlike any other film I have seen. And, although I value originality in motion pictures, the primary reason I'm recommending Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with so much enthusiasm is because it's a great romance. It's willingness to flout conventions and eschew formulas is just one of many things to celebrate about this charmingly eccentric movie.
(James Berardinelli, Reelviews)
Despite jumping through the deliberately disorienting hoops of its story, Eternal Sunshine has an emotional center, and that's what makes it work. Although Joel and Clementine ping-pong through various stages of romance and reality, what remains constant is the human need for love and companionship, and the human compulsion to keep seeking it, despite all odds... Kaufman's mission seems to be the penetration of the human mind. His characters journeyed into the skull of John Malkovich, and there is a good possibility that two of them were inhabiting the same body in Adaptation. But both of those movies were about characters trying to achieve something outside themselves. The insight of Eternal Sunshine is that, at the end of the day, our memories are all we really have, and when they're gone, we're gone.
(Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
The highest compliment I can pay Sunshine is that it makes complete sense from start to finish – high praise indeed for an idea this convoluted. We patiently wait for Kaufman’s complex combination of raw emotions and forensic science to collapse in on itself, yet it never does. Kaufman's script and Gondry’s cast maintain an amazing sense of continuity, even as the brilliant story dips and slides into surrealistic mental realms. Ultimately though, its Carrey and Winslet’s spot-on tender performances that help solidify Joel and Clementine’s bond, even as we realize that despite their penchant for meeting up, they have little hope of ever staying together.
(Sean O'Connell.

Key to Symbols