movie film review | chris tookey

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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  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
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Directed by: Michel Gondry
Written by: Charlie Kaufman

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

MIXED Reviews

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The film’s structure is complicated, perhaps unnecessarily so... There is both more and less to Eternal Sunshine than meets the eye. Like its subject, memory, it both looms toward and recedes from the spectator. Unwarranted claims are being made for the work. Its weakness lies in the direction of character; and the problem of character is bound up with the concrete appraisal of modern social life. The screenwriter and director have paid a good deal of attention to certain aspects of their work, but not to others. In fact, the characters portrayed by Winslet and Carrey are rather cliched, limited, even banal... The filmmakers have created an intriguing set of circumstances, but they forget, as do most of their counterparts at present, that love relationships do not take place in a void. Every love affair has certain universal psychological and physiological features, but it also bears the imprint of its particular historical ‘here and now.’... If the writer and director had developed their legitimate concerns about love and memory as part of broader, more insightful artistic examination of reality, the results might have been extraordinary. As it is, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a considerable minor effort.
(David Walsh, World Socialist Website)
Though certainly elliptical and challenging (and it moves well past the typical romantic notions it gently attacks), it's Kaufman's most universal and accessible film to date... Though Carrey is wonderfully directed here (he's low-key and shlumpy — another Kaufman alter ego) and Winslet both radiant and insecure, we never FEEL their love for one another. Though this critic would never ask for such a usually banal moment, a sex scene would have been nice: something to show just how passionate these people were for each other, at least once. Winslet makes good love in film and it would be nice to see Carrey do the same. Just one extra scene that unites them past bonding on a patch of ice. Still, the film boasts an impressive array of mental details that charm, irritate, and sadden the viewer with a that's-just-how-life-goes fervor.
(Kim Morgan,
I loved the concept because, much like anyone else, I'd been through a rough break-up myself and theoretically would likely not have minded such a process, at my worst of times. My biggest problem with this film was that despite a great set-up, brilliant acting by both Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet and a complex, but believable, integration of this sci-fi operation, things got a little too ‘technical’ about halfway through the film, losing me as a willing, emotional participant in the lead character's turmoil and turning me into more of a passenger watching a film about an average Joe attempting to escape his fleeting memories. Essentially, things got a little too redundant, focusing more on the actual erasing of the past, rather than the overall, more intriguing concepts (at least to me) of destiny, the necessity of one's memory, the idea of knowledge from experience and a little something we call love. Things did pick back up once the whole memory erasure was resolved though, with the characters attempting to come to terms with what happened... The film is not for everyone, it doesn't follow a straight line, it gets a little pretentious and arty-farty at times, and definitely gears into the realm of the esoteric rather than the tangible, but I like stuff like that sometimes.
(Berge Garabedian, Jo Blo’s Movie Emporium)
Suffused with Kaufman’s unique charm, his existential drollery, his humane affection for the lonely and vulnerable... but it is also overcooked and frenetic, with some visual tricks and gimmicks repeated often enough to induce a diminishing return of novelty and effect.
(Peter Bradshaw, Guardian)

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