Screenwriters rarely develop a distinctive voice that can be recognized from movie to movie, but the ornate imagination of Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) has made him a unique and much-needed cinematic ... more »presence. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a guy decides to have the memories of his ex-girlfriend erased after she's had him erased from her own memory--but midway through the procedure, he changes his mind and struggles to hang on to their experiences together. In other hands, the premise of memory-erasing would become a trashy science-fiction thriller; Kaufman, along with director Michel Gondry, spins this idea into a funny, sad, structurally complex, and simply enthralling love story that juggles morality, identity, and heartbreak with confident skill. The entire cast--Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, and more--give superb performances, carefully pitched so that cleverness never trumps feeling. A great movie. --Bret Fetzer« less
Rachel L. from SEATTLE, WA Reviewed on 7/30/2010...
Love this movie!
Oh how we all wish we could forget our painful memories & mistakes, but what if we wish we could still save them when we try to erase them? Unfortunately like a computers restoration files, (in this film) the mind can't regain the memories once they're erased the way Jim Carrey's character tries to hold onto them once the erasing process has begun.
A very good finale as well and this is a movie I could enjoy on a monthly basis.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jared F. (Jflo) from BUCKNER, IL Reviewed on 7/18/2010...
Jim Carrey's character goes deep into his subconsciousness regarding a relationship.. Some mixed insane emotions and mind frames in the movie.. Some drug use, humor, sadness, frustration among the different roles.. To me, an excellent movie, but too intense to watch often.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Deborah A. from SARASOTA, FL Reviewed on 6/8/2010...
This unusual movie is about second chances. Jim Carrey in a way you have never seen him before, and Kate Winslet is superb as usual. Great special effects as well. I highly recommend it.
Jason C. (JJC) from NEWARK, NJ Reviewed on 1/6/2008...
I cannot recommend this film enough.
Talk about a talented filmmaker, video director Michel Gondry and avant-garde writer Charlie Kaufman ("Being John Malkovich", "Adaptation") presents us a great love story of science-fiction proportions. A mixture of Philip K. Dick and modern-day romantic relationship ups and downs.
In a nutshell, the film surrounds the very quiet and docile Joel (Jim Carrey) and very nutty and eccentric Clementine (Kate Winslet) who meet and instantly get involved in a romantic relationship. However, after a year and a recent breakup, Joel seeks her out and it seems that Clementine has no idea who Joel is anymore, as if he was a stranger.
In a quick investigation, Joel realizes that he has been erased from Clementine's memory, in a facility called Lacuna, that specializes in scientifically altering the brain in wiping out certain people and the events that transpond with them. So, Joel decides to do the same.
However, during the process of elimination, Joel mentally tries to save his memories of Clementine, realizing that he wants to save those memories, and at the same time hears the techs rambling during the erasing process in his home; confusing the two matters. In the meantime, one of Lacuna's technicians falls for Clementine and totally screws up the process...it's hard to explain in words especially without spoiling, so you simply NEED TO WATCH IT.
All in all, the film is brilliant, hands down. Originality at its finest. Michel Gondry is a fantastic director, bringing Kaufman's brilliant script to the screen. We have seen Carrey handle a serious film before, and in this turn, shows us a completely different side of Jim Carrey. Kate Winslet is always great and is amazing as Clem, and great support from Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood and Tom Wilkinson just fill up the greatness.
Remarkably edited and well put together...genius sci-fi!
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
"I DON'T WANT THIS ANYMORE!!!"
Michael Crane | Orland Park, IL USA | 10/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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 favorite 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"
Just when you thought romantic comedies were unoriginal ...
Benjamin | ATLANTA, Gabon | 03/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, which I saw tonight in an advance screening, is the most twisted, original romantic comedy I've seen in a long time. Coming from the mind of Charlie Kaufman, this film is luckily more in the vein of BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and ADAPTATION than HUMAN NATURE.The film, which operates on the premise that people can delete bad relationships from their memories, travels essentially backward down its story's timeline. It examines several key themes regarding compatibility, fate and how our memories can make up who we are. Jim Carrey, who plays his role of Joel straight rather than wacky, delivers his best and most human performance since THE TRUMAN SHOW. But the movie, thankfully, belongs to Kate Winslet. As Clementine, the girlfriend who Joel wants to either love or forget, Winslet is wacky, colorful and hilarious - the sort of girl you want to either love or strangle.While their central story plays out mostly within Joel's brain, several equally interesting subplots emerge involving the memory-erasing workers played by Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood and Tom Wilkinson. The thing I like best about Charlie Kaufman scripts is that I don't always know where they're going but, in the end, they cover all their bases, address all the philosophical questions inherent in their twisted plots and always leave me entertained. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND is a terrific movie."
Highly Original, Deeply Moving
E. A Solinas | 03/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think that people who say that there's no such thing as an original plot ought to see this movie and see if they still believe it afterwards. "Eternal Sunshine" is just as creative as "Being John Malkovich" but without the characters who did despicable things (i.e. taking over people's bodies) in the latter movie. Instead, the story centers around Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) who are two very appealing "nice people."I'm a guy, so naturally my eyes are on Kate Winslet. She really does merit the description that one critic gave her, "very easy to fall in love with" (I know I have). Besides this movie, I've seen her in two other great roles in "Sense and Sensibility" and "Enigma." In "Eternal Sunshine" she plays the shy man's dream girl: a wacky, flaky woman who lights up every scene that she's in. Yet she's also a wounded spirit, fighting a problem with alcohol.Jim Carrey does a fine job playing Clementine's soul mate (and in some ways her polar opposite). He's a quiet introspective man with none of the trademark Carrey goofiness. Joel is someone I could readily imagine being, unlike if the role was played by better known actors who never play anything less than flawless human beings.I won't spoil the plot beyond the fact that I thought it was a life-affirming story about the part of a love affair that usually gets short shrift, when people either come to terms with or fail to come to terms with the shortcomings of their significant others. The special effects and science-fiction conceit of memory erasure give the love story of Clementine and Joel a lift that a more straightforward narrative would lack.On a final note: some people will probably read the script that is available on the Internet before seeing this movie. I did and sort of wish I hadn't because the movie would have been a little fresher to me. However, those who did read the script and were put off by the ending there should go see "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" anyway because the movie's outcome is infinitely better.I hope that there's a Clementine out there for me somewhere. Until then, I at least have a memory of a very nice romantic comedy that left me a little teary eyed at the end --but in a good way. I would only erase it if I could get to watch it again."
Makes you appreciate life.. every second of it
M. Wong | Cambridge, MA USA | 03/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've never submitted a review before, cause I never had a reason to. I was lucky that I got a chance to see the sneak preview. I had no idea what it was about before seeing it. I think sometimes it's better that way. Nothing was given away before it was meant to, and you have no false expectations before seeing the movie. It is, by far, one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. And there were some good ones in the past few years. It makes you really appreciate life, all the good and all the bad, and it will move you if you've ever been in a relationship. But in general anyone should and could appreciate this movie. It has some neat special effects that isn't over the top. Very appropriate and subtle that simply compliments the movie. It's a thinking movie, in that afterwards it gives you a different perspective on your current, past, and maybe future relationship (if you still remember by that time). And I think it's for the better. I don't want to give anything away, and ruin your experience with the movie. Go with an open mind. You'll enjoy it, I promise."
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 03/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."