"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

1/22/2011 Posted by Admin

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

Directed by Michael Gondry, written by Charlie Kaufman, 108 minutes, rated R.

By Christopher Smith

What’s so captivating about Michael Gondry's 2004 movie, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," just out on Blu-ray disc, is its provocative premise.
Imagine if you could permanently erase someone from your memory--perhaps a former lover who jilted you; a trusted friend who wronged you; a childhood bully who humiliated you.

With those people no longer clouding your thoughts and causing you emotional pain, you would essentially be free of them forever, allegedly living a happier life basking in the eternal sunshine of your newly spotless mind.

In the heat of the moment, such a possibility would undoubtedly be tempting to some. I mean, imagine the power of entering a crowded doctor’s office and declaring that you’d like to delete Jane--forever! Or that memories of an abusive parent will no longer do.

Still, since who we are is all that we have experienced, is it wise to remove those negative elements from which we have learned so much? A caveat of undergoing this procedure is that you’re also erasing any good memories you might have had with that person. Is that wise? And what are the ramifications should you do so?

The movie, which Gondry based on Charlie Kaufman's screenplay, considers the ramifications, with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet as the vehicles that drive them.
In the movie, Carrey and Winslet are Joel and Clementine, two polar opposites who meet by chance on a train, fall in love, and then fall out of it over the course of their relationship. When Clementine elects to erase Joel from her memory, he learns about it, visits her doctor (Tom Wilkinson), and promptly requests out of spite that she also be deleted from his memory.

But all isn’t so easy when it comes to matters of love and human relationships, and the filmmakers know this. So, what unfolds here is dense, complex and moving, particularly when it occurs to Joel during the procedure that he might be making a grave mistake. If Clementine evaporates from his memories, so does the knowledge that he once had love in his life. And isn’t that worth always knowing, even if the relationship ended badly?

Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood and Kirsten Dunst co-star, but they only add peripheral interest. This show belongs to Carrey and Winslet, who find in the trappings of Joel’s subconscious not only two strong performances, but reasons to review the past to find what really matters--the potentially brighter end that might accompany it.

Grade: A-

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  1. won said...

    Putting this on my list...thanks to your review. It looks interesting.

    Before seeing the movie, I'd say I'd definitely sign up to do erase someone from my memory.