Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind by Charlie Kaufman
Nine out of 10
Provocative, celebrated, sophisticated, popular, complex, challenging, intriguing, absurd, absorbing – these and more can all be associated with Eternal Sunshine…
By the way, the title itself is a miraculous achievement!
In fact, this motion picture may be the ultimate “Rara Avis”.
The narrative is so complex, the fabric so challenging that there might be no other film that could engage so many viewers in the context of a very difficult to absorb structure, plot and characters.
That the critics have loved it is understandable, indeed it is perhaps one of the few “normal, expected „aspects of the feature, but that the public has placed it at 85 among the Top Rated Movies on IMDB seems almost an oxymoron.
Difficult, hard to comprehend narratives do not have a habit of being extremely popular with large audiences.
The Lord of the Rings I and II are at number 7 and 11 respectively on the same list and this makes much more sense.
To be fair, those who take the trouble to consult, rate and engage with IMDB are not the same who flock to see The Avengers, The Fast and the Furious I through to XXIV…
Joel Barish is the hero of the motion picture and the inexhaustible Jim Carrey portrays him.
He falls in love with Clementine Kruczinski aka the Oscar winner and nominee for this role Kate Winslet.
The relationship is complicated for in this narrative, there are some “scientists” who can erase the memories you do not like and ask them to wipe out for you.
The complexity of the proposition resides mainly in the simultaneously amusing and tragic consequences of removing parts of the memory, while the hero establishes a communication with a woman that resides in and is the product of his brain, if yours truly has grasped it, which is rather optimistic.
Clementine wants to erase the facts, emotions, interactions…everything connected with Joel and Dr. Mierzwiak aka the always-phenomenal Tom Wilkinson and his team are able to offer this service…
Well, most of the time and not without some side effects and eventually a series of Unfortunate Events.
This is tragic for they seemed to be destined for each other, when they first meet they have a chemistry and an evident attraction for each other, with a difficult to match, outré, strange Clementine immediately accepted and welcomed by a more restrained, normal Joel.
Alas, his ordinariness, the apparent balance, if not the Aristotelian Golden Mean achieved by the hero make him unacceptable at one point – Clementine accuses him of being boring.
She has a blue painted hair, her appearance and attitude is much more than unorthodox, she loves it when they wake up in the bed, but in the snow…near the edge of the ocean, in what must be an imagined scene.
Here is one of the multiple provocations of the Academy Award winning script written by the creator of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind among others:
How can we explain the presence of the bizarre couple in bed, on the beach covered in snow?
For they cannot have the same fantasy at the same time…is it just Joel imagining this? It certainly seems to be the most obvious explanation…only there is a Hungarian film that purports that two different people have exactly the same complex dream at the same time…that is actually the key to the plot
When trying to erase Clementine from the memory of Joel, things get out of hand and become both amusing and calamitous – again – for Stan aka Mark Ruffalo and Mary aka Kirsten Dunst have fun together instead of concentrating on the work taking place in the brain of the subject.
Furthermore, another young employee, Patrick, becomes attracted to Clementine while she is under “cleaning” takes advantage of this unethical opportunity to steal objects and even phrases from the common experience of the woman and her ex-boyfriend and becomes her lover.
When Joel Barish wants to see and talk to the heroine, she is attached to and kissing Patrick – who had stolen her – clean – underwear, together with the other possessions, even the special gift for Valentine that belongs to the hero.
Even Dr. Mierzwiak has been involved in some terrible actions – if we leave apart the very idea of wiping clean memories – for he had been involved in an extra-marital affair with Mary and then would clean that out for her, only to cheat on his wife again…
Apart from the humor, there is a dark, serious message here – well, quite a few in fact – that suggests that dealing with new technology – artificial intelligence for instance – should be handled with care.