Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Review

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Review

Maggie Turner, Staff Reporter

Last week, I rewatched the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind dir. Michel Gondry. It details the complex relationship between Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski, played by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet respectively as they attempt to erase their memories of each other through a new and modern procedure at Lacuna Inc. Charlie Kaufman, the screenwriter, was praised for his originality and unparalleled story and ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay along with many other accolades. 

When I first watched this film, I had a tough time really sinking my teeth into it, and I found the characters annoying and hard to sympathize with. I think going into watching the movie, I thought it would be a run-of-the-mill love story about a failing relationship with likable characters, but I completely missed the point the first time and it was anything but normal. 

After rewatching, you can see that almost every character has their flaws in a way, including the employees performing the “memory-erasing.” For example, Clementine is a functioning alcoholic and has an almost insufferable attitude at times while Mary Svevo (Kirsten Dunst), the receptionist tries to have an affair with the head scientist.  I realized after understanding that, the film became so much more interesting and you could really understand the twisted beauty of the story. Kaufman and Gondry create an environment mixing the subconscious and reality that you can’t take your eyes off of, with a whimsical yet dark energy. 

While the whole film has its memorable moments, nothing seems more special than the film’s ending. With their memories erased, Joel and Clementine meet each other again and unknowingly learn from an ex-employee that they had undergone the procedure because their relationship was deteriorating. This frustrates them, but then they both realize, it may be toxic to get back together, but what if we just try again? The ending holds a lot to interpretation, but I find it so compelling that even though both protagonists know they will end up fighting, they are willing to go through it again just to experience those special moments that are so tender in relationships. 

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind may be a mind-bending, surrealist piece of cinema, but when we break it down, its main message forms along the lines that love is supposed to be flawed, and that its imperfections are what makes it interesting, unique, and special.