Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I finally watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last night. I’ve been wanting to see it pretty much since it came out, but it was one of those things that I never really got around to doing. In any case, while I want to watch it at least one more time before I codify my thoughts on the thing. The best time to spit it out should be now, while it is fresh in my mind. If you’ve not seen the movie, please don’t go past the jump.

There really isn’t a whole lot to say about the construction of the film proper. Gondry doesn’t put out crap, and while I’m not the biggest fan of all of his contrivances, he is still a mastercrafter. The sets must’ve been incredibly tough to conceptualize and dress, so I’d like to give a huge shout out to the Production Designer Dan Leigh and… Holy Shit. No way. Ron von Blomberg was main set decorator! I worked quite closely with Ron on Into the Fire. Sweet. Well he did a fanfrickingtastic job.

The only parts I didn’t particularly like in regard to film construction were the blurry faces and the forced perspective scene. I don’t think the blurry faces were appropriate and I don’t think the forced perspective was thought out and implemented well enough. But I’m just crotchety.

I really identified with Jim Carrey’s character Joel. Not completely, but almost. I can’t ever fathom why I would want to have parts of my memories wiped away, no matter how painful. In the movie they are painful because they are memories of great joy and great care. So getting rid of those would make life so bland. I’m sure there are people out there who would gladly do something like that. But I couldn’t.

I also wonder a bit about the mechanism of the memory-​erasure. Joel knows in his mind that his memories are getting erased. He is conscious mentally while unconscious physically. So I wonder, why doesn’t he remember the erasure procedure when he awakes, and by proxy remember trying to hold on to his memories of Clementine? This is almost as tricksy as coping with time travel paradoxes.

I didn’t like the memory-Clementine’s last mention of Montauk because it seems a little too deus ex machina. I’d’ve rather had him head on out there because he had some deep subliminal urge. In a way I guess he does, but it sort of comes across as a hypnotic suggestion in the movie. I also don’t know why real-​Clementine was even out there on that day. Her presence is not explained, unless it is explained and I’ll catch it on a second run through.

Also, the tapes. The tapes are very important, because they are the things that they should’ve told each other. They are the things they both love and hate about the other person. Even if they didn’t want those things to change, they needed to be spoken. Saying “I think you are smart but not educated and I don’t think I can talk to you about books” might hurt, but it lets you at least try to work through the feelings. So I’m glad they got to listen to at least a bit of each other’s tapes. So since they might be trying it again, perhaps they’ll not fear the critical comments.

So I really liked the movie. It makes me wish I had some sort of extended relationship with a girl, which in turn makes me depressed because I don’t know if that is possible, but I like the movie anyway. It lets me live a bit vicariously-​emotionally but it also engages the logic parts of the brain. So it makes you use the whole brain to both think and feel your way through it. It sort of reminds me of the first time I watched the Matrix. You just can’t quite get your head around it the first time around, and that is a good thing. Always a good thing.

One thought on “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

  1. At the time I first saw that movie, I was in a place where I totally related it into my life. The concept of having something so hurtful emotionally happen that a part of you wishes you could erase it and go back in time to the place you were before it all happened is something I think more people than just me and Charlie Kaufmann can relate to. And the ending, to me, says that there is no going back to the beginning, that the truth always comes out, but that there is still hope to heal and rebuild. That’s just my take on the emotional side of it.

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