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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