|Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo
Director: Michael Gondry
Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (“ Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation”) lives in a world of his own. Just when you think his latest idea has completely blown your mind, he delivers another intricate mess of complicated genius. In his latest offering, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Kaufman takes the most basic love story ever told and entangles it in a complex web of doubt and deceit.
Facing another dreaded Valentine’s Day, Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) decides to duck out of work and jump on the next subway train to the beach. Joel isn’t the only person crazy enough to visit the beach on a frigid, winter day; Clementine (Kate Winslet), an equally nutty girl whose vibrant hair radiates more colors than a bowl of Fruity Pebbles, is also there. They meet. They talk. They fall in love.
But suddenly, Joel is no longer with Clementine and when he goes to visit her, she acts as if they have never met. Was it a dream? Was that really the first time they met? Joel soon discovers that Clementine irrationally had her memory of him erased by way of a radical technological procedure and decides to in turn erase his memory of her rather than coping with the loss of the woman he loves.
On the surface, “Eternal Sunshine” seems muddled and confusing, but Kaufman’s genius script and Gondry’s brilliant direction lead the frantic jigsaw puzzle to a picture-perfect ending. Carrey will most likely receive his annual Oscar nod, a nomination he certainly deserves as the humble and sedated Joel. But if he were to ever win an award for Best Actor, this could be his best shot. The rest of the cast members turn in equally impressive supporting performances, but the strength of the film lies mainly within its script, written with sharp wit and intensity by the talented Kaufman.
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” may not show up at your nearest theater, and for good reason. It is an enchanting clutter of love and reason that will only appeal to the audience willing to take the time to see the movie and then think about it later.
Collector's Edition DVD Review:
The first disc in the Collector's Edition DVD set features everything from the original release: a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, a Polyphonic Spree music video, a fictional Lacuna infomercial, a conversation with Jim Carrey and director Michel Gondry, and an audio commentary with Gondry and writer Charlie Kaufman. Included on the second disc is an "Inside the Mind of Machel Gondry" featurette, "Anatomy of a Scene," a conversation with Kate Winslet and Gondry, and additional deleted scenes. Fans of the film will love this special edition, which also comes packaged with a collectible photo book.