Memories are a bit like horror movies—the phenomenal ones are just as unforgettable as the awful, sometimes painful ones.
Unfortunately, you remember when Fido was tragically hit by a car. But at the same time, you hold onto life’s treasures: the time you got into your dream college, your first car and your first kiss.
But what if you could recall the sunshine-filled days, but also get rid of life’s gloom? What if you could cut out the bad memories?
Michel Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” poses this question.
In Gondry’s science-fiction world, erasing memories is possible, affordable and relatively easy.
But don’t get the impression that “Eternal Sunshine” is science fiction. It’s not.
“Eternal Sunshine” is a love story in which one of the main characters, Clementine (Kate Winslet), decides not only to break up with her boyfriend Joel (Jim Carrey) but also to erase him from her memory.
Joel thinks so, too, and when he finds out that his girlfriend has literally erased him from her life, he decides to return the favor.
In the comfort of his home, mind-erasing technicians attach a metal bowl to Joel’s head while he’s unconscious. On a computer screen they find and erase all the memories of Clementine they can find.
It’s a fairly unexciting process from the outside.
But the majority of the film’s story unfolds in Joel’s mind as its contents is erased. He relives (and the audience watches) his relationship from end to beginning, as each memory is deleted.
Visually, it’s surreal as Joel travels through his past. Entire rooms and objects are constructed and reconstructed in memories as he progresses through them.
Meanwhile, Joel can interact with his dream’s surroundings, having conversations with Clementine along the way.
Joel’s helpless journey reliving his memories is emotional, complicated, thought-provoking and visually interesting.
If “Eternal Sunshine’s” plot still doesn’t sound interesting or at least new to you, then something’s wrong.
Every 10 minutes I would think to myself, “Wow, that’s really cool” or “I wish I would’ve thought of that.”
Plus, the audience gets to see Jim Carrey in a completely new light.
There’s more to “Eternal Sunshine” than what I’ve covered, but for spoilers’ sake, I’ll let you find the rest out on your own. All I can say is maybe a spotless mind doesn’t translate to eternal sunshine.
There are a million things to love about this movie, and you’ll be doing yourself a disservice by passing it up.