A few days ago I was once again reminded of a movie that I hold dear to my heart. The colleague in question was having a discussion about which Jim Carrey movie was the best one, which resulted in him chosing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. We had a bit of a discussion about the movie afterwards and as a result I’m now writing this review.
Jim Carrey, as those who know me well already know, is an actor that I hold dear to my heart. I feel that his efforts as an actor are hugely underappreciated by a large group of people, especially his dramatic roles. If his role as Truman Burbank didn’t convince you of what he can do as an actor, then this role as Joel Barish in ‘Eternal Sunshine’ should.
Directed by Michel Gondry, ‘Eternal Sunshine’ isn’t a movie for the casual moviefan though.
It all begins when Joel enters Lacuna, a company which provides people with the possibility of erasing their memory.
Joel, having dated a girl called Clementine (Kate Winslet), is confident that he needs to do this in order to forget his past with her. What follows is a 108 minute journey through Joel’s mind as we follow him revisiting his past memories with Clementine.
So far, so good. It’s all layed out in a chronological order, until we start going into his memories.
As Joel is undergoing the procedure, we see all the memories he has of Clementine, in reversed chronology, gradually infusing him with the desire to stop the treatment and start anew with Clementine.
How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d;
This is an excerpt (to be exact: lines 207-210) from the poem Eloisa to Abelard. The movie has found it’s title in this poem, and as you take a minute to fully understand what’s being said, you start to get an idea of what director Gondry has done with this masterpiece.
You’ll be confronted with a lot of heavy themes when you watch it. And more often than not you’ll be forced to think about your own choices, especially the ones you made in your relationship.
All of us have been in relationships with people, some more close or often than others. Yet, when examined up close, not many of us have had the privilege to revisit all those memories as if we were once again living through them, and reassess if we made the right choices.
It’s this force, one that only cinema can hold, that grants this movie it’s staying power.
Whether you’ll feel sorry for Joel and Clementine, or whether you’ll side up with one of the two, it’s the strength of the poem, the strength of an eternal sunshine on your spotless mind, that will ultimately decide if you can grow to love this movie, or wish to forget it.
A small sidenote, before closing this off, the art that I used as a banner for this article on the homepage, is privately owned by me and made by an upcoming artist called Jeff Boyer. If you get a chance, try googling him for more amazing pieces. But watch this movie first!