Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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Rating: R

Starring:
Jim Carrey as Joel Barish
Kate Winslet as Clementine Kruczynski
Elijah Wood as Patrick
Mark Ruffalo as Stan
Kirsten Dunst as Mary
Thomas Jay Ryan as Frank
Jane Adams as Carrie
David Cross as Rob
Tom Wilkinson as Dr. Howard Mierzwiak
Ryan Whitney as Young Joel
Debbon Ayer as Joel’s Mother

Special Features:
Commentary by director Michel Gondry and writer Charlie Kaufman

A Look Inside Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

A conversation with Jim Carrey and Michel Gondry

Deleted scenes

Lacuna infomercial

The Polyphonic Spree “Light & Day” Music video

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
DTS 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Synopsis:
After a bad breakup with his girlfriend Clementine, Joel Barish is shocked to discover that she has had a procedure done to completely wipe Joel from her memory. Frustrated and depressed, Joel decides to have the same procedure done. As memory erasers Patrick and Stan execute the procedure, Joel relives all of his memories of Clementine in his sleep. The memories initially start during the bad portions of their relationship, but Joel slowly starts re-experiencing the good parts of their relationship and he remembers why he fell in love with Clementine in the first place. Joel decides that he wants to stop the procedure, but he’s unable to tell Patrick and Stan while he’s sedated. Meanwhile every memory he has of Clementine slowly blips away. To make matters worse, he discovers while dreaming that Patrick has started dating Clementine. Joel then desperately tries to stop the memory erasure by hiding Clementine in the deep recesses of his mind, but will he be able to save enough memories of her in order to rekindle his romance with her again?

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is rated R for language, some drug and sexual content.

The Movie:
I missed this film when it hit theaters and I have to say I had no real interest in seeing it. However, I ended up really liking the movie. It’s a quirky and imaginative love story that is unique, thought provoking, and entertaining.

Eternal Sunshine is yet another quirky tale from Charlie Kaufman. It explores love and what makes a romance begin and end. It delves into what makes people behave the way they do and why they end up forgetting what’s important. All this is presented in a unique package involving erasing memories. This plot device allows the story to backtrack from the end of a relationship back to the beginning. It also allows for some really unique imagery as Joel runs back through his memories as they are being erased.

Director Michel Gondry pulls off some amazing imagery in this film. As Joel’s memories of Clementine are erased, the backgrounds disappear and some of the faces of people fade. The special effects are subtle yet impressive as cars disappear, books lose their color, and more. However, Gondry also uses more traditional camera tricks as people disappear in and out of scenes by simply running around the set. He also uses forced perspective and extra large sets to make Jim Carrey look child sized in one scene. It’s the fine attention to detail and the subtle use of effects that makes this movie a visually stunning film. The sound is also quite impressive as things disappear in and out. Some scenes where Joel hears the technicians talking over him while he’s unconscious are also quite impressive on the home theater sound system. It’s a great use of not only visuals but audio, too.

Jim Carrey is excellent as the introverted Joel Barish. He’s not at all over the top in this performance. In fact, he’s cast against type in this role. He runs the full range of emotions as Joel. Jim goes from joy to heartbreak to rage to desperation to love seamlessly. He’s believable in everything he does and he makes a sympathetic hero. You root for him to get back together with Clementine through everything. Kate Winslet is also great as Clementine Kruczynski. With brightly colored hair and a free spirit, she also seems cast against type. Despite her oddities, flaws, and impulsiveness, you can’t help but like her. It’s easy to see why Joel would like her, too. She pulls him out of his shell ad makes his life complete. Together this unlikely duo makes a great team.

The supporting cast is also excellent. Elijah Wood is appropriately slimy and likable at the same time as Patrick. He’s the anti-Frodo in this picture. Mark Ruffalo is geeky and irresponsible as Stan, yet he, too, is likable. Kirsten Dunst is also ditzy as Mary. There’s an interesting sub plot between her as Tom Wilkinson as Dr. Howard Mierzwiak that helps expand the overall story.

In the end Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was quite a pleasant surprise. It’s one of those movies that you want to go back and watch again just so that you can catch all the clues once you know where to look for them. It’s also one of those movies that make you re-examine your own life and relationships well after you finish the film. But this is a movie that requires your full attention and an open mind willing to accept the quirky and outlandish story it has to offer.

The Extras:
There are a fair number of extras included on this DVD:

Commentary by director Michel Gondry and writer Charlie Kaufman – This is a decent commentary, but Michel Gondry’s French accent is a little hard to get used to. Some audiences may find it really hard to understand him. Anyway, they discuss a lot about the making of the film, the story ideas, etc. It would have been a lot better with Carrey and Winslet, though.

A Look Inside Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – This is your typical “making of” featurette. One of the highlights for me was seeing Michel Gondry playing on the oversized kitchen set. There’s also a lot of footage of the cast and crew clowning around on the various sets, too. It’s obvious they had a lot of fun making this movie. It’s also obvious that there were a lot of deleted scenes in this movie that weren’t included in the “deleted scenes” section. You get brief glimpses of them here and there.

A conversation with Jim Carrey and Michel Gondry – Carry and Gondry reminisce about making the movie. Carrey is a lot of fun and you see him and Winslet rehearsing for their roles in behind the scenes video. This featurette is also quite candid as Carrey even jokes about fights on the set. Good to see they’re still able to laugh about them.

Deleted scenes – There are just a handful of deleted scene – about 7 minutes worth. One shows Joel calling his old girlfriend Naomi up on the phone. This doesn’t seem to fit into the continuity of the movie, but maybe that explains why it was deleted. Another scene shows more of Joel at the Lacuna offices talking about his relationship with Clementine on tape. Another deleted scene is a memory of Joel and Clementine sneaking into a play. These scenes don’t enhance the story, but they’re still worth checking out.

Lacuna infomercial – This is an infomercial for the memory erasing company Lacuna.

The Polyphonic Spree “Light & Day” Music video – This is probably one of the more amusing music videos I’ve seen that is tied into a movie. Clips from the film are shown and the lips of the characters have been manipulated to look like they are singing the song. It’s silly and bizarre and very appropriate for a Jim Carrey movie. The music is interesting, too, but I’m sure you’ve heard it in a commercial or on a radio by now.

The Bottom Line:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a pleasant surprise and it features strong performances by Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, and the supporting cast. It’s a quirky romantic comedy well worth checking out.

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