Thursday, 5 July 2012

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) (Again!)

Being the narcissist that I am, I was reading over some of the stuff I've put on here and realised I didn't actually write that much about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Seeing as it's literally the best film I've seen, I figured it might deserve a bit more.

Most shops, websites or whatever list Eternal Sunshine as sci-fi romance film, but the sic-fi tag doesn't really fit too well. Yes, there is some not quite real technology used to make the plot actually go places but that's not what the film's about. We're talking much, much closer to The Notebook than something like Star Trek. So don't worry if lightsabers and shit are a bit of a turn off, there's none of that here.

What is here is a touching story about two completely incompatible people coming together for the first time because of how they broke up earlier. It sounds confusing, and for the first fifteen minutes it is, but once you get to grips with how the story's being told and what's real and what's a memory it's pretty straightforward. If you want a tip for it: keep track of Clementine's hair colour.

Clementine is one half of the the beautiful equation that makes up Eternal Sunshine, and she's easily one of my favourite character's in film. Kate Winslet manages to fuse her fantastic talent with the grounded, realistic writing of Charlie Kaufman and create a masterpiece. For once, you get a quirky, exciting and impulsive girl who wears her heart on her sleeve who also feels like an actual human being. Usually, these women are carefree all the time and ridiculously fragile flower children who are completely unbelievable (e.g. Natalie Portman's character in Garden State, Kirsten Dunst's character in Elizabethtown, and literally every role Zooey Deschanel has played ever). But Clementine is different, and is volatile and in her own words "a vindictive little bitch". It's a credit to Winslet that she can play such character with such range from the crazy highs to the pitiful lows while remaining mesmerising the whole time.

Jim Carrey, as the reserved Joel Barish, also deserves a lot of credit. Growing up on films like The Mask and Ace Ventura kind of poisons you against him as an actor. But seeing him in this, I think it's a shame that he'll most likely be remembered for pulling contorted faces with all the depth of a puddle because he's capable of so much more. It's like walking into the clown's dressing room to find him playing Tchaikovsky.

It's on the back of these two performances and the fantasy writing that plants its feet firmly on the ground that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind makes such a statement. There are some truly great scenes in this film; some I'm sure will stay with me even if I never see it again. I don't think I'll ever be able to think of the scenes at the beach party and not feel at least a little bit sad.

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