Sunday, January 10, 2010

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

I know that I've strayed a bit from the "Classic Hollywood" mold as of late, but with a New PS3 brings Netflix Watch Now, which brings to me and my brother staying up late and watching movies, and since he's not a classic film fan....

Anyway, this should be my 100th entry, and luckily it's about a film that I loved.

Joel (Jim Carrey) has recently broken up with Clementine (Kate Winslet) and in a spur of the moment decision, she decides to undergo a radical new procedure and have her mind wiped of any memories of her past love. Joel, feeling slighted, undergoes the same process but becomes self-aware and decides that he still loves Clementine and he fights to preserve his memories.

The film can be a bit hard to follow, because once Joel undergoes the procedure, all of his scenes are taking place in his memories, which are rapidly being erased, which causes the world around him to break apart as the memories is being deleted. In addition, he cannot see anything beyond his memories. For example, he is recalling a fight he had with Clementine where she stormed off down the road, Joel didn't follow her so any attempts he makes to go after her fail because his memory doesn't contain that information.

Outside this cerebral spectacle, we have Stan (Mark Ruffalo), the technician assigned to erase Joel's memories, Mary (Kirsten Dunst), the receptionist for the Mind-Wiping company, and Patrick (Elijah Wood), another worker who has stolen Joel's identity and is using Joel's erased memories to try and woo a recently mind-wiped Clementine. Their stories are just as funny and as interesting as the main plot, thankfully.

But at the center of the film, we have two outstanding performances from Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. Jim Carrey almost seems to become Jack Lemmon-y as he evokes a puppy-dog sense of sadness and loneliness, someone who is neurotic and tightly wound which is probably what causes him to fall for Clementine who is wild and impulsive. Kate Winslet creates a fully formed character, we see the humor, the quirkiness and the spontaneity that draw people to her, but we also get to see her pettiness, her restlessness with life, and her insecurities. It's a beautiful performance, especially during the scenes where a Self-Aware memory of Clementine travels with Joel from buried memory to buried memory in an attempt to "hide" from the brain-wiping machine. Everytime a memory of Clementine is erased and we see her suddenly disappear, out heartstrings are tugged as we will for the two to end up together.

For such a surreal movie (thankfully, it's not so bizarre that we are totally lost on what is going on), it needed a strong emotional core to ground it, and luckily we have Carrey and Winslet who are astounding as the mis-matched couple. Also, the supporting acting is very strong, with Kirsten Dunst showing a great range from comedy to drama as her character begins to show unexpected depth.

It's a wonderful, wonderful film that deservedly won the Oscar for best Original Screenplay and it creates a couple that I actually rooted for, which if you've read this blog, then you know that it's a big deal.

Hopefully I'll have 100 more posts (and hopefully 100 more followers). Thank you for reading and I'll see you again.

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