Friday, August 06, 2004

No primer this time... however, SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

.:Film Review: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind:.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
No hype. All substance. You can't forget to remember this movie.

This star-studded film is one of the most brilliant and most introspective films I have ever had the pleasure of viewing in a long, long time. “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind” is riddled with so many twists and intricacies that never fail to keep the audience guessing what would happen next.

Starring Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, and Elijah Wood, “Eternal Sunshine...” is the story of a couple, Joel and Clementine (Carrey and Winslet.), who meet in a train and get to know each other for the first time... or so it seems.

The two of them hit it off so well for a first encounter. They have a date, and they end up getting really close. Then things begin to come full circle.

Joel and Clem have known each other in the past. They used to love each other, but things have happened that made them want to forget the things they've shared. Clem ended up going to Dr. Howard, the inventor of a radical new device that enables him to eradicate her memories of Joel from her mind. It didn't take long before Joel found out about it, and one of Dr. Howard's assistants, Paul (Elijah Wood.), ended up falling for Clem, and the moment Joel gave all his personal effects that had to do with Clem to Dr. Howard, Paul eagerly used this information to woo Clementine.

At the same time, Dr. Howard's secretary, Anna (Kirsten Dunst.), has a terrible crush on Dr. Howard. Little did she know that they were once together, and she had her memories of him deleted herself. This rather odd romance comes to a head when Joel himself undergoes the eradication process one night.

The sheer drama is how everything comes full circle. As Joel runs from memory to memory with Clementine, he realizes that he doesn't want to forget about Clem after all. But it's too late. In a poignant moment, he ends up holding onto Clem until the last possible moment in his mind before she finally disappears. Clem had one final message to him before they were meant to part forever...

... and then they meet in a train: the very fruit of that final message.

Everything is back to square one. Now, here are two people who once loved each other, realizing that they're falling all over again. As Anna has decided to reveal to all of Dr. Howard's patients what they have forgotten, the two realize what has happened to the both of them. They now end up asking themselves if this is worth a second try, and we never quite know the answer from them for sure.

The film was brilliantly written, and it really hit a spot with me emotionally. I really felt the anguish Jim Carrey was putting forth as he struggled to hold on to every memory he had of Clementine by trying to keep her in his mind through various means possible. Jim Carrey's acting was nothing short of sublimely subdued. He didn't need to ham up his acting the way he usually does, and he simply managed to get his point across every single time a scene required him to make the audience feel for him.

Kate Winslet was unsinkable as the wild child Clementine, as her persona simply translated to sheer power onscreen. She knew precisely how to set the tone for any scene that she comes into play.

Kirsten Dunst as the mildly obsessed fangirl was splendid. While she did her regular braless scene (Does she always have to do that?), I can err... overlook that as to how she managed to do a slow burn with Dr. Howard. Her interaction with the doctor was sheer magic, especially when she found out that they used to be together. She and the doctor sort of reminded me of two people I know... but I digress.

All in all, if you want a film with some gray matter for a change, this is the film for you. The special effects are all great and within reason, and I must say that I immensely enjoyed the pacing of the story and the depth by which it carried itself. The film's mere premise itself is worth a whole semester of philosophizing, and I really cannot help but sometimes wonder how much better or worse life can be if memories could be deleted just like that...

Would erasing someone from your mind somehow enable you to erase that someone from your heart as well? Or would the universe have some funny way of making everything just come full circle, the way it has for Joel and Clementine? Is it really the answer, or is it just a quick fix that would forever remain an invisible wound that festers in your core?

Is life simply a collection of memories and events? Then why does one choose to love someone to the end, despite the fact that the one they love is afflicted by Alzheimer’s and has ceased to remember who he was? Is one’s being merely a historical event that can be whisked under the rug given advanced enough technology? Or is there more to life than just chasing down every temporary high to satisfy one’s self?

Catch this film if you can. I only wish there was more hype for this film, because it is officially one of my favorite films of all time now...

Marcelle's “Fun” Evaluation: A+
Marcelle “Critical Evaluation: A+

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