Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Essay

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Meet me in Montauk
Have you ever wanted a bad memory erased? Is love erasable? These questions are attacked head on in the wonderfully complex drama Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. After working together on the film Human Nature, director Michael Gondry and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman discussed the possibility whether or not they would have their memory erased of a bad relationship should the opportunity present itself (dvdtalk). Out of that discussion a movie idea was formulated, pitched to a studio, and a film was created showing the potential impact of doing so. Through Kaufman’s brilliant and strange storytelling, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind takes its audience on a journey challenging us to ask: what would we do if faced with such an opportunity? Though the film is not entirely in chronological order (it’s full of flashbacks and flash-forwards), by the end of the film the viewer is able to put the pieces together. Even though people often struggle and have some bad times with the person they love, eventually we realize ultimately the capacity to love and to give love, to the best of our ability.
This film has had an enormous impact on me. In the span of roughly four years, my parents divorced, I lost a cousin, an uncle, my grandmother, and our family pet. I was in a lot of emotional pain. At that time, I had an adolescent understanding of love and relationships and was confused and hurt about what was happening in my life. Part of me wanted to erase all discomfort I was feeling. I talked about this film for weeks and it rapidly became one of my favorites.
The story opens on Valentine’s Day of 2004, when Joel Barish (Jim Carrey), a lonely middle aged disheartened man, skips work and takes the trai...

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...n known more as the silly-excentric guy and less as a serious actor. One could speculate had the film been released later in the year, he may have gotten an Oscar nomination nod. After numerous viewings, I have come to appreciate the contributions of film editor Valdis Oskarsdottir and cinematographer Ellen Kuras (Wikipedia). I believe it is their ability to put together the movie with an overlay of story that helps to give the movie its punch, and its depth. For me, this film is unerasable.

1. IMDb
2. Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry Interview
3. Wikipedia
4. Jim Carrey Interview
5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind DVD Commentary

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