Memory In The Movie: Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

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The film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind focuses on the interesting topic of memory. The film follows two main characters, Joel and Clementine, who have both chosen to erase part of their memory. What both characters, and other characters in the movie, find out though is that our memory is complex and very flexible to what we make of it. The film reflects the tendency that we have as humans, to think that we are in control of our memory. The truth is that our memory is not like a video tape of the events in our lives nor is it a library of the knowledge we have collected. As I watched the movie, I couldn’t help but think; our memory is more like a ball of clay. Our minds can take the clay and make it into a shape and we can stare at that shape and know that shape but our minds will play with that clay and mold it into something different eventually. The idea portrayed in the movie is that no memory is safe from our meddling minds. The film emphasizes on the power of our long-term memory and our episodic memories. Would we be happier if we forgot about traumatic past experiences? Or are our long-term memories so tangled up with emotions and sensations that our brain is unable to truly let go of long-term memories? The film also looks at the difference between explicit and implicit memories. Although the film plays out in non-linear progression and is somewhat confusing at times, the audience quickly catches on to the plot. Joel and Clementine are in a relationship for two years before finally deciding to break it off. Like most couples, the two shared a lot of good memories but the fights that lead to their breakup were too emotionally heavy for free-spirited Clementine to bear any more. She pays some futuristic company ... ... middle of paper ... ... to look past all the terrible things in their past and they chose love again. This film challenges the audience to actively get involved with the two characters, Joel and Clem. We see both characters try and take control of their memory. First by undergoing the procedure and then especially when Joel tries to keep his memories of Clem. But the characters find out that memory is more complicated than we think it is. We can mold out memories, change our memories, repress our memories and remember things we didn’t even know we experienced. In some ways, the writers challenge us to think about our own memories. If we were given the chance would we erase some of our painful memories? I think we are unable to detangle our memories. I think that our memories are stacked and tangled with each other and deleting or tampering with those memories is dangerous and unnatural.
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