Essay on The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

Essay on The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

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The “Dream Factory” is described as the psychological intersection of the phantasy (dream) and reality (factory). Films represent this combination of the forces of society by posing the difference between phantasy and reality. In the film, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), after a nasty break up, Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) has her memory erased of boyfriend Joel Barish (Jim Carrey). After learning of Clementine’s actions, Joel has the same procedure performed at the seemingly low scale medical company, Lacuna. The name Lacuna also means a gap or a missing part, and both Clementine and Joel wish to eliminate each other from their memories. Writer Charlie Kaufman and director Michel Gondry have created a film that exemplifies the human desire to escape reality into phantasy, only to find themselves eternally trapped in their own realities; this showcases the inescapable history through the3 conscious and subconscious according to Lacanian and Althusserian theories.
The reality that constructs Joel and Clementine’s notion of phantasy—erasing their memories of each other, is exposed through the dialogue of Lacuna’s employees. Mary Sevevo (Kirsten Dunst) the receptionist at Lacuna tells a customer on the phone, “No I am sorry you just cannot have the operation performed three times in one night. It’s just not our policy”. Mary’s conversation implies the faultiness of the procedure. Despite the attempt to break out of a narrative, there is always a sense of loss and failure for the mind-erasing customer. People in the waiting room hold boxes of their soon to be forgotten memories, ranging from a box with a sports trophy to a box with dog items, while Joel holds his two garbage bags full of his tangible memori...


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... stays together. Because this film depicts a love story—from decline to renewal, a romantic theme influences the audience. However, for a character like Mary, her script is not romantic, and juxtaposed against the romantic, creates a stark reality of a scriptural narrative. Initially, the title of this film, The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, references Lacuna’s “spotless mind” procedure. However, the audience learns that the title originates from Alexander Pope from a poem that describes a tragic love story, where forgotten memories comfort the protagonist. This notion in mimicked in the film, because even in the characters’ phantasies—of erased memories, the characters cannot truly escape their realities—subconscious emotions of their love. Despite the character’s attempts to create their notion of reality—phantasy, reality remains dominant, and inevitable.

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