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Thread: My take on Eternal Sunshine

  1. #1
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    My take on Eternal Sunshine

    ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

    Directed by Michael Gondry (2004)

    "They say that breaking up is hard to do. Now I know, I know that it's true" - Neil Sedaka


    The ability to manipulate memory has long been the stuff of science fiction, inspiring fears of government mind control and films such as the 1962 classic The Manchurian Candidate. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) seeks the help of a company called Lacuna Inc. to erase the memory of ex-girl friend Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) after their relationship has faltered. The film, directed by Michael Gondry and written by Charlie Kaufman, is an exhilarating rush of a movie, a mind-bending trip that centers on Joel's memories as they fade from existence and his discovery that what he and Clementine had was very special despite some difficult moments. Jim Carrey delivers one of his best performances as Joel recalling his dramatic triumph in The Truman Show and Kate Winslet captures the zaniness of her character to perfection.

    When we first meet Joel and Clementine, they are drawn to each other at a lonely train station in Montauk, Long Island. They could not be more dissimilar. He is a shy, introspective loner who cannot look a woman in the eye. She is outgoing and aggressive with a rebellious spirit that manifests itself in blue hair (this changes with each mood swing during the course of the film). We learn later that the fifteen-minute pre-credit opening was a flashback and that Joel and Clementine have gone through a two-year relationship that ended in a bitter breakup. Joel hopes to win her back but when he shows up at the bookstore where she works to offer her a gift, she acts as if she doesn't even know him. Joel learns that Clementine has used the services of Lacuna, Inc, a scientific company that specializes in selective memory erasure, to wipe out any trace of his memory from her brain. He decides that he cannot bear to remember Clementine and wants the procedure himself.

    Enlisting the services of Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson) and his staff Stan (Mark Ruffalo) and Patrick (Elijah Wood), he agrees to have her memory zapped. Drugged into unconsciousness, Joel lays on his bed wired to a laptop with a helmet on his head that looks like a hair dryer from the 1940s, and begins to relive his history with Clem. The film races through fifteen minutes of impressionistic and often gimmicky camera tricks as Joel re-experiences impressions from the past and attempts to hide the memory of Clementine in inaccessible parts of his brain. In one scene, Joel remembers going into a deserted beach house with Clem but as they argue about whether or not they should be there, the building falls apart around them as the memory is erased. Another incident takes place in Clem's bookstore where the books gradually disintegrate into nothing but blank pages. Gondry shifts back and forth in time from Joel's fantasies to subplots involving the relationship between a receptionist (Kirsten Dunst) and the doctor and between Patrick and Clementine that only serve as a brief diversion from the breakneck pace.

    As Joel gets in touch with positive things he and Clem enjoyed together, he is reluctant to give up his memories and discovers that beyond his thoughts and feelings lies something deeper, an experience of love that he had not previously been in touch with. Joel finds out that his memory is not just synapses and nerve endings but part of the very essence of his identity, that he can erase conscious memory but not the experience itself. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a somewhat confusing but highly entertaining film that provides an apt metaphor for the union of two beings who learn to rediscover and accept the deepest part of themselves.

    GRADE: B+

    NOTE: If you think the premise of this film is absurd, think twice. A recent article in the Miami Herald reports studies have been conducted in the U.S. and France with a drug called propranolol that can block the hormones that etch memories in the brain and perhaps deaden the effects of old memories. Ignorance may be bliss after all.
    "They must find it hard, those who have taken authority as truth, rather than truth as authority" Gerald Massey

  2. #2
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    Being Malkovich Plus

    Howard Schumann commentary captures the movie well but the B+ rating isn't well discussed, almost as if the movie's content and the evaluation were from two different movies. Without much to go on assessment wise, I had an opportunity to see this movie last night and I received it very well and I would have to offer up an A- or A for this Being Malkovich offspring. The innovative manner and approach, the minimalist technique in terms of science fiction special effects, the complete de-emphasizing the science fiction components and making this movie into a dramatic romantic moments is great.

    Elijah Wood and Kirsten Dunst offer intimate, different roles in allowing themselves to take co-starring, supporting roles.

    This exhilirating visual ride delights the mind and is a whirl wind of emotional activity that spirals in a much different direction than other memory-manipulating movies (with The Manchurian Candidate really no comparison). A likely Golden Globe nominee, this movie as a number of films this year rank highly in the annals of great films.

  3. #3
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    Re: Being Malkovich Plus

    Originally posted by tabuno
    Howard Schumann commentary captures the movie well but the B+ rating isn't well discussed, almost as if the movie's content and the evaluation were from two different movies. Without much to go on assessment wise, I had an opportunity to see this movie last night and I received it very well and I would have to offer up an A- or A for this Being Malkovich offspring. The innovative manner and approach, the minimalist technique in terms of science fiction special effects, the complete de-emphasizing the science fiction components and making this movie into a dramatic romantic moments is great.
    I basically agree with what you said. I gave it a B+ because I found it often confusing and gimmicky and I felt somewhat distanced from the characters. I love its message, though.
    "They must find it hard, those who have taken authority as truth, rather than truth as authority" Gerald Massey

  4. #4
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    Pronanolol is a beta blocker used mainly to control hypertension. It has grown out of favor over the past decade and other drugs have taken its place due to the all the negative side effects associated with the drug. This drug has a very low sensitivity ratio in patients and if taken in the wrong amounts can result in heart failure. Anyone messing with human hormones using this drug would be considered a "mad scientist" by most in the medical community.

    As to the film, I still haven't seen it. Sounds interesting.
    Colige suspectos semper habitos

  5. #5
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    Propranolol

    Originally posted by cinemabon
    Pronanolol is a beta blocker used mainly to control hypertension. It has grown out of favor over the past decade and other drugs have taken its place due to the all the negative side effects associated with the drug. This drug has a very low sensitivity ratio in patients and if taken in the wrong amounts can result in heart failure. Anyone messing with human hormones using this drug would be considered a "mad scientist" by most in the medical community.

    As to the film, I still haven't seen it. Sounds interesting.
    I can't access the article without paying a fee but perhaps you might seek it out if you are sufficiently interested.


    SCIENTISTS WANT TO LEARN THE PROCESS OF FORGETTING

    Source: ROBERT S. BOYD, rboyd@krwashington.com
    After decades of studying how memory works, scientists are trying to figure out how we forget. Their goal is to help people* Forget painful things they don't want to remember, from an embarrassing moment in high school or a mistake at work on up to a traumatic rape or accident. * Not forget things they do want to remember, such as where they left their keys or the name of the boss's spouse, and slow the devastation of Alzheimer's disease. Instead of just

    Published on August 15, 2004, Page 5A, Miami Herald, The (FL)
    "They must find it hard, those who have taken authority as truth, rather than truth as authority" Gerald Massey

  6. #6
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    Howard Schumann
    I basically agree with what you said. I gave it a B+ because I found it often confusing and gimmicky and I felt somewhat distanced from the characters. I love its message, though.
    A good and respectable response. What Mr. Schumann found confusing and gimmicky and somewhat distancing about this movie, I found much more compelling and intriguing just because of its confusion and distancing. The female character reminded me of a former girlfriend and her wild behavior made her both attractive and repulsive. The wild ride through memory was well presented in the chaos and surrealism that also attaches itself to real memories and fragments therefore. Thus what Mr. Schumann found detracting, I found were some of the strengths of the movie. I could identify with both characters and I felt both the immediate attractive and the real descent into conflict of typical relationships of this nature.

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by tabuno


    A good and respectable response. What Mr. Schumann found confusing and gimmicky and somewhat distancing about this movie, I found much more compelling and intriguing just because of its confusion and distancing. The female character reminded me of a former girlfriend and her wild behavior made her both attractive and repulsive. The wild ride through memory was well presented in the chaos and surrealism that also attaches itself to real memories and fragments therefore. Thus what Mr. Schumann found detracting, I found were some of the strengths of the movie. I could identify with both characters and I felt both the immediate attractive and the real descent into conflict of typical relationships of this nature.
    You make some good points. Thanks. By the way, you can call me Howard.
    "They must find it hard, those who have taken authority as truth, rather than truth as authority" Gerald Massey

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