This seductively spellbinding - if loony - love story, by screenwriter
Charlie Kaufman and French director Michel Gondry defines the difference
between movies and creative cinema. It's an exciting, sophisticated art form,
not easily accessible but ultimately emotionally rewarding.
Jim Carrey stars as Joel, a muddled New York commuter who - on a wintry
Valentine's Day - impulsively takes a train in the opposite direction.
Wandering Montauk's desolate beach at the tip of Long Island, he spots
Clementine - that's Kate Winslet. The attraction is mutual; a sweet romance
develops. Soon they're making snow angels on the frozen Charles River in
Then the timeline goes awry. It's three days before Valentine's Day.
Apparently, Joel already knows Clementine but she's visited a company called
Lacuna and had him eradicated from her memory. Distraught, he makes an
appointment to have his memory of loving her erased. Cautiously asking the
doctor (Tom Wilkinson) about the inherent danger, he's told, "Technically
speaking, the procedure is brain damage." But the technicians (Mark Ruffalo,
Elijah Wood) are ready, enmeshed with receptionist (Kirsten Dunst) in their own
subplot. Yet, as his brain goes into rewind, Joel discovers that some memories,
positive and negative, may be worth keeping.
Cast-against-type, Carrey and Winslet deliver poignant performances.
Gondry's striking visual ingenuity, implemented by cinematographer Ellen Kuras,
is superbly suited to Kaufman's cleverly intricate and ambiguous narrative on
relationships. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Eternal Sunshine of the
Spotless Mind" is a strange, surreal, intriguing 9. While the title phrase
comes from Alexander Pope's poem "Eloisa to Abelard," it's a terrific
Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger