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Film Canon: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

     If you’ve seen the new banner I’ve uploaded, you’ll notice a plethora of television series and movies.  They are quite simply my favorite films and shows of all time, those that have a special place in my heart and those that represent the best of the best in either medium.  I will be starting a Film Canon series on this blog that will feature particularly outstanding pieces of film or television that I highly recommend any student of these mediums to watch and appreciate.  The first featured film also happens to be my favorite film of all time: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind by director Michel Gondry.

     The film stars Jim Carrey, in what might be his most understated role ever, and Kate Winslet, whose transition from seemingly archetypal Maic Pixie Dream Girl to a more complex, independent woman is seamless.  Carrey’s Joel, a sensitive writer, and Winslet’s Clementine, a wacky-haired free spirit, meet on a train to Montauk, New York and form a romantic relationship.  Everything is hunky-dory for the couple until a particularly vicious fight causes her to take drastic measures.  She contacts Lacuna, Inc., a company that can erase all memories of a single person through a brain procedure, wishing to erase Joel from her memory and her life.  Once Joel finds out, he too elects to have the procedure done to erase his memories of Clementine.  What follows is a glimpse into Joel’s memory as he tries to hold onto the good memories they had with each other.  
     Executed differently, this could have been a disastrous movie with its intricate mix of romantic comedy, science fiction, and quirky dramedy.  Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman won an Academy Award for writing this film, and I’d be hard-pressed to find a more deserving award in the Academy’s history.  Many will dismiss this as a chick-flick for its examination of a complex relationship, but its science fiction elements and its witty insight into the human experience makes this a modern-day classic that both sexes can enjoy.  I encourage anyone and everyone to watch Eternal Sunshine.  I’ve seen it too many times to count but its message and its unique filming style never get old.

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