Live From Celluloid Lane: "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
Last night I had the immense pleasure of experiencing this movie. And I'm gonna have to recommend it to pretty much anyone, unless you don't like extreme creativity or have something against films shot out of chronological sequence. Point being, we have a gem.
Now, there are Jim Carrey fans, and then there's me. I don't hate the fellow, but with the exception of "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective", I've never been a huge fan. The teeth, the wild arm waving.... you dig? But anyway, let's put all that aside because if I ever doubted Mr. Carrey's abilities to pull off a strong dramatic performance, this flick turned me right around. He's just perfect as Joel, a boring, square dude trying to make love work with a wild mismatch of a girlfriend (Kate Winslet). Winslet is naturally fantastic as impulsive, often reckless Clementine, whose mood is as bipolar as her hair is bright (the color changes often through the film, helping you differentiate flashbacks from present time, though it serves more purpose than that).
The absurdity that these two radically different personalities would ever get together in the first place is validated as the relationship falls apart. But the story takes a bizarre turn when, post-breakup, Joel finds out that Clementine has undergone a surgical procedure to have him erased from her mind. Almost out of spite, Joel has the same procedure performed to rid himself of his own painful memories. Sound weird? Very. But as "Eternal Sunshine" is another Charlie Kaufman screenplay (Human Nature, Being John Malkovich, Adaptation), this is only the beginning. The real magic gets underway as unconscious Joel, mid-procedure, comprehends the power of beautiful memories and attempts to reverse what is being zapped away by a computer...while still trapped inside his own brain. Brilliant. Can someone bring me what Kaufman had for lunch?
By the way, if you haven't indulged in his aforementioned flicks, stop right now and come back when you have. You'll thank me.
Prior to my "Eternal Sunshine" ticket, I'd read a few glowing reviews...though the critics all seemed to have trouble explaining the plotline. Now that I've been to the theater, I won't even try. It's one of those unexplainable stories that gain nothing from being explained. Somehow, "Eternal Sunshine" also pulls off a legitimate romantic tale, one in which the clear message is that love paves a certain path that we as humans cannot deviate from, despite the most sincere interference. It's all very heavy, and as I wiped away a tear on my way out of the theater (sobbed is more accurate), I was filled with a renewed sense of fragility coupled with an urgency to hold onto what's most dear to me.
And that's why I couldn't wait to gush about this movie to all of you...because it's really, really worthy. I haven't felt this way in a long time. Please feel free to discuss below.