“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is an insightful, surreal film


Focus Features

Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet star in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

Hailey Griffin, Arts Editor

I’m not a huge fan of romance movies. They’re all the same to me; a girl meets the man of her dreams, they fall in love, and live happily ever after. But “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is different.

That’s probably why I like it so much. It’s unlike any other romance that I’ve seen before. With its non-chronological cutaways, surreal and whimsical concepts and insightful moments, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” inspires several realizations.

But these realizations are not the only reasons why this movie is memorable. The cinematography, too, is unforgettable. The way that one scene transitions into the next complements the movie’s surreal and constant shift from real-time to vivid memories. As a viewer, you must figure out which scene is a memory and which scene is not.

And while you figure this out, you can’t help but be touched as you watch the main characters, Joel (played by Jim Carrey) and Clementine (played by Kate Winslet), fall in and out of love, then forget each other.

The way that these characters forget each other is where more surrealism comes into play. Both Joel and Clementine acquire a service that completely erases their memories of each other.

The movie itself it does not move in chronological order, per se, but it features a chronological timeline of the main characters’ memories together. It’s bittersweet to watch the toxicity within newer memories progress into older memories, memories of times when they were happy.

Throughout the movie, you watch Joel and Clementine run through Joel’s subconscious as they relive these memories and face the inevitable erasure that coincides with this particular service.

After it all, when the deed is done, and their memories are erased, Joel and Clementine still manage to reconnect.

I think the thematic development within “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” says a lot about human nature and the fact that we are subject to our own psychological drives and impulses. Our memories are a large part of who we are, how we process the world around us and how we act on these impulses.

But even without our memories, we’re still driven to do what our brains and our hearts tell us. And sometimes, like with Joel and Clementine, our brains and hearts tell us to pursue love, even when we know it will cause us pain.