Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry bring you one of the most unique love stories of all time. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” tells of the plight of one man, Joel Barish, after the love of his life, the quirky Clementine, impulsively has him erased from her memory. Disarmed, Joel decides to then erase Clementine from his memory. But as the memories revert closer and closer to their initial acquaintance, Joel discovers that not all memories are bad and that sometimes it’s necessary to hold onto them, even when they’re bittersweet.
Directed by: Michel Gondry Written by: Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry.
The cast includes: Jim Carrey , Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, and Tom Wilkinson.
Tagline: Meet me in Montauk.
Meet Joel Barish (Jim Carrey). He’s a middle-aged jaded man who goes through the monotony of life scared that everything is a personal assault on his well being and emotional stability. Not an impulsive man by any means, even Joel finds it odd when he randomly ditches work and takes the first train out to Montauk. In Montauk Joel keeps running into this quirky girl with a bright orange sweatshirt and equally bright blue hair. Her name is Clementine Krashinski (Kate Winslet) and she happens to have an uncanny feeling that they’ve met before.
An uncomfortable air surrounds the two and their precarious conversations on the bus ride back home. But eventually the two head to Clementine’s house for drinks and she impulsively declares she will marry him, after they head out to the lake for a nighttime picnic. Following her fancy whims Joel lets Clementine take him on a unique experience with the blue-haired seductress. The next day she coyly suggests she go back to his place. While upstairs fetching her toothbrush a strange boy raps on Joel’s window and inquires as to why he is at Clementine’s apartment.
Pan backwards in time to a distraught Joel Barish who is beat up about the latest breakup with his girlfriend Clementine. After an unfortunate quarrel, Clementine seems to have impulsively sought to erase him from her mind, hiring Lacuna to do the damage. When Joel prepares to make amends he walks into her work only to find her staring blankly at him as if she’s never seen him before. That’s when Joel seeks out Lacuna corporations and questions Dr. Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson) as to why Clementine no longer recognizes him. Understanding her to have completely wiped him from her memory, Joel decides the only way he can move past the tragedy of their breakup laden with memorabilia and memories of better days once spent, Joel, too, decides to wipe Clementine from his mind.
Returning the next day with bags of memorabilia connected to the memory of Clementine, Joel once more fills out the forms that Lacuna’s head secretary Mary (Kirsten Dunst) assigns. Once the menial tasks are complete, Joel is assigned to Stan (Mark Ruffalo) who will oversee the technical portion of the memory erasing procedure. Instructed to put on the Lacuna pajamas and take a certain pill prior to sleep, Joel heads home prepared to obliterate Clementine’s memory. Meanwhile, in his semi-comatose state, Stan and Patrick (Elijah Wood) head to Joel’s apartment to begin the procedure. One by one Stan traces down Joel’s memories and deletes them via his cognitive map. Meanwhile Joel is trying to comprehend what’s happening as he begins to experience heavy dejavous in his dreams/memories which are morphing and disappearing before his eyes.
As Joel walks from one room to snow-filled beaches, to libraries, all the memories linked to Clementine become juxtaposed as they appear and disappear, evolve and dissolve before Joel’s very eyes. Meanwhile Stan is erasing all the painful memories of Clementine and Joel’s volatile end. But working backwards, eventually Stan encounters memories that are pleasant, that tell of the reason the two were together in the first place. Joel begins to see how much he truly loves Clementine and begins to try to mentally fight the process; attempting to negate the procedure and hide ‘Clementine’, or the memory of, away in the smallest nooks of his memory where Stan can’t trace them down.
Meanwhile Patrick tells Stan that he has fallen for Clementine and that the two are now dating. Moreover he is stealing Joel’s former memorabilia and is using it to court Clementine, which begins to freak her out. Nevertheless she calls him over and he leaves Stan to finish the procedure alone, that is, until his girlfriend Mary shows up and the two get high and party on the bed right next to the unconscious Joel. But as the two philander in their stoned state, Joel is developing a resistance to the procedure and begins to try to wake up to stop the memory erasing. That’s when mayhem breaks out and memories keep reappearing and disappearing and morphing into other dreams, etc. Enter Dr. Mierzwiak who comes to save the day and get Joel back on track.
But while Dr. Mierzwiak hunts down Joel and Clementine in Joel’s memory bank, the two lovers begin to plot a way to preserve her memory before it’s too late. Trying to force her into memories where she doesn’t belong, and or conjuring her existence in the depths of his imagination, Joel’s memories turn into weird whimsical dreams as he and Clementine begin to role-play events of childhood and his imagination. Meanwhile Mary is gushing over Dr. Mierzwiak’s genius, only to discover that she was a former patient and that her current crush is only a reemergence of a former passion she once had for the Doctor with whom she had an affair. Traumatized by the notion that the procedure didn’t work, in so far as altering her true feelings, Mary quits her job and leaves Lacuna and her boyfriend Stan. Meanwhile Clementine has begun to notice the weirdness in Patrick’s uncanny yet familiar courting tactics and begins to dismiss the strange man. As for poor Joel, he’s hoping that Clementine’s hint to ‘meet him in Montauk’ will survive the memory erasing procedure after he awakens.
As daylight breaks, Joel wakes up a new man, with no memory of his former fling with the multi-color haired raven Clementine. But for some random reason he impulsively skips work and takes a bus to Montauk where he meets this strange girl in an orange sweatshirt that seems to think she knows him from somewhere.
Having come full circle, will the two lovers be able to reunite and successfully attempt a second go at the relationship, or will the fact that Mary releases everyone’s records (including painful tapes of Joel and Clementine bad-mouthing each other) ruin the chance for a happy reunion? As Clementine and Joel try to wrap their heads around what they have done and what they have been to each other, they learn together that one thing is certain: you can’t pick who you love no more than you can erase it.
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND is a fantastical journey into the heart and soul. Winning an Oscar for Best Screenplay, as well as another 35 wins and 45 nominations, Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry bring to life yet another whimsically eccentric and compelling film. This time it’s a tragic love story that begins at the end, where things have gone sour and the sweet smell of love has long since faded. Working its way back in time, in both the chronology of the plot and Joel’s memories, Kaufman and Gondry portray a relationship in reversal; from spiteful nemeses to supportive and infatuated lovers. Jim Carrey delivers a fantastic performance as the high-strung, overly sensitive and uptight Joel Barish. Kate Winslet is vivid in her portrayal of possibly one of the most unique characters of contemporary drama, Clementine Krashinski. Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, and Elijah Wood strengthen the cast as does Tom Wilkinson with his performance as the man weary of his own miracles.
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND is funny, tragic, palatable, intriguing, compelling, and most importantly, memorable. This unique script about memory erasing is quite possibly the most memorable script of all time and rivals the futuristic sci-fi plots of blockbusters like “Vanilla Sky,” etc. The cinematography and visual effects are second to none as Gondry and Kaufman bring to life this unique vision of dreamland-meets faulty memories. This film is a rare treat for true film lovers and general movie groupies alike. ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND has a little bit of everything for everyone and its primary concept, true love, is as tangible as ever in a film that brilliantly portrays the necessity of the bittersweet-ness of a relationship.
Jim Carrey plays Joel Barish, Clementine’s former overly-cautious anxiety-stricken boyfriend who, after Clementine erases him from her memory, decides to erase Clementine to get past the tragedy of their breakup.
Kate Winslet plays Clementine Krashinski, Joel’s eccentrically captivating and impulsive girlfriend who, after a final love quarrel, has him erased from her memory.
Kirsten Dunst plays Mary, Dr. Mierzwiak’s secretary and number one fan, whose incessant crush refuses to let up even after she undergoes his ‘erasing’ procedure.
Mark Ruffalo plays Stan, Mary’s boyfriend and head of the technological procedure of the Lacuna operations.
Elijah Wood plays Patrick, Stan’s coworker who falls in love with Clementine while her mind is being erased and steals Joel’s stuff to impersonate his courting tactics so as to win over his former girlfriend.
Tom Wilkinson plays Dr. Howard Mierzwiak, the man behind the Lacuna project, who erases the painful memories of the past via ‘minor’ brain damage and memory erasure.