Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst

Reviewer: Sacha Haworth

Imagine if you could forget all the bad memories you have and instead only remember the good times. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind explores a world where an American doctor develops a technique which allows patients to erase memories they don’t want and start afresh. After a bad end to their relationship, Joel (Carrey) and Clementine (Winslet) decided to have each other erased. The film is mostly a surreal trip through Joel’s memories although some twisting sub-plots are unearthed as time progresses.

As the story evolved, many interesting questions are raised about a whole range of issues. I was moved by Joel’s attempts to hide Clementine from the technicians erasing her and also by the undignified medical malpractice going on in the real world whilst the procedure took place. For me, as a medical student, the film called into question issues about coma patients and the decisions people make in advance about living or dying after injury. The film scratched at the ever present ethics issues in medicine today, but enough of me talking shop.

I was expecting a comedy when I saw the trailer for this film (ELO’s Mr Blue Sky as the title theme was a little deceiving but its publicity from this film has gotten it a well-deserved revival.) but instead, I found myself immersed in a touching and moving film with not a trace of the usual Carrey-style humour. Normally, Jim Carrey’s larger than life personality somehow manages to penetrate his character. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is an exception. Carrey’s performance as the stumbling, dull, protagonist Joel allows us to see his top-notch acting skills. It seems that the over-the-top humour we normally see Carrey in have caused him to become a little typecast but Eternal Sunshine really breaks the normal Carrey-film mould. Winslet also packs a great performance as the happy-go-lucky Clementine. Other big name performers include Elijah Wood and Kirsten Dunst, both putting in flawless performances.

When the film finished, I was left with an overwhelming sense of happiness despite much of the last parts of the film being incredibly sad. This story really makes you appreciate the value of happy memories and how often we forget them in favour of remembering the bad times.

So, if you want your thoughts stirred and prodded this season make sure you take in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.