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Late Review, with spoilers

May 11th, 2004 (02:23 am)

current mood: tired

On Friday evening my sister and I went to the cinema and saw:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the latest film to have a screenplay by Charlie Kaufman, of Being John Malkovich fame. Eternal Sunshine.... stars Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst and Tom Wilkinson, and concerns Joel and Clementine, two people who meet, seemingly for the first time, on a snowy beach on Long Island in winter; except, as we learn, this is not their first meeting. They have recently ended a two-year relationship and both - Clementine first, Joel second - have had their memories of the other erased by Lacuna Inc., a business operated by Tom Wilkinson's character, Howard, and staffed by Ruffalo, Wood and Dunst.

The narrative drive of the film follows Joel's dreaming as his memories of Clementine are erased, in reverse; we see episodes from their relationship, beginning with the break-up, and moving from the mundane routine of minor and major stresses, back to the joys of mutual discovery at the beginning. Along the journey, Joel realises that he does not want to lose his memories of Clementine; the sequences become enjoyably but disturbingly bizarre as Joel attempts to shuffle his memories to hide his love for Clementine from Howard's device. Faces become crude and unfinished; buildings disintegrate as they are eliminated from Joel's memory; an attempt to disguise Clementine in a childhood memory, by making her a friend of Joel's mother, goes wrong as both Joel and Clementine are washed down the kitchen sink.

Like Malkovich, the film treats its fantastic premise both lightly and with great earnestness. As Joel's memory is erased we see the effect that her memory loss has on Clementine; her points of reference are gone, and new boyfriend Patrick (Elijah Wood) relies on crib notes from confiscated pages of Joel's journal.

The conclusion is ambiguous but as in Malkovich Kaufman takes the story a little further than might have been expected.

I didn't get to sleep for hours after seeing the film, as I reconsidered my mixed experiences of couplehood. I had identified strongly with Joel and Clementine, and I've always found it true that the memories of the bad things in a relationship fade before those of the good ones. My increased sentimentality certainly made it more likely that I would send Cellis a birthday card today. I'm not always that good with sending cards to people who are not close family, but I found one which seemed appropriate for her.

Now, another attempt at bed!


Posted by: Polly (jane_somebody)
Posted at: May 11th, 2004 03:02 pm (UTC)

Not related to your post at all, but I imagine you've seen this?:


Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 11th, 2004 03:30 pm (UTC)
Death of Anthony Ainley

I did indeed. Incredibly, lots of fans thought the news might be a hoax, as Mr Ainley had been dead a week before anyone got to hear of it, and that was through the national press and not through the fan grapevine. The birth year of 1932 surprised people as well, as he'd always given 1937.

I regret that Anthony Ainley was never allowed to originate a new persona for the Master - instead, he was asked to play the part as a caricature of a half-remembered Roger Delgado Master, which was a mistake.