Tuesday, January 03, 2012

1676 - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This is absolutely one of my favourite films.  I remember the first time I saw it and just having my socks blown off.  It's one of those films that makes a writer just feel absolutely ashamed that they haven't written something as clever, honest, and rich as it.  I normally revisit this film regularly anyway, but I did so tonight in preparation for a project I'm going to start up to be inspired with a metaphysical love story.  For those that have never seen this film it's about a man who learns that his ex has had him erased from their memory and decides to have the same procedure, only to change his mind half way through. 
In a lot of ways it's a really simple and basic concept - who doesn't have things they wish they'd forgotten?  Probably the reason that this film is so well loved is because it speaks so well to so many people. 
Having seen Michel Gondrey's more recent work it's clear that the man is not much of a writer, however as a director with a great script it's easy to see how well he can take his unique visual style and really evaluate a project.  There is an enormous attention to detail in this film, in particular with how the memories of each scene transition to the next, how items, or weather, etc… carries over.  I can't imagine how complicated all of that stuff was to do from a projection stand-point.  Kudos to Gondrey and his team for making it look effortless.
This film is full of talented actors and yet it has most of them delivering the performances of their careers.  Jim Carrey has never been better before nor since.  Kate Winslet is so adorable here, and fantastic as well.  Kirsten Dunst is heartbreaking and lovely.  Elijah Wood plays the role of the pathetic wanna-be to a tee (he's truly wonderful here) and Tom Wilkinson and Mark Ruffalo round out the cast in a really great way as well (not to mention small roles from the always awesome David Cross and Jane Adams). 
What I love most of this film and I hope that I carry over into my own project, is how well approached the core idea is, and how it translates to the stories of all of the characters - it's all wonderfully interrelated, and yet everyone involved has a different take and thought process on how it all works - if it's a good thing, etc…  I love the side stories as much as the main story, and that can't always be said of films.
This is an absolute gem of a film and it never gets boring no matter how many times that I've watched it.  If you like smart films and you've never seen this one you really really have to - it's on netflix as well.  Enjoy!

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