When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.
In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem - but not all goes according to plan.
An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a alter-ego devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more...
Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.
A man, Joel Barish, heartbroken that his girlfriend Clementine underwent a procedure to erase him from her memory, decides to do the same. However, as he watches his memories of her fade away, he realizes that he still loves her, and may be too late to correct his mistake. Written by
This is the filmic equivalent of being stuck in a room with someone who thinks they have the most emotionally upsetting life imaginable and is doing everything in their power to persuade you they are truly tortured and pitiable. By the end of both experiences you just want to go home and feel utterly relieved you aren't so arrogant. Or you wish you were able to erase your own memory. (Sorry, a cheap film tie-in metaphor already.)
The film itself, like Being John Malkovich and Adaptation suffers from a hole in the centre. Charlie Kauffman seems to think it is clever to take a totally unlikely scenario and then develop it into a "quirky" film that is supposed to make little sense. In each instance he fails to grasp that you can't just take a scenario so utterly implausible as to defy any audience to relate or respond to it. Eternal Sunshine is a slightly easier premise to connect with than Being John Malkovich, after all who hasn't wondered what it would be like to erase painful relationships. However Kauffman sems to mistake nonsense for emotional and intellectual depth.
Someone told me that you have to watch Eternal Sunshine more than once to 'get it' and I promise that this isn't true. There is nothing you get the second time that you won't have got the first time. It is a fairly straight forward film. The only problem you might have is if you are colour blind and can't work out the time scale of the film from Kate Winslett's hair because you cannot tell that it is changing colour. The director might as well have put subtitles across the bottom of the screen saying "Two years ago" "Present day" because Gondry's visual 'clues' were about as subtle or 'clue-like' as subtitles.
Performance wise, Kate Winslett was her usual self, and Jim Carrey was in Truman show mode. Carrey offers ocassional glimpses of acting talent before they are devoured by his all consuming gurning. Tom Wilkinson and Kirsten Dunst offer more respectable performances, however I felt cheated that their entire sub plot was clearly lying on the editing room floor, it felt rushed and unconvincing. Which is a shame because the rest of the film felt over long and over laboured and perhaps a better balance might have saved my cinema ticket which I spent the whole film folding into a variety of shapes.
I made a square (Not too difficult) a triangle. I tried to make a swan but it ended up looking like some sort of half eaten fish. After that I was running out of ideas and so i tore it into equal pieces. Then unequal ones. Bored yet? I was. The second time I saw it was even worse. Fortunately I had just seen 3-4x Jugatsu and so had something to concentrate on. Namely trying to understand a film which actually had some sort of emotional depth, some sort of conflicting plot and some semblance of lead performances.
I wish people wouldn't think that any film which doesn't have a discernable Beginning - middle - end structure automatically qualifies as intelligent or engaging. And that just because Jim Carrey isn't smacking himself in the face or making chimp noises he is acting. He isn't. He is just biding his time until he can start hitting himself in the face again.
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