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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi  |  19 March 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 614,062 users   Metascore: 89/100
Reviews: 1,489 user | 266 critic | 41 from Metacritic.com

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.



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Top Rated Movies #86 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 57 wins & 82 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryan Whitney ...
Brian Price ...
Young Bully (as Paul Litowski)


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 anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


I already forget how I used to feel about you. See more »


Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some drug and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

19 March 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eterno resplandor de una mente sin recuerdos  »

Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$8,175,198 (USA) (19 March 2004)


$1,747,623 (Japan) (8 April 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(as dts)|


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the scene where Clementine invites Joel to her apartment for a drink, one of the songs playing in the background on Clementine's stereo is from the 1971 Hindi (Bollywood) movie "Gambler" and is sung by Mohammad Rafi. The song after that, which plays immediately after Clementine says "I'm gonna marry you", is 'Wada Na Tod' meaning "Don't break your promise" in Hindi from the 1987 movie "Dil Tujhko Diya", and is sung by Lata Mangeshkar. See more »


During the "operation", Mary passes a joint to Stan. In the next shot, Mary has the joint again. See more »


[first lines]
Joel: [voice over] random thoughts for Valentine's day, 2004. Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits don't begin until about twenty minutes into the film and after much action and plot. See more »


Referenced in The Vampire Diaries: Do You Remember the First Time? (2014) See more »


Light And Day/Reach For The Sun
Written by Tim DeLaughter (as Timothy DeLaughter)
Performed by The Polyphonic Spree
Courtesy of Hollywood Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

an modern artistic triumph for all involved
27 October 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Michel Gondry, credited as the director and co-writer of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, is only partly responsible for the success that the film achieves. He implements a awe-inspiring blend of style to a story that is perfectly non-linear. But then there is also the madman genius of the current screen writing plane- Charlie Kaufman- who has written three of the most ingenious, funny, and human of "little" Hollywood movies (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).

He understands, and perhaps likely experienced to a degree, what a relationship holds to- the truth, to understanding, and then when it ends, how out memory changes the relationship. Enter in the concept that makes 'Eternal Sunshine' something of a un-official science fiction film - the Lacuna corporation, led by Tom Wilkinson's character, can erase just one person out of your memory, all of the experiences that you and the significant other had. So, when Joel (Jim Carrey) goes in to erase his memory of Clementine (Kate Winslet) after finding out she did just the same, he enters into a mind-warp. He goes through memories they had, happy ones, sad ones, some that are just what makes up what you have emotionally with the one you've loved. And sometimes, and to the behest of the assistants of Lacuna (Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo), Joel doesn't want them all to be erased.

As I mentioned, the plot is non-linear, which could've gone the wrong way if not done with skill. With a film like 21 Grams, which has a talented director and cast, the non-linear structure isn't necessary. But it's an asset that the story doesn't start from A to Z. To assist Gondry with this, he has the extraordinary Ellen Kuras as DP and Valdís Óskarsdóttir, an editor from Iceland. Their collaboration is crucial with Gondry and Kaufman (and co-writer Pierre Bismuth), as they bring all of these un-real images a real quality. Quite simply, there isn't a finer example of surrealism crossbred with realism in any other American film so far this year. The usage of lights, cuts, and with the kinds of special effects not expected (i.e. no CGI), add to the effect it has on a viewer. That the characters of Joel and Clementine are as enveloping as they are is also a credit to Kaufman.

But then there's one more part that completes the success of the film - the acting. Jim Carrey, very simply, is at his very best. He finds a balance from certain scenes in being like people we see everyday, feeling low, not much of interest, inward. And then when the memory erases begin, we get to see him act funny, but not like the kind of humor he brought with Ace Ventura or Dumb and Dumber. This is Carrey knowing this character just well enough to play off his counterpart, played by Winslet. She, meanwhile, is perhaps at her best. Her character is eccentric, funny, insightful, and wanting. She pulls it off. As do the supporting actors.

There's not much more I can say about this film, except to say that even after seeing it three times, I feel like I could watch it over and over and see a new shot, a new sequence, and new set of emotions tied to things. It's one of the great romantic dramedies of the decade.

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