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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

 -  Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi  -  19 March 2004 (USA)
8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 480,649 users   Metascore: 89/100
Reviews: 1,448 user | 253 critic | 41 from Metacritic.com

A couple undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour, but it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.

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Title: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

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Top 250 #82 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 47 wins & 55 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

This Spring, clear your mind See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 March 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$268,118 (Japan) (18 March 2005)

Gross:

$1,747,623 (Japan) (8 April 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(as dts)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A lacuna is a "lake" seen on medical imaging as a hole filled with fluid within the brain after some strokes and seizures. Such tiny "holes" can result in symptoms such as memory, sensory, and motor dysfunction and are perhaps a reference to the "brain damage" that results from the procedure in the film. See more »

Goofs

Mary's hair changes from "windswept" (long shots) to neat (close-up) and back again when talking to Howard outside Joel's apartment, after Howard's wife catches them together and drives off. See more »

Quotes

[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 credits are right justified, versus the usual center justified credits. See more »

Connections

Featured in 11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Something
Written by Richie James Eaton
Performed by The Willowz
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
It's OK (very OK)
6 May 2006 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

Very nicely crafted science fiction love story. More of an experience than a film.

What? Sci Fi? Well yes. A simple science fiction device, memory erasure, is the vehicle for this beautifully shot, brilliantly edited and directed love fable. The fact that this is a good film does not disqualify it from the sci fi genre. In fact, would-be sci fi writers and film-makers should take note of this.

But Eternal Sunshine is a love story first and last, in all respects. The characters are what John Irving would call "L.A. dysfunctional", although they don't live in L.A. Carrey and Winslet are deeply insecure people with little going for them but good looks (which they try to disguise), fairly sweet dispositions, and a desire for companionship. They meet on Valentine's Day in Montauk, where they have both seemingly traveled 'on a lark', and the entire experience of the film seems to derail from this point forward. Chronological, linear story-telling becomes impossible because the characters are having their memories erased in order to assuage the pain of their separation. No spoilers, so let me stop right there.

If I have made Eternal Sunshine seem like it might be too much of a challenge or too disturbing for an evening's light entertainment, be not afraid. Certainly there are occasional disturbing elements, and the characters themselves are all neurotic enough to have walked off the street and onto the screen. But the film is so artistically rendered, and so well thought-out that what could have been a nightmare really becomes a fantastic post-modern love fable. It's also one of those great films that becomes predictable after a while, but is so delightfully portrayed and satisfying that it does not matter.

The acting is exceptionally good. I would expect nothing else from this cast. Winslet is especially remarkable for her ability to play a young North East American better than most American actresses could. How this genius has been passed up in each of her 4 Oscar nominations to date is inexplicable. Carrey's talent is undeniable, though I dislike many of the films he chooses to take on. His performance here is easily as good as his award-worthy performances in the Truman Show, Bruce Almighty, and Man on the Moon.

We spend a lot of time inside people's heads in this film, yet the camera never becomes a member of the cast as it does in films like "Being John Malkovich". I can pay no higher compliment to the production team. This is a very difficult thing to accomplish, and it is done with flawless simplicity in Eternal Sunshine. This film has just joined Shakespeare in Love, Wild at Heart, and Brokeback Mountain among my favorite all-time love stories. This is the first Michel Gondry film I have seen. I am going to make sure it is not the last.


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