When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories.

Director:

Michel Gondry

Writers:

Charlie Kaufman (story), Michel Gondry (story) | 2 more credits »
Popularity
373 ( 58)
Top Rated Movies #100 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 72 wins & 111 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Carrey ... Joel Barish
Kate Winslet ... Clementine Kruczynski
Gerry Robert Byrne ... Train Conductor
Elijah Wood ... Patrick
Thomas Jay Ryan ... Frank
Mark Ruffalo ... Stan
Jane Adams ... Carrie
David Cross ... Rob
Kirsten Dunst ... Mary
Tom Wilkinson ... Dr. Mierzwiak
Ryan Whitney Ryan Whitney ... Young Joel
Debbon Ayer ... Joel's Mother
Amir Ali Said ... Young Bully
Brian Price Brian Price ... Young Bully
Paulie Litt ... Young Bully (as Paul Litowski)
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Storyline

Much to his surprise, timid Joel Barish is shocked to discover that the love of his life, sparky Clementine, has had him erased from her memory. To pay her back in the same coin, poor Joel summons up the courage to undergo a painless but intricate medical procedure to do the same, utterly unaware that darkness is an essential part of the light. Now, as hurt and angry Joel's ugly recollections of Clementine gradually fade away, giving way to a soulless black void, suddenly, he begins having second thoughts, toying with the idea of stopping the irreversible process. In the end, is ignorance really bliss? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You can erase someone from your mind. Getting them out of your heart is another story. 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was an inspiration for the hit indie video game, To the Moon (2011). See more »

Goofs

At 1h 10m 14s it is obvious the grass outside the front of the house consists of fresh turf that has only been down for a few days. 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.
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Nostalgia Critic: Is Tree of Life Full of Shit? (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Some Kinda Shuffle
Written and Performed by Don Nelson
Courtesy of Too Cool Records
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User Reviews

 
an modern artistic triumph for all involved
27 October 2004 | by Quinoa1984See 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 March 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,175,198, 21 March 2004

Gross USA:

$34,400,301

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$74,036,715
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS (as dts)| Dolby | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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