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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

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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
586 ( 55)
Top Rated Movies #89 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 71 wins & 109 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

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:

I already forget how I used to feel about you. 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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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Universal

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, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$34,400,301

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$73,169,222
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS (as dts)| Dolby | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 2015, the film had a successful theatrical re-release in South Korea. See more »

Goofs

When Joel and Clementine sit down on a tree trunk in a forest, a log behind them moves up and down quite significantly as if someone stepped on it. 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 text in the opening credits appears quickly and then slowly withers away, like a memory. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Robert De Niro/Destiny's Child (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Mr. Blue Sky
Written by Jeff Lynne
Performed by Electric Light Orchestra
Courtesy of Epic Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

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