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
Michel Gondry had a unique system of controlling his camera operators while shooting, by use of a headset for himself and earpieces for the two operators. He would speak to them (in French) while cameras were rolling and the actors were doing their parts, so Gondry could have a say on all angles no matter where the actors were. This resulted in a large degree of spontaneity, since the actors could decide while in character whether to have an entire conversation sitting on a couch or get up and walk to a window. Kate Winslet said that she felt this freedom enhanced her performance, and that sometimes they would do different takes of the same scene completely differently, based purely on gut feelings for what the characters might have done. See more »
When Clementine and Joel see each other again at the diner near the beginning of the movie, the shadow of the camera is visible off to the left. See more »
random thoughts for Valentine's day, 2004. Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.
See more »
The text in the opening credits appears quickly and then slowly withers away, like a memory. See more »
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.
84 of 102 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this