Directed by: Michel Gondry
Countries & Regions: United States
Length: 108 mins
Region: Region B
Released: 17 October 2011
Cat No: MP1135BR
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Charlie Kaufman, writer of the cult film ’Being John Malkovich’, returns with another mind-bendingly inventive and unconventional... Read More
Opening on Valentine’s Day in New York, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’s determinedly romantic vision is essentially a simple one – is it possible to meet a soul mate and erase the painful memories of a previous relationship? Would we feel better about ourselves if we could pay someone to erase our troublesome memories, or are we what we are precisely because of our ‘warts and all’ past?
Michael Gondry’s dazzlingly inventive movie poses these questions but the manner of its answers is artfully wrapped up in a virtuoso barrage of cinematic and narrative devices that are as quirky and cherishable as writer Charlie Kaufman’s previous films, the brilliant Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, and George Clooney’s flawed but fascinating directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
In Eternal Sunshine, Gondry extracts career-defining turns from his central couple. Kate Winslet’s performance as the wonderfully vibrant but vulnerable Clementine is probably her finest since Heavenly Creatures, whilst Carrey is completely believable as the quiet, sensitive Joel. His impulsive act in taking a train to the bleak coastal town of Montauk at the film’s outset is the spark that ignites Gondry’s narrative, as it’s there that he first sights the beautiful Clementine. A profound connection between the couple is made, only for Gondry to throw us off balance with a dizzying structure that shoots us back and forth in time.
The supporting performances in Eternal Sunshine are uniformly excellent too. Mark Ruffalo is a revelation here – shambling, geeky and ultimately touching as a fast-food consuming IT boffin. The ever-reliable Tom Wilkinson applies the appropriate mock gravitas to his role as Doctor Mierzwiak, administering such a peculiar practice, whilst Elijah Wood is genuinely creepy and venal as the other lovesick computer expert who tries to steal Joel’s memories in order to remove the competition for his seduction of Clementine. Gondry makes Wood’s trademark wide-eyed innocence into something far more interesting and disturbing.
Kaufman is a modern surrealist who creates complex scenarios from his intensely personal and wholly original visions. Don’t miss this one!