We may be only simple complex of ours memories, but maybe the thing which makes us what we are and who we are consist of something much bigger than just our previous experience. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Michael Gondry asks, what would it be like to have an option of deleting part of our memories and how big part has destiny in our life.
The film is about two people who can only see negative sides of their relationship and that is why they end it. Impulsive Clementine gets her ex-boyfriend Joel erased from her mind and as soon as he finds out what she did, he cannot see any other way than just do the same. Joel calls company named Lacuna, which provides such a service, but while erasing his mind, Joel falls in love again and he wants to stop the whole process. At the end, Clementine and Joel eventually find out that they were dating before and it did not work, but they decide to get back together anyway. It perfectly shows importance of journey, not destiny itself.
At first, Joel is attracted to Clementine because of her character, impulsiveness, spontaneousness or her chattiness, which he does not not like anymore when he says that “communication does not always means talking”. When looking back, Joel realises that the same parts of Clementine which he could not stand at the end of their relationship were the ones which impressed him at the first place. When erasing their memories is not able to be cancelled, in their last memory together, Clementine asks Joel, if they can meet at the train station in Montauk, which later becomes an impulse, staying in their minds even after process of erasing their memories. Joel wakes up in the morning without any knowledge of Clementine, but because of undefined feeling, he decides to go to Montauk, where he meets her again. Even he does not remember anything about their past, he likes the way she talks and falls for her and she invites him to her house like the first time they met. Gondry creates the slightly similar relationship between Lacuna’s worker Mary and Dr. Mickiewicz. While erasing Joel’s and Clementine’s minds, Mary and Dr Mikiewicz start kissing. Mrs Mickiewicz comes and sees her husband with young co-worker, telling Mary that she can keep her husband since the two of them had an affair before. Mary is surprised and she leaves immediately after Dr Mickiewicz confirms their first affair. That is another example, that in spite of erasing one’s memory, there is always an impulse, which evocates previous feelings.
What I like the most about Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind is retrospective concept of sotrytelling. There are quite a few films made this way, but this type of form is exactly what makes even simple story about relationship of two people so interesting.
Director is also using different kinds of items or situations and by that, tries to get viewer’s close attention to detail and story itself. One of the symbol which does not look that important at first is for example Joel’s car which he finds crashed and blames other driver. Later, while erasing his mind, he remembers how Clementine scratched his car when they were dating. That says a lot about how unchronological and yet very sophisticated Eternal Sunshine is. Another important part to understand the whole story is Joel’s pyjama. He first wakes up in the dark blue pyjamas, which he is later unpacking from a new box, right before erasing. The very same pyjamas are shown at the end of the movie which tells us, that it is the same scene and we are going back to the beginning. Besides above mentioned, there are several other things like Joel’s journal or Clementine’s hair, slowly unfolding the whole story. Also apart from many details used to make Eternal Sunshine such an interesting movie, there are a lot of impressive special effects as well, including the song which plays always while are Clementine and Joel talking or blinking screen when another of Joel’s memory is erased.
Script contains a lot of interesting dialogues and even there is significant difference between actors and their characters, the script allows them to be themselves in some ways. A lot of people think that Jim Carry is comedian and very funny actor, but his seriousness and the way he played Joel was very impressive. Kate Winslet showed her charm and glamour even playing such a unique but very contradictory character such as Clementine.
Erasing our memory would not be the right solution to our problems is the main message of Michael Gondry’s movie. His Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind excludes coincidence and asks dilemmatic question about ‘destiny and indescribable feeling’, showing us how important for human being it is to experience all different types of emotions and how unnatural and useless it is to try and change the way people are.