Monday, June 12, 2017

Sci Fi Top 100, #22: "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004)

Movie Stats:
Released 2004 (USA)
American, in English
Director - Michel Gondry
Stars - Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Wilkinson

Plot Summary:
When Joel (Carrey) discovers that his recent ex-girlfriend Clementine (Winslet) has used a service to erase him from her memory, he decides to do the same thing with his memories of her. Wilkinson co-stars as Dr. Howard Mierzwiak, the man who provides the memory erasing service; and Ruffalo & Dunst as, respectively, Stan & Mary, two of Mierzwiak’s employees.

Lots of blue language; minor violence; heavily implied sexy times; brief male nudity (mostly upper butt cheek/butt crack); brief female nudity (a little bit more than side boob); drug use (marijuana).

Bad Stuff:
Clementine is a little bit too “manic pixie dream girl” for me.

It has too many story lines, which makes it somewhat fussy. For example, I think the movie could lose Patrick (Elijah Wood) and still be a great film. In fact, I think it would be better.

Soundtrack is a little meh.

Good Stuff:
I really enjoy the story itself. It’s a great concept that’s well executed. For a movie that’s thirteen years old, it still feels fresh and different.

There are a lot of fine performances. Carrey is the definite standout.

I like the themes it explores. [SPOILER] For example, the idea that someone who has meant a lot to you can never truly be erased from your life. [SPOILER] The film has a sweet sadness to it that’s tinged with beauty.

The Verdict:
This is a solid film. I saw it in the theater when it first came out & hadn’t seen it since until now. I remember really loving it the first time. I wouldn’t say I loved it this time ("manic pixie dream girl" wasn’t a known “thing” back then but she’s been quite popular in recent years & I’ve gotten sick of her so I found Clementine pretty annoying) but I still like & enjoy it. It’s a great idea that’s done well, and the concept is so novel that I don’t think there’s been any movie quite like it, either before or since. I would never put this movie on a favorites list, but I could see myself watching it once a decade and finding it refreshing and entertaining each time.

I give it 4 stars.


Patricia said...

Ay! 13 years old? It does not at all seem like that long ago.

I saw this at the Laurelhurst Theater on a Tuesday night. It was rainy, and I remember it being spring. For some reason, this showing sold out, (on a Tuesday night!!!!!) which meant that the movie started late--they let all the people in line get their pizza and beer, instead of starting on time. I also discovered that the seat I had chosen in the theater was invisible. While people were wandering up and down the aisles looking for suitable seats for their friend groups, no one asked me if they could sit in my row. Every other row had only a few seats, and there I sat with no one but me. Three guys finally noticed, so I did end up with row friends.

I remember liking this movie and nearly nothing else about it.

balyien said...

I remember this being a pretty big hit, at least in Portland, so I'm not surprised that your theater was so packed!