003797Reviews & Counting
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
DVD disk
10.20.2004 By: Indiana Sev
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind order
Michel Gondry

Jim Carrey
Kate Winslet
Mark Ruffalo


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After learning that his ex-girlfriend Clementine (Winslet) has undergone a procedure to erase all memories of him from her mind, Joel (Carrey), suffering from extreme heartache, decides to undertake the same operation. Under an induced sleep, he begins to re-experience those earlier moments of passion and love he shared with her as they’re simultaneously being wiped out in his mind. Realizing he doesn’t want to lose those special memories of their time together, Joel attempts to “outrun” the doctors’ removal process with the use of his will, his smarts and his heart…before it’s too late, and she’s gone forever.
Right before I entered the theater to first see this in March, I had already given it a 10 on 10 and was ready to work myself down from that. The reason being, the screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman, had already penned three films that were original, quirky and vibrant enough to be among my very favorite movies ever, and in so short a time too. BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, ADAPTATION and his adaptation of Chuck Barris’ CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND were all an extremely creative mishmash of reality, fantasy and well, absolute madness. And although they all had hints of romance and explorations of themes of love in them, none of that compares to what this film will say to you on that oh-so elusive subject.

ESOTSM should reach almost everybody in its audience, for if you’ve ever experienced being in love with someone and the eventual heartache that often follows, you will empathize very much to Joel’s situation, before the operation, naturally, but hopefully during it as well, as you see him sinking deeper in despair at the thought of Clementine, the good and bad memories of his time with her, being gone forever from his mind, as well as his soul. His trying to save those memories, with her help (!), is one of the most beautiful expressions of love you’ll likely ever see on celluloid. This movie might very well be the best cure for the recently broken-hearted, because it expresses in a very clear way, that in time, you’ll grow to cherish those minutes and hours you’ve spent with someone special, because you never know when and if another one might come along. THE HOURS, a different movie entirely, gave me that same kind of feeling…

If the moving and imaginative love story hasn’t sold you on this yet, you can also look forward to a Jim Carrey performance that is not only a complete reverse of what he’s done in the past but also - pure perfection (worth at least an Oscar nomination). The expression in his eyes alone will make you forget his usual comicality and have you immediately embrace the character he’s brought to life here. The ingenious and gorgeous shots and moods director Gondry creates for you on screen are the final reason you must simply not miss ESOTSM. If you don’t see this movie, you will miss out on a unique film and – dare I say - life experience. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the criminally talented and charming Brit beauty Kate Winslet (I almost had a heart attack when I saw her all done up in that sixties outfit – hubba, hubba!).
A Look Inside Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (11 minutes): A little over ten minutes, this is your basic behind-the-scenes look with plenty of interviews with director Gondry as well as the stars of the film: Wilkinson, Carrey, Winslet, Wood and Dunst. They all comment on Gondry’s unique vision and directing style as well the depth and significance of Kaufman’s screenplay. A better than average extra that sets the film up just right. Kaufman is a no show though…

A Conversation with Jim Carrey and Director Michel Gondry (15 minutes): This feature allows Gondry and Carrey to discuss with one another, in a very frank way, their experiences making this movie, which was very special to them both. These are the kinds of features I’d like to see more of on DVDs. They’re both very open and honest about it all and you’ll learn things that you normally would have no insight into from a simple commentary track or a behind-the-scenes featurette. This one is not to be missed…

Feature Commentary w/ Michel Gondry and Writer Charlie Kaufman: Yes!! Finally we get to hear from Kaufman. I was afraid he’d skip the extras altogether, but he saved the best for last as he shares with us all that goes on in that crazy, beautiful brain of his – well, maybe not so much that, but he does give us all his insights into the film. Kaufman is surprisingly calm and loose, considering the manic style of his films and his match-up with Gondry make this track very fun to listen to. You can tell they’ve been friends for years. In fact, they mentioned they first started pitching this movie back in 1998. Oh, and give Kaufman an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay already!

Deleted Scenes: There are around 4 or 5 scenes all spliced together and all well worth a look if you enjoyed the film as much as I did. They offer a little more insight into Joel’s relationships with both Clementine and the girlfriend he had before her, Naomi. My favorite would be a phone conversation he has with Naomi soon after meeting Clementine. I wish it’d make the final cut…

Lacuna Commercial: This is a very short and comical commercial for the company that offers memory-erasing procedures in the film.

Polyphonic Spree “Light & Day” Music Video.
Even if you’re not a fan of Kaufman’s previously madcap and cerebral films, this one still deserves a look as it’s almost guaranteed to get your cinematic juices flowing - and isn’t that what watching movies is all about? I’m confident enough to say it’s worth a blind buy, but for those of you not used to an odd skew on things, maybe rent it first and then decide for yourselves...
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