Monday, May 31, 2010

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

So I finally saw the film everyone raved about. I thought it was good, but no better than good. While I was impressed with both of the lead actors for their convincing portrayals, I felt the movie itself lacked the spark that Clementine's character had.

Spoilers ahoy: given the content of the movie, I imagine it was supposed to be a huge realization that the version of Clem that he meets at the beginning if the film is, in fact, her post-memory-wipe. However, since in 2004 he's lost two years of pages from his journal, and the next time we see him it's 2002, it's a pretty easy logic leap to make. Seeing as I missed the first minute or so (due to cat) that might have been the summary of my overenthusiastic friend, who told me it was set in 2004, rather than the fault of the movie itself.

The scene where he is trying to keep the memory of Clem talking about the ugly doll she used to have was disproportionately horrific, given the previously PG content - it felt like they got some of The Ring in my Garden State. Him trying to wake up and crying moved me, but the callousness of the technician and his girlfriend seemed too difficult to believe. It doesn't matter that it's supposedly impossible to wake their patient up. You don't make out when you're supposed to be working, end of story. No wonder people erase their relationships in this version of the world.

The idea of him hiding Clem in different memories was cute, but didn't provide enough variation. The issues between Joel and his mother, and the fact that he's a grown man acting like a child were things I could gave done without watching. Besides, he was taking Clem there, not regressing. You can remember things with the clarity of hindsight, as humiliation is often wont to remind us.

However, my biggest complaint is Clem telling him to meet her where he met her. She was created entirely by his mind at this point, and would not have been able to relay this vital piece if information. The link is tenuous, at best, especially since their relationship devolved so terribly. I liked the idea that, even if they were going to break up, it was better to keep the memories than be without, but the ending seemed to gloss over the fact that they're both two years older with nothing to show for it. It doesn't seem right that they should be willing to try again if they know they're going to fail.

Was it worth watching? Yes. Will I remember it? Probably not, and that may be the saddest part of their whole relationship.

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