27 February 2006
Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind
A few nights ago, I watched the movie Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind on DVD. The movie stars Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. Carrey's character, Joel, met and fell in love with Winslet's Clementine, but then Clem dumped Joel. Sounds typical so far? Well, the dumping part is very different. Clem is an impulsive person and doesn't just dump Joel but instead goes to a doctor whose specializes in selectively wiping people's memories. Using the latest computer technology, Dr. Mierzwiak can map out one's brain and remove a particular person, say, an ex-lover. Overnight, Clem doesn't know who Joel is any more. Naturally, Joel wants to take revenge by wiping Clem from his memory too. Near the end of the process, Joel came across some memories too fond to part with and changed his mind. Much of the movie happened in Joel's imagination and the movie timeline is even out of sequence. Luckily, it's just a movie so it wasn't hard to grasp. I still cringe when I think of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. I read it in high school for some English class and absolutely hate it - still do. Different points of view in a jumble of sequences. Back to Eternal Sunshine, supposedly it was done with very little computer special effects. Very nicely done. One of my favorite scene is where Joel and Clem were first seen laying on the frozen Charles River, but then it became something like Grand Central Terminal, and suddenly, as The Erasers (Dr. Mierzwiak's henchmen) got to Clem, she was seen disappearing into the background. I imagine they probably had Winslet on a rug and pulled her away on it. Jim Carrey wasn't his usual eccentric self - definitely not the Jim Carrey you know from Liar, Liar, The Mask, or the Ace Ventura series. The movie basically boils down to the theory that we need all of our experiences, whether they are painful or happy. The different types of experience are what made us unique individuals.