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Monthly Archives: April 2004
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
There’s a sequence late in Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich where two characters chase each other through the subconscious of actor John Malkovich. The deepest recesses of memory – such as childhood and teenage humiliations – are literalised as little mini-dramas that the characters can barge into and interrupt. The sequence lasts only a couple of minutes, but it’s easy to see it as the genesis for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the latest film based upon a script by Malkovich screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. This time the mind we rummage through is that of Joel (Jim Carrey): a forlorn, withdrawn man whose relationship with the extroverted and impetuous Clementine (Kate Winslet) is in disarray. The central gimmick is that Joel and Clementine stumble across Lacuna, a company offering erasure of unwanted memories. Joel seizes on the chance to put the relationship literally out of mind, and the central portion of the film sees Joel wandering through his own mind and exploring his memories of the relationship even as they are extinguished one by one.