"That which is overdesigned, too highly specific, anticipates outcome; the anticipation of outcome guarantees, if not failure, the absence of grace."
-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Went to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last night with Evan. Excellent movie. The last movie that remotely affected me on an emotional level (not counting Suicide Club, which was just fucked), was probably Lost in Translation.

Eternal Sunshine posits the possiblity that there is a company with the technology to erase certain memories, by forcing you to go through those memories and monitoring what parts of your brain become active. Ignoring the pseudo-science or lack thereof, it's very much like something Philip K. Dick would write, if PKD wrote love stories.

Jim Carrey plays Joel, a quiet guy who the nerdy people in the audience will immediately identify with. This isn't the Jim Carrey we're used to (thank god), but someone actually acting, rather than just being Jim Carrey. Joel has all the typical nerd problems: Can't talk to girls, lives alone, immediately "falls in love with any girl who shows him any kindess" at all.

Kate Winslet (who I'm not ordinarily a fan of) plays Clementine, who is essentially every girlfriend I've ever had. Creative, full of attitude, happy fun emotional issues, and is explosively impulsive.

I'd rather not explain too much beyond setting up the primary characters. The movies does a lot of stuff with switching time context, much like Memento a few years ago. (As a side note, I figured out the "gimmick" in both movies within the first ten minutes... but unlike Memento, I still managed to enjoy Eternal Sunshine a great deal.) There are also a few subplots with the employees of the memory-easure company, and a lot of good scenes between Joel and Clementine in Joel's memories.

The movie is pure sap, but it's good sap, and it got me by the balls a couple times. It's got a great mix of shitty relationship moments, good relationship moments, and just.. exisiting moments. There were apparently a couple girls behind us who were bawling by the end (I missed this; there was another drunk girl behind me who wouldn't shut the fuck). The movie felt very real to me, especially the last twenty minutes.

There were a number of times where Joel and Clementine were interacting where I had to wince and go "Christ, done that. Been there. Jesus. Fuck", in both good and bad ways... and to me, ignoring that it was just an all-around good flick, made it worth my ten bucks.

April 3, 2004 7:55 PM