Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind: (2004; Dir: Michel Gondry; Cast: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkenson, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood)
Spare. Poetic. Beautiful. One of my favorite films of the year. Like the lead protagonists in many of Charlie Kaufman's produced screenplays (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation), Joel Barrish (Carrey) is a social misfit; an outsider; an on-the-fringe, soulful, artistic loner who some might call pathetic and others, well, human. I prefer the latter. If you have not seen the movie, Barrish commits himself to the Lacuna Corporation, a company that, through a medial/technical procedure, can remove all memories associated with a broken relationship. Barrish wants to remove the memory of his ex-girlfriend, Clementine (Winslet), only to realize halfway through that he has made a mistake. If you saw the film in theaters and liked it, then rent it or buy it and see it again. Eternal Sunshine is an excellent example of a film that provides a more rewarding experience upon a second viewing; its gifts are more evident. In this case, it gives you a greater appreciation for the performances of its leads. In Carrey, for example, the rubbery, physical comedic gifts that he's known for are amped WAY down and used only sparingly and necessarily like in scenes where he must portray himself as a child. What's left is a sensitive, nuanced portrayal that I haven't seen evidence of even in his more "serious" roles. In a performance that could have been one-sided or annoying in lesser hands, Kate Winslet takes her character's idiosyncrasies, her impulsiveness, insecurity and penchant for drinking, to shape an incredibly real and multi-dimensional person. Both characters, upon a second viewing, truly transcend the boundaries of the celluloid that hold their images. Like the recent I Heart Huckabees, Eternal Sunshine depicts a character employing a quick fix to explain or destroy peronal pain and unhappiness. Unlike Huckabees (which I liked), Eternal Sunshine develops its story without a hint of irony; leaving a more permanant mark on your mind and your heart.