Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a low-key film that explores loss and memory. Shot in a hand-held and casual style, it hides a story told with an incredible visual sense. There is a seamless mixture of physical effects, camera tricks and digital effects so you just watch what is happening and get sucked into the story. But the film isn’t about the effects, but emotions and memories both good and bad. It’s all about memory and loss or as Tom Waits puts it in a song “the things you can’t remember” and “the things you can’t forget”. How do we remember and how do we relate to each other? What happened? How do things go from being amazing and wonderful and full of possibilities to something that we just want out of. If you could erase your memories, would you?
Apparently the idea originated from Gondry’s friend Pierre Bismuth who wondered what it would be like if you received a card in the mail telling you that you had been erased from someone’s memory. It served as the departure point for Charlie Kaufman who wrote the script for Gondry after he finished writing Adaptation. It’s territory that Kaufman has explored before, but never with the almost painfully realistic portrayal of a relationship’s birth, growth and death. Jim Carrey is restrained and Kate Winslet is goofy, but attractive in solid performances. The film didn’t blow me away instantly, but it’s one of those films that will stay with me and grow. The marketing in general has been low-key with a neat fake site for Lacuna, Inc. who will erase your memories and some great posters that brilliantly obscure the eyes of the stars.