Directed by Michael Gondry
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a romantic drama about a couple that erases each other from their memories. Joel (Jim Carrey) is shocked when his girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) doesn’t recognize him the day before Valentine’s Day and shows no recollection of ever meeting him. He receives a letter from a company called Lacuna, a business that selectively erases memories. Clementine has erased Joel, and he decides to have his memory of Clementine erased as revenge. Halfway through the procedure, Joel decides he doesn’t want to lose Clementine after all, so he leads his ideal version of Clementine in his memories through obscure parts of his sub-consciousness that the memory erasers can’t locate. The film climaxes when Joel realizes that his Clementine is inevitably being erased forever, and he accepts this fact. However, they meet again and start another relationship, showing that if love is meant to be it can never die.
The segment I am analyzing is the opening sequence of the film, which actually happens after the main story. It is when Joel and Clementine meet the second time, and even though neither of them have any recollection of their relationship, their second meeting is remarkably similar to their first. This film was made with the expectation that is would be viewed more than once, because many aspects that occur in the opening sequence are references to the past in real time, but are valuable foreshadowing to the plot. The aspects I find the most interesting are the cinematography, use of voiceover, how the character of Clementine is shown to be impulsive, and an aural motif of the song “Clementine”.
The opening sequence if filmed entirely with a hand-held camera, which is more shaky in the outside shots than the inside ones. This gives the film a feeling of reality, paired with the everyday objects like Joel’s bed, the train, and the payphone. We are in the...