Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Topics: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Michel Gondry, Montauk, New York Pages: 6 (2388 words) Published: November 11, 2006
Spotless Mind Inspection
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) was written by Charlie Kaufman, who worked on the story with the film's director Michel Gondry, and with Pierre Bismuth, a French performance artist. The idea started with Bismuth, who, according to Kaufman, mailed a note to Gondry and several other friends explaining that he'd had them erased from his memory, in order to see what their reactions would be. The plot of the film is somewhat difficult to follow for the passive viewer as it does not progress in a traditional linear order. Rather the main plot moves in a reverse chronology in the memories of the main character, while occasionally leaving to a shorter timeline in which present events are progressing linearly. The story involves two lovers – Joel Barish (Jim Carey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) who after a nasty breakup decide to have each other erased from their memories. They go to the offices of Dr. Howard Mierzwiak, head of the Lacuna, Inc. which specializes specifically in erasing memories. Initially Joel meets Clementine at a beach party he attends in Montauk with his friends Rob and Carrie. He is immediately attracted to her, but is too shy and leaves her without pursuing the attraction. Later, however, he goes to her work at Barnes and Noble and asks her out. She accepts and they become a couple. After two years however, their relationship begins to decline. One day while together at a flea market they get into an argument about children. Clementine wishes to have a child, but Joel wonders if she is actually capable of raising another human being. This conflict goes relatively unresolved and Clementine goes out on her own later that evening. She returns at around three in the morning, very drunk, and reveals to Joel that she "kinda, sorta, wrecked [his] car." He is very angry, but Clem argues that Joel is not so much angry about the car, as he is worried that she slept with another man. Joel responds that he simply assumes that she slept with someone else. After all, "isn't that how you get people to like you?" Deeply hurt, Clementine leaves and shortly afterward has her memories of Joel erased by the Lacuna, Inc. Two days later when Joel goes to Barnes and Noble to try to patch things up with Clem, he is shocked by her response. She acts as if she has no idea who he is and is seen kissing another man. When Joel speaks to his friend Rob about his confusion over the whole series of events, he is handed a postcard. It explains that Clementine has had Joel erased from her memory and to not tell Joel about it or mention their relationship to her. In a sort of retaliation, Joel decides he will have the procedure done as well. He sets an appointment with Dr. Mierzwiak to have the procedure done, and after some preliminary brain mapping, two of the technicians, Patrick and Stan, go to Joel's apartment to erase his memories of Clementine. However, due to a brief power malfunction at the beginning of the procedure, Joel is able to consciously view and interact with his own memories as they are being erased. The Lacuna inc. office receptionist Mary, comes to help and see her boyfriend Stan. Also, as it turns out, Patrick has fallen for Clementine and is now using mementos and information from Joel's relationship with her to win her heart as Joel once did. Joel's memories are being erased from the most recent to the oldest. At first he is glad to have the memories erased, as the most recent are negative and involve their falling out. However, as he moves further back to his happy memories of Clementine, he realizes that he does not wish to lose them and attempts to halt the procedure from within his own mind. Meanwhile Clementine is troubled by something she cannot put her finger on (her lost memories over the last two years) and calls Patrick to come be with her. Stan allows Patrick to leave realizing he can be alone with Mary, but as Joel continues to fight harder to prevent...
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