Movie Review: Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind

( [email protected] ) Mar 30, 2004 01:33 PM EST

Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's new movie, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," originates from the 18th century poet, Alexander Pope. The main character quotes the poet in hoping to impress a significant other he met. This movie is an unique one in that it neither does it seriously document the life of Alexander Pope, nor does it attempt to show the ideals and work of Pope. The film rather plays indirectly and satirically. The movie is closely connected in style to previous ones like "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation," which both earned him Oscar nominations, Mr. Kaufman sees the human mind - and its often preposterous thought processes - as fiction's last great frontier to explore. Expertly directed by Michel Gondry, "Eternal Sunshine" proves Kaufman hasn't run out of trails to blaze in this territory.

Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) is a nebbishy suburbanite who skips a day of work for an impulsive train trip meeting attractive, quirky Clementine (Kate Winslet) and falls in love with her. However along the way in their relationship, the affair turns complicated when Joel finds out that Clementine had gone through psychiatric treatments erasing memories that she has of Joel. Irked, insulted, and miserable, Joel seeks out the mind-meddling psychiatrist and requests the same treatment.

"Eternal Sunshine" is a complicated unordinary story. The film brought out newness in the artistry of Kaufman's status as a world-class screenwriter, and also for actor Jim Carrey broadening his acting styles where this film calls for a more sensitive and touching actor. Director Gondry said that Carrey's performance, usually being very comical, turned inward, making his character reaching deeply into psychological as well as physical levels. The film goes to great lengths to depict the lost direction of love under the influence of many other factors. What is true and what is false about love, this film portrays the complexity of it between the two characters.

• Rated R; contains sexuality, vulgarity, and drugs.