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Eternal Sunshine On A Spotless Mind (2004)

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Directed by Michael Gondry
Written by Charlie Kaufman (based on a story by Michel Gondry, Pierre Bismuth  and Charlie Kaufman)

By Shalini Nayar

When you see the name Charlie Kaufman in the space of “Screenwriter”, you know it's going to be something special. The prolific writer of movies such as Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and the little-watched Human Nature returns with another brilliant script. Michel Gondry, the french filmmaker who had been thriving on music video production takes this on as his second major Hollywood project after Human Nature. The title is taken from Alexander Pope's poem “Eloisa to Abelard”.


Jim Carrey plays Joel Barish who one day accidentally finds out that his ex-girlfriend Clementine Kruczynski (played by multicolour-haired Kate Winslet) has undergone a psychiatrist's (Tom Wilkinson) experimental and revolutionary technique to erase her memories of Joel. This brings Joel to <a href=“http://www.lacunainc.com”>Lacuna Inc.</a> (their busiest season is of course Valentine's), the scientific firm that does this procedure with the help of lab technicians Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood, alongside perky receptionist Kirsten Dunst. Joel orders them to erase his memories of Clementine because he realizes there is really no point of still being in love with a person that doesn't even remember their time together.


I personally am eager to undergo this procedure (it is after all the Valentine's season), but alas, the nice dreamy things always exist in movies rather than real life, don't they?


The film is seen through Joel's mind, following his memories of Clementine backwards in time as each recent memory is replaced, and the procedure then goes on to the previous memory, which is seen, and then erased. In the midst of the process however, Joel realizes he doesn't really  want to forget Clementine. He fights the process and smuggles her into parts of his memory where she doesn't belong which alters other things about his memories as well. It can be a tad confusing at first, but you'll get the hang of it.


The cast is brilliant, the story is brilliant, the direction is brilliant. Simply put, the movie is, well, brilliant. One of the best films of 2004. Not to be missed.