• Daniel Rae

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", Anonymous Content, 2004

This film not only destroys the boundaries of storytelling, but playfully manipulates them so that you're completely at will to the raw emotions that Eternal Sunshine powerfully evokes.

This film acts as a claustrophobic deep-dive into the life of an emotionally broken man and the people around him. The spontaneous feeling that this is shown through provides a the perfect window for the audience to peer into the twisted yet beautiful world of mental illness, a motif that teeter-tots the underbelly of almost primal relentlessness that does a brilliant job in poignantly highlighting the desperation for closure that all the characters share between in each-other. This room for emotional vulnerability is flawlessly realised by Gondry by effortlessly implementing imagery of Joel and Clementine fumbling over an iced-over lake, a fork in the story that is returned to as the madness progresses, giving it a new and disturbing context each time. This is built upon by the relationship the diegesis has to manipulated temporal frequency and purposefully jolty sense of pacing. The vapid collage of moods that these characters bounce off one another is something to behold. The hyper-realism that the performance styles of Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet exist in here make for some interesting angles towards depression and existentialism, such as Clementine's carefree-but-scarred representation that undergoes growth and understanding. I also appreciate the approach towards spatial consistency and how it brilliantly outlines the struggle to escape, because from the conventional continuity editing that happens before the change of narrative structure, you surrender yourself to the break of Joel's monotonous life. The very way that the story is told breaks and reconstructs itself - the audience can never quite keep up, which a characteristic of the film that makes it its only its own. This is reinforced by the equally vapid change in tone, which takes on a self-reflexive mode of presentation with the odd choices of music that accompanies certain scenes. There's so many things to appreciate and love about this film - it effortlessly blurs the line between fantasy and reality and the way that it forces the reader to try and rationalise the truly bizarre journey that Joel and Clementine take is just storytelling at its very best. It's one of those films that not only reevaluates what can be achieved artistically and emotionally, but has a firm grasp on its identity whilst doing so.

5/5 Stars

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