‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ review/analysis

By: Kaylen Fuentes

Image taken from: https://www.watervillecreates.org

*Warning: This article contains spoilers*

‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ is a 2004 film written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry. The film follows a couple, Joel and Clementine (played by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) who go their separate ways and each undergo a medical procedure to have the other person erased from their memories forever.

In the story, it unfolds for the watchers as it unfolds for Joel, which is one of the reasons I found the timeline of this movie to be interesting.

The movie begins in modern time after Joel’s memory has already been erased, and then we supposedly meet Clementine for the first time. Then we are introduced to the old storyline of Clementine being the first to want to get her memory erased and Joel doing the same out of revenge. We then learn they have met before and they become aware that they had their memories erased, and we see the entirety of their relationship in reverse order leading up to them dodging and hiding to avoid the erasing from completing. But ultimately it ends in a breakup when Joel realizes that they can’t stop their memories from being erased, so they have to cherish the moments they already have. 

By the end of the movie everything makes sense. The full circle that was made throughout becomes more apparent to the watchers. I think that having the story being shown to us in such a different order, compared to other films, makes our comprehension of Joel and Clementine’s relationship distorted just as it is to Joel in the beginning of the movie.

My understanding of this film is that Joel and Clementine’s relationship is a circular narrative. Joel and Clementine are two people who are destined to continue meeting and to continue to fall apart, which is something they both know and have both accepted.

However, just because they are meant to fall apart does not mean they aren’t destined to continue this loop, because I believe they are. Their relationship is predestination, not in the way that they are soulmates and will always be together, but in the way that no matter how hard they try they cannot truly forget one another, and meeting over and over is their version of fate.

My overall thoughts on ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. I think this was a refreshing movie to watch especially now, because of how many movies of the same plot, storyline and predictable ending already exist. I really enjoyed watching this film and can’t wait to watch more movies written by Charlie Kaufman because I’ve heard he has a lot of movies like ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’.

I would like to rewatch this movie after a while to see if iI have a new understanding of it, but for now I can confidently say that I recommend this movie to anyone looking for something happy and sad all at the same time.

I rate this movie 5/5 stars and you can rent it on Prime Video.

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