Sunday, March 27, 2005
I watched the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. I was surprised when RG said that he wanted to watch it too. Probably because it stars Jim Carrey. RG once researched this Canadian actor’s biography for a school project. He also heard me say several times that I wanted to watch that movie because it got good reviews and earned several award nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress. I was apprehensive at first especially when I learned that it was rated R. I hoped that Kate Winslet didn’t show her naked boobs in this movie like she did in a couple other movies. To my relief, she didn’t. RC and RK also watched it when they saw RG watching it. I told them that I might make them close their eyes during some scenes. They didn’t have to. But after hearing quite a few F words, I made the two leave the room. They didn’t see the naked butt of Stan. Whew!
“Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind”was a quotation from a poem by Alexander Pope. It was the story of two lovers, Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) who had a troubled relationship.
Joel accidentally read this letter from Lacuna Inc.
“Clementine Kruczynski has had Joel Barish erased from her memory. Please never mention their relationship to her again. Thank you.”
Joel immediately went to see Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), the doctor who performed the memory erasure. Clementine underwent this procedure because she has grown tired of their relationship and she was so unhappy. Clementine didn’t recognize Joel at all and he couldn’t stand the pain of losing her to somebody else. Joel decided to undergo the same procedure – to erase all memories of Clementine.
Joel lay in his apartment, unconscious, while the crew began the process of mapping his brain and slowly erasing all memories of Clementine (the most recent first to the most remote). The story of the lovers unravelled backwards. We see first how tumultuous their relationship was, and then the start of their relationship and how they fell in love. As Joel remembered how much he loved Clementine, he started to change his mind. He didn’t want to go through the procedure after all. So in his mind, he and Clementine tried to run away from the machine. They tried to hide in his most remote memory, his childhood. But the machine found them there anyway. A couple of times during the procedure, the machine stopped and Joel opened his eyes, which he wasn’t supposed to do. Stan (Mark Ruffalo), the technician performing the procedure, was during this time fooling around with Mary (Kirsten Dunst), the doctor's secretary. When Stan noticed that the machine stopped, he called Dr. Mierzwiak. The doctor found Mary in Joel’s apartment and it turned out that the doctor and Mary had an affair and Mary underwent the procedure to have memories of her relationship with the doctor erased. When Mary found this out, she sent letters to all the doctor’s patients and informed them what they underwent. She returned their files – tapes, pictures, letters.
The beginning of the movie showed us how Clementine and Joel run into each other afer they had both erased memories of each other. The ending of the movie showed us how they discovered about the procedure that they went through.
I liked the editing of the movie – how the memories connected with the present time. I think that Jim Carrey gave a superb performance. We’re so used in seeing him in comedies and when he does these dramatic roles, we can really see his versatility as an actor.
And I’m glad that it’s only fiction. Imagine if we have an option in real life to erase painful memories, would we go through with it? At times when we get so down and lonely and depressed, we might be willing to do it when the pain gets so unbearable.
I know in my right mind that I wouldn’t want to erase any memory, no matter how painful it can be. I have experienced the sadness that Clementine felt in her relationship and the unbearable pain that Joel went through after losing Clementine. But I wouldn’t want to erase the cause of the sadness and the pain. The pain helped me grow strong as a person and the sadness made me appreciate any little blessings that I have in my life. But as I said, I’m glad that we don’t have the option to have those memories erased, and I hope that we never will.