Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

 (6,336)8.31 h 48 min2004X-RayR
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet lead an all-star cast in this comical, romantic and poignant look at breakups, breakdowns and breakthroughs.
Directors
Michel Gondry
Starring
Jim CarreyKate WinsletGerry Robert Byrne
Genres
ComedyDrama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Elijah WoodThomas Jay RyanMark RuffaloJane AdamsDavid CrossKirsten DunstTom WilkinsonRyan WhitneyDebbon AyerAmir Ali SaidBrian PricePaulie LittJosh FlitterLola DaehlerDeirdre O'ConnellLauren Adler
Producers
Georges BermannAnthony BregmanDavid L. BushellLinda FieldsSteve GolinMichael JackmanCharlie KaufmanGlenn Williamson
Studio
NBC Universal
Rating
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagenuditysexual contentsubstance useviolence
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Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

6336 global ratings

  1. 84% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 8% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Matthew D'SouzaReviewed in the United States on September 15, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Cherish Your Memories
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Jim Carrey's finest dramatic performance. He portrays Joel, a depressed and lonely man, who meets Clementine. She is a wondrous light in his mundane life of work and not work. Carrey is the ultimate empathetic every man in this film. You want him to be happy. Kate Winslet gives her famous "manic pixie dream girl" performance as Clementine. I found her at first hyperactive, then so very human as it's slowly apparent how insecure she is with her own life. Their chemistry seems off at first, but you realize they are perfect strangers in this lovely movie.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind captures our feelings in a moment. Charlie Kaufman's script is an appeal to human emotion and empathy as any film I have ever been lucky enough to have seen. How precious are memories? Do they define us? Is our life just a sequencing of memories? I believe Eternal Sunshine asks that we cherish our memories as they are the remembrances of what we have lived. Remember your love and appreciate what you have. Make memories.

Aside from the main themes and morale of the movie, the supporting cast is incredibly strong and subtle. Elijiah Wood is an obsessed man derailing the lives of those around him. He is as creepy as he was in Sin City, but with a subtle flair of subdued insanity. Mark Ruffalo is hilarious and goofy as the lovable mad scientist. I used to find his so ordinary in his acting, but here, Ruffalo is so relatable and interesting. He's a joy to watch and you really feel for him by the end. Tom Wilkinson is the calm and well mannered genius who profession is the erasure of dreams. I think it's evident by the end that his character is trying to escape his emotions just as much as any of his patients. Finally, my personal favorite, Kirsten Dunst as Mary. She is so charming and sweet. She plays the fun loving Mary, whose secret changes the way people feel forever. Dunst plays the profoundly sad girl you love so very well. She is enchanting on screen and you cannot help, but sympathize for her character. Mary's story is perhaps the saddest of all the character arcs in Eternal Sunshine.

It must be noted, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has, perhaps, the most astoundingly seamless film edits of any movie ever. Every time a scene shifts or transitions from scene to scene or to another location, you are stunned by the forced perspectives and hard cuts. It's so well done and obvious that each cut, angle, and frame is purposefully edited to perfection. This movie is visual euphoria. Absolutely immaculate editing, gorgeous cinematography, and superbly refined directing from Michel Gondry. Gondry's direction marks a true show of film making prowess. The deliberate manipulation of the audience through his magical framework is awe inspiring.

I hope you watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I think it will make for a pleasant memory.
76 people found this helpful
J. S. BellReviewed in the United States on October 5, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
A remarkable intimacy.
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Yes, on the surface, this is about memories, how precious they are, how they make us who we are. But if the story had stopped there, it would have been cliché. But instead it took us deeper, to a place that's hard to look at, how we come into relationships as we really are, no matter how we try to hide it, broken, anything but perfect, much less capable of the intimacies of love than we would like to admit. And yet, if we are extremely lucky, we find that person we can show all that to, and they let us see all of them, complete nakedness of the soul, but with no shame, only love. That is the ultimate intimacy.
6 people found this helpful
Donald H.Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
A romantic couple and how they complement and make the other whole
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Clementine Kruczynski, aka Tangerine (Kate Winslet) is fearless and uninhibited when it comes to latching on to her new beau, Joel Barish (Jim Carrey). She acts like someone who is on the rebound from a sudden, broken relationship. The way they coalesce (hook up) is almost to good to be true. Joel sees her as exciting, flashy, and a lot of fun, a riot. She is a risk taker and an adrenaline driven thrill seeker that takes Joel on a wild ride and out of his comfort zone. She proposed marriage and after a few days exclaimed she wanted to have a baby. Joel, nonplussed, is more responsible and reasonable than the impulsive, high-maintenance Clementine, and he feels he is in over his head. He goes to a hypnotherapist to expunge her from his memory, so he can move on and get his life back. At some point, he has second thoughts about erasing and removing their blooming friendship from his memory. There's a tug-of-war between the doctor who is contractually bound to carry out the procedure and Joel, who wants to preserve and hold on to this meaningful relationship. It becomes a race against the clock between these two opposing forces - the doctor trying to clear and create a tabula rasa (spotless mind) and Joel trying to keep fond memories of Clementine ever present. The use of a EEG - CAT scan to measure and record the process of selective memory eradication added an element of realism to this sci-fi comedy. What if this neurological capability was within the realm of medical science! If I could digress into a particular scene, they are laying supine on frozen Lake Montauk in N.Y. Looking up at the night sky, he pointed out the sword and belt of Orion, which he didn't know by name, and told her it was "Osidius the Emphatic" constellation. Huh? He made that up off the top of his head to impress her. The storyline is original and more complicated than this brief review describes. Although Kate Winslet naturally speaks with a British accent, you would think she was an American from her speaking to her extraordinary acting.
11 people found this helpful
Paul S. PersonReviewed in the United States on July 11, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
This Is A Hard One
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This is a hard film to review because it has Jim Carrey in it and it is not a comedy.
Also, it cheats on the story-line. But how would be telling.
Our Heroes (male and female) meet, fall in love, and split. The woman then has all memories of the man erased. The man then follows suit.
But that is not the end. For one thing, the man changes his mind but cannot stop the procedure, so you do have some amusing efforts to hide his memories of her.
For another, the erasure is done in his apartment by a dweeb who invites the secretary over for some sex while the machine is on automatic (and goes off the rails) and a callow assistant who disappears, forcing the Boss to show up and take over.
Which /could/ have been a comedy, but was done as a drama.
You may like this better than I did, and that's just fine.
One person found this helpful
JohnReviewed in the United States on November 23, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Absolutely Stunning. Mind Blowing truly a word to describe this movie. Magical.
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If you liked "Adaptation"...you'll love this too.

So few movies are truly original. It's an old story..Boy Meets girl, Boy loses girl (watch their relationship disintegrate before your very eyes!) Does boy want girl back? I don't know if you can call their relationship love. But decide for yourself.

Each scene is a mini-masterpiece in itself. You don't even recognize Jim Carey. What a sad sack, lost...wandering...clueless but wanting love so badly. And his counterpoint in love...absorbing and vile in many ways. But it works so well.

And the way it's filmed...the visual twists and disintegration of life, and houses and memories. Magical.

If you don't like "complicated" movies...avoid at all costs. But if you recognize original and magical...this could become one of those you can keep in your pocket and pull out when you want to be dazzled. If you like this, watch Adaptation too.
16 people found this helpful
Christina ReynoldsReviewed in the United States on March 21, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Are you worth being remembered?
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My rating is more of a 4.5.
Thanks for reading!

"𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒊𝒔 𝒊𝒕, 𝑱𝒐𝒆𝒍. 𝑰𝒕'𝒔 𝒈𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 𝒈𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒔𝒐𝒐𝒏."
"𝑰 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘."
"𝑾𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒅𝒐 𝒘𝒆 𝒅𝒐?"
"𝑬𝒏𝒋𝒐𝒚 𝒊𝒕."

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American comedy-drama film written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry. It follows an estranged couple who have erased each other from their memories. The ensemble cast includes Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, and Tom Wilkinson.

Using a non-linear means of narration to examine the nature of memories and love, the genius of Charlie Kaufman prevents ‘Eternal Sunshine…’ from being too difficult to follow. Context clues provided abound (and, not to mention funny enough, the color of Clementine's hair) assist in making viewers aware of what transitional period of the relationship between Clementine and Joel is currently taking center stage. In the grand scheme of things this technique becomes a self-referential reminder of the ways memories or the mere fragments of them can forcibly leak and insert themselves into our present-day experiences to their detriment. Most impressively: ‘Eternal Sunshine…’ manages to sneak surprises of their own for audience members despite starting from what could assumed as a conclusive point and working its way back to a beginning.

Acting outside of their typical architects in Hollywood - Clementine and Joel are a force to be reckoned with. Joelle - helplessly jaded by the monotone tune of his existence - is brought to life by virtue of a beautifully nuanced and tame performance. Winslet embraces the free-spirited and eccentricity that encapsulates Clementine without indulging to a point of exhaustion. If I asked for one thing (and one thing only), I would have liked the implied complexity of their personalities and the emotions they conjure more smoothly and organically intertwined with one another. Because this is missing at times it is hard to offer empathy to characters so seemingly at odds with one another.

It's fun, however, to imagine what people like Joel and Clementine bring to a table that becomes stained with disaffection. If you close your eyes you can imagine someone like them in your parameter: their influences defined by a desire for isolation and a yearning for meaningful connections in equal (but always changing) amounts. In recognizing their own faults over time it's easy to understand how their company can lead to eventually letting down their own guard. In Joel I see structure in the sense of stability. in Clementine I see hints of acceptance so rarely executed in stride. I see two beings so strongly constrained by their own anxieties and flaws
Most importantly: I see two people so deserving of happiness and love.

The ending requires some amount of subplots to justify its means, but I am sorry to say that some of the exposition and points of contention feel largely undeveloped. Why is the audience made to witness Patrick's awkward attempts to appease Clementine and earn her affections? Why include platonically intimate interactions taking place between the individuals responsible for wiping Joel's memory away? If given a few days I'm sure I could find a reason these relationships are given the time they are allowed, but only one is truly needed to steer ‘Eternal Sunshine…’ towards its conclusion.
(Sidenote - I think I'm starting to connect the dots here in that these relationships help to reinforce the idea of Clementine “not being” a concept and incapable of making someone else whole by simply existing. Let’s chat about it in the comments if you have your own thoughts.)

Outside of commentary that suggests the erasing of memories isn't the key to happiness, Eternal Sunshine…’ encourages thoughts and introspections with greater real world applications. As Joel's recollections of Clementine fall apart I find myself wondering - do Joel and Clementine even want to be memorable people? Is it possible that overtime the possibility of being forgotten can mean just as much as the desire to be remembered? I look inside of myself to deduce some amount of merit in this regard, but the prevarication injected and witnessed as a coping mechanism of sorts makes me feel justified in doing so.

The Merry-Go-Round of memory is capable of taking a variety of structures built to evoke the feelings most often associated with them.
At times a haunted carnival: Uncomfortable. Terrifying. Without mercy or remorse.
During others a house of mirrors: Confusing. Provocative. Endlessly questionable and ambiguous.
Most often though: It's both of these things and neither of them at the same time.
I simply thank ‘Eternal Sunshine…’ for this much needed reminder.
I would recommend.
pesReviewed in the United States on October 17, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Hmmmm...
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There's a lot I could say about this. I'll try to be brief. First, Jim Carey was superb in this film. The only loveable character. Loneliness can lead people to do strange things, like fall for someone who is clinically insane. I just feel so deeply sorry for people in situations like this, sadly seen this too many times with friends, relatives, etc. Makes me sad there are so many unstable people in the world. The world would be so much better if people just tried acting like decent human beings, respecting themselves and each other. This movie does a good job displaying dysfunctionality and its effects on the mind. It also entertains the quick fix idea of memory modification to eliminate heartache. But the subplots and discombobulation, while they reflect the underlying instabilities of the characters, can be distracting and confusing. I guess I've just seen this happen to too many people in real life. The fallout is not fun.
VinceReviewed in the United States on December 25, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
I saw a lot of psychoanalytic elements in it - the child's sense of defeat and fear for not having mother's love, the outward ex
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I watched it when I was in college, and now again in graduate school after I learned about Freud and psychoanalysis. At that time it did not struck me much, but this time it is mesmerizing. I saw a lot of psychoanalytic elements in it - the child's sense of defeat and fear for not having mother's love, the outward expression of social awkwardness that is rooted in Joel's early school experiences, Joel's obsession with a peak at a woman's crotch that developed at early age with the caregiver, Joel's happiness in the sink/water (probably made him feel protected in mother's womb?) and his fear to drown (the babysitter seemed to shower him in the sink and he was afraid to step on the ice in Boston?), and his struggles within his psyche about whether he should break away from her (which is rooted in their conflicts in real life). There are probably more, but I cannot recall now (or perhaps I don't want to - a Freudian loss of memory to prevent facing something myself).

In a bigger picture, it also reminds me of Weber and Durkheim a bit. Joel, like his name implies, is a man who internalized the institutional logic. He's very mannered, conservative, and living in a "correct" life style. Clementine, almost on the polar opposite, is impulsive, insecure, adventurous, and living in a "fucked-up life" as she deeply reflects about herself. The two seem to follow the principle of like for dissimilarity - a kind of social solidarity that glues people together. Yet they are also similar in a fundamental way: they are both lonely and outsiders of the larger and "normal" society.

Perhaps everyone of us is in between Joel and Clementine, struggling with a proper identity in the world, constantly wondering what meanings we want to create for ourselves. This movie, very much like Freud's work, can help us understand ourselves and then make peace with our souls. In this regard, this is truly humanitarian, in the deepest sense possible.
7 people found this helpful
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