Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Happy Birthday to "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"

March 19, 2004-- One of the greatest movies ever made opens in theaters.  Directed by Michel Gondry, written by Charlie Kaufman and starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind marks a sublime snapshot of everyone involved was at the top of their game.

It's greatness isn't up for debate as far as I'm concerned.  It's personal, beautiful, anguishing, haunting, funny, sad, hopeful, romantic, weird and well, eternal.  To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (how did that happen so fast?), the least one can do is give it a revisit.  For a film I'm rather hopelessly possessive and obsessed with, forgive me for making it all about me, but the best thing I can say about this modern masterpiece (a word I don't use lightly, in fact, one I try to seldom use at all) is that it feels so much like a film that was made just for me, the personal component is important.  Particularly when the film itself is sculpted, twisted and pretzel-curved out of such relatable pain.  Yet through the miracle of an ingenious screenplay, playful direction, top-tier actors and crafty artisans, the film is never depressing-- it sings, it soars, it inspires.

I remember seeing the film in theaters on opening day, it was a matinee.  It was showing at the kind of grungy-looking strip mall theater near where I used to live.  Not my ideal spot, but relatively inexpensive.  I had wished it opened, instead, at the nicer, far more comfortable multiplex across the street, but for cinema, sacrifices are made.  To this day, I'm surprised the film opened wide-- for such a nutty, hard to suss-up mind bend, that takes some real balls on the part of Focus Features, who distributed-- I doubt that would happen had the movie opened this year.  Anyhow, the first viewing (there have at least fifteen more since than, and that's probably being conservative), I don't remember being instantly in love with the film.  There was certainly a crush, but I was fuzzy, nearly instantly unsure of what I had just seen.  Yet with time, my method of discerning if a film is truly great, Eternal Sunshine (unlike a few of its protagonists) stayed, kept refreshing and churning inside my brain.  I hope it stays there forever.


The Film Experience is celebrating by collecting the best shots of this beautiful movie.  Which is actually really hard.  For a film so feeds the mind and heart so fully, it's sometimes hard to remember what an absolute beaut of film it truly is, ever more so because the very best (and most instantly iconic) beats of the film are in such constant motion.  My pick is a simple one of Clementine Kruczynski's huffing out the door.  Winslet, giving one of the best performances ever, pounces and acts the hell out of her; my pick needed to Clementine-centric.  I have more to say on Eternal Sunshine-- the 10th Anniversary will live on for the next couple of days.



isnt it funny how a film can feel so personal -- like its yours -- but all these other very different people feel the same?


isnt it funny how a film can feel so personal -- like its yours -- but all these other very different people feel the same?

James Tisch said...

Absolutely. They belong to all of us. Thankfully, "Eternal Sunshine" can never be erased.

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