Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
English Title: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Country of Origin: USA
Director: Michel Gondry
Producer(s): Steve Golin
Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman
Cinematographer: Ellen Kuras
Art Director: David Stein
Runtime: 108 minutes
Volume: American - Independent
Yet the film also clearly anticipates a later trend in ‘indiewood’ cinema, perhaps best known as ‘quirky’. Indeed, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind focuses, like many ‘quirky’ films, on a slightly-untypical romantic pairing (let us call them the geek and the girl-with-the-looming-eyes). It has a tone which remains relatively light despite the potential gravity of the topic. It observes its protagonists from up-close, with mostly hand-held camera, and with a sympathetic eye (whereas many of its contemporaries and predecessors take a more distant, ‘objective’ approach). And, most importantly, it has a somewhat ‘childish’ aesthetic – not least in the scene in which Joel is actually transported into a world in which he is a child, surrounded by playful adults twice his size, navigating his way through colourful furniture that is too big for him. Gondry, of course, would perfect this aesthetic is in his later, somewhat disappointing, The Science of Sleep (2006).
First and foremost, however, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is an extraordinary cinematic achievement in its own right. Gondry’s cut-and-paste vision, juxtaposing long shots with close-ups, and high angles with low angles, and blues with pinks, seems designed for Kaufman’s poetry of haphazard plot-turns and idiosyncratic dialogues – and that ending, oh that ending. And Jim Carrey is perhaps just that bit more convincing as the shy, withdrawn Joel because one can sense so well the extent to which he has to restrain himself – and is, at times, so clearly frustrated about it. Indeed, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind might just be that rare feat: a film that is as well crafted as it is conceived; and that is as quick paced as it is contemplative.
Author of this review: Timotheus J.V. Vermeulen