Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Charlie Kaufman's bizarre, charming script is the foundation for this highly interesting and to a large extent effective film by French director Michel Gondry. Jim Carrey is impressive in an unlikely turn and Kate Winslet is delightfully vigorous by his side (in an almost equally unlikely turn). The film is a triumphant achievement in visual design and creative storytelling. Gondry shows an uncanny talent for interlacing images and Kaufman's playful script fits in perfectly as the film jumps between chronological events and flashbacks going on in Joel Barish's mind.
The unorthodox narrative style is fascinating, but it keeps the viewer somewhat distanced from the romantic potential of the film. However, the approach is interesting when it comes to observing the process of a relationship. Carrey and Winslet work fine together, but even so, the film is at its most vivacious in the subplot concerning a bubbly comic pairing of Elijah Wood and Mark Ruffalo. And how about a romance between Tom Wilkinson and Kirsten Dunst?
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
is the sort of picture that is more fascinating than compelling. Charlie
Kaufman is a talented non-minimalist writer, but his characters are
rarely given the time to do things on their own. And as with Adaptation,
the film ultimately becomes somewhat frustrating when the characters are
undermined by the narrative style. Still, the inventiveness is valuable
and charming and keeps the effort interesting throughout.