Saturday, February 18, 2006

Not Your Average Love Story

I saw a movie two years ago, that really got my brain ticking. What if one could erase all the memories of past relationships? What if one could just clear the mind and start over with a clean slate? I'm sure the thought has entered the minds of those who have experienced a break-up at one point or another.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a movie that truly challenges and messes up your brain yet breaks your heart at the same time. I never thought I'd enjoy a film like this, until I took the time to really absorb it. It's something I think many people can relate to. Yes, I have to admit that Eternal Sunshine had me in tears.

I originally intended on writing a review myself, but Entertainment Weekly pretty much summed up everything I had wanted to say. I highly recommend watching this movie. Some people I've spoken to have either loved it or hated it. It really takes some effort for some to get into it, but if you can understand all the crazy twists and don't mind getting your brain messed with, then you'll be able to see the film for what it's really worth...and the message it relays is priceless.

Here's the review from Entertainment Weekly:

"Early on, Joel (Jim Carrey), shy and gangly, with a shock of hair that covers his forehead, has a mysterious, itchy compulsion to ditch the New York commuter platform where he's on his way to work. He squeezes his way onto a train that takes him to the east end of Long Island, and though the whim makes no sense, either to him or to the audience, the moment that he spies the sexy, blue-haired Clementine (Kate Winslet), a neurotically intense motormouth flirt who chats him up on the train, it feels like destiny.
So does everything else in the movie. ''Eternal Sunshine'' begins, in effect, at the bitter end of Joel and Clementine's relationship, when he discovers that she has had her memories of him entirely erased. Devastated, Joel pays a visit to Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), the dowdy mad scientist of memory elimination, who occupies what looks like a modest dentist's office. Once there, Joel decides to undergo the procedure himself. As he lies, first in the office, then in his bed, in a trancelike sleep, his head strapped into a giant silver cap that is hooked to blinking machines run by Mierzwiak's tech-dweeb assistants (Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood), his memories don't die hard. They die softly, sadly. They're like peak moments of lost love unspooling in the revival theater of his mind.
After ''Being John Malkovich'' and ''Adaptation,'' we expect teeming, manic-to-the-max invention from Charlie Kaufman, only this time he's not just playing, he's searching. He has become the most exciting screenwriter in America by doing something that most writers only dream of: He gets the audience addicted to the freedom and craziness of his mind. ''Eternal Sunshine'' gives off a dizzy romantic charge, as Kaufman and the director, Michel Gondry (the two collaborated in 2001 on the top-heavy trifle ''Human Nature''), lead the audience on a puckish, ingenious science-fiction ride that is really a journey into the beauty -- and fragility -- of connection.
Each of Joel's memories unfolds before us at the moment it's being wiped out. In something like reverse order, we watch the story of his relationship with Clementine: how it flowered and degenerated between one Valentine's Day and the next. The potato dolls in Clementine's apartment; the night she and Joel lay on the frozen Charles River; the day he dodged his fears of fatherhood by telling her she wasn't stable enough to raise a child; Clementine's psychedelic series of changing hair dyes; the fights and cuddles -- as Joel remembers everything, he enters into, and interacts with, those same memories, pleading with them to change in some way. But they can't.
''Eternal Sunshine'' has a lilting psychological fancy, yet it works because it's also rough and real and intimate and alive, with Gondry using a handheld camera to stage backward leaps in time that feel, in execution if not tone, highly influenced by ''Memento.'' Kaufman, never shy about excess, keeps multiplying the structural complications. A subplot with Kirsten Dunst as another Mierzwiak assistant is nifty and clever; the one with Elijah Wood's Patrick exploiting the memory procedure for his own gain is a tad underdeveloped. Yet the cumulative impact leaves the audience happily and profoundly buzzed.
Carrey has often played timid, stammering nerds, but this is the first time he has eradicated any hint of stylization. He makes Joel a deeply vulnerable ordinary man, too ''nice'' for his own good, haunted by dreams of romance he's scarcely bold enough to voice to himself. We can see why he's attracted to Clementine -- she's the sort of highly eroticized, let's-try-anything girl who's a geek's idea of romantic danger -- and, more mysteriously, why she digs him: The way Winslet plays the role, her volatility masks a deeply fractured soul. These two couldn't be more different, yet deep down they're matching wrecks.
The idea of blanking out every last thought of a failed romance, even if it means losing pleasure to get rid of pain, has a blithe topical spookiness; it's like an Orwellian satire of a world moderated -- neutered -- by psychiatric drugs. Kaufman and Gondry, though, aren't out to score didactic points but to dramatize how even our closest relationships are, in effect, stories that unfold in the ways we tell them to ourselves. The ''flaws'' of Joel and Clementine's edgy bond create the very electricity that holds it together. Joel, embracing his memories, comes to appreciate the fragile glory of each and every moment simply for being that moment. Watching ''Eternal Sunshine,'' you don't just watch a love story -- you fall in love with what love really is."


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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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