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2004 Best Screenplay winner "Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind" - CinemaDave

Feb. 28th, 2005 10:03 pm 2004 Best Screenplay winner "Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind"

Charlie Kaufman writes movies that appeal to academics. "Being John Malkovich" and "Adaptation" were Oscar nominated mind bending movies about a man and his relationships. "Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind" continues Kaufman's mindbending themes that allows him to be the poster boy for psychology majors. Kaufman takes simple people and places them in a science fiction "What if" situation. This time Kaufman uses a memory-forgetting drug to bend the minds of his romantic leading couple.

The movie opens with Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslett) on a nice romantic date in the cold country. Joel drives Clementine back to her house and waits for her return. While waiting for her, Joel dozes off the driver's seat and is awaken by Patrick (Elijah Wood). Later, Joel visits Clementine at her work environment and she has no memory of him.
Joel learns that Clementine had attended Lacuna, Inc, a clinic that helps people forget their past. Upon meeting Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), Joel decides to undergo the same treatment. With Lacuna Inc. two lab assistants Patrick and Stan (Mark Ruffalo) monitors Joel's therapy. While in an unconscious state, Joel learns that he wants to retain his memories of Clementine. Joel fights to retain his memories, which disrupts his memory erasing treatment.

You really have to put yourself in a focused state of mind to follow the narrative of "Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind." Both my niece Leigh and I started to doze off during a Friday evening show. This film is so packed with details that if you miss a beat, you are likely consumed by the eternal darkness of a cluttered mind. This film crosses the lines between a surrealistic dreamscape and stark reality, but fortunately Freddy Krueger is not roaming this cinematic landscape.

Kristen Dunst portrays the perky Mary, the girlfriend of one of the assistants, Stan. Along with Ruffaro, this couple represent a patient's worst nightmare about caregivers. The two Lacuna employees make love and get stoned while Joel is in an unconscious state. Patrick pursues the patient's ex girlfriend, Clementine. British ensemble stalwarts Tom Wilkinson and Kate Winslett add credible low key American performances.

Jim Carrey is making some interesting career choices. Now in his forties, Carrey balances his comedic box office performances with smaller ensemble performances in experimental movies like "The Truman Show*"and "Man on the Moon." "Eternal Sunshine on a Spotless Mind" falls into Carrey's serious portfolio and the actor provides a passive, but empathetic performance.

However for the healing power of laughter, one would best review Jim Carrey movies like "Liar, Liar" and "Bruce Almighty." These two movies present big themes with fond memories in an entertaining way. With these movies, Carrey is able to balance his comedic creativity with his handsome Saturday Matinee idol good looks in two movies that are more appropriate for April Fool's Day.

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