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A Reality-Skewing Presentation
at Friday Night Movies:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

 

Friday the 3rd of October

 

I already forget how I used to feel about you.
--Original tagline

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USA: 2004 -- Directed by Michel Gondry
Written by Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry & Pierre Bismuth
Starring Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson & Kirsten Dunst

Please let me keep this memory, just this one.
--Jim Carrey as Joel Barish


Screenwriters rarely develop a distinctive voice that can be recognized from movie to movie, but the ornate imagination of Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) has made him a unique and much-needed cinematic presence. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a guy decides to have the memories of his ex-girlfriend erased after she's had him erased from her own memory--but midway through the procedure, he changes his mind and struggles to hang on to their experiences together. In other hands, the premise of memory-erasing would become a trashy science-fiction thriller; Kaufman, along with director Michel Gondry, spins this idea into a funny, sad, structurally complex, and simply enthralling love story that juggles morality, identity, and heartbreak with confident skill. The entire cast--Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, and more--give superb performances, carefully pitched so that cleverness never trumps feeling. A great movie. --Bret Fetzer

Hope to see you there. I'll save you an aisle seat and some old memories.


Awards

Won 37 various awards & 50 nominations

Won Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry & Pierre Bismuth)

Nominated for Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Kate Winslet)

Won Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film

Ranks #57 on the Internet Movie Database's Top 250 Movies

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Memorable Quotes

Mary: How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! / The world forgetting, by the world forgot / Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! / Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd. [from Alexander Pope's poem "Eloisa to Abelard"]

Joel: Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.

Joel: Is there any risk of brain damage?
Howard: Well, technically speaking, the operation is brain damage, but it's on a par with a night of heavy drinking. Nothing you'll miss.

Joel: Can you hear me? I don't want this any more! I want to call it off!

More quotes


Trivia

The memory-erasing company, Lacuna Inc., takes its name from the Latin word meaning a cavity, hollow, or dip, especially a pool or pond. Transfiguratively, lacuna comes to mean a gap, deficiency, or loss.

Virtually all of the most bizarre and fascinating scenes in this movie were created with old fashioned camera, editing, lighting and prop/set tricks. The use of digital effects was very limited. The striking kitchen scene with Joel as a child was created with an elaborate forced perspective set-up similar to some used by Peter Jackson in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The computer used during the procedure is actually an Amstrad PPC (Portable Personal Computer) from the early 1990s.

More trivia


Goofs

Errors in geography: Long Island Railroad trains are shown with a red stripe on the cars. This is the livery color for Metro North trains. LIRR trains are blue.

Continuity: When Joel and Clementine first talk to each other in the train, Joel says, "I was trying to be nice." At that moment the train is passing an urban area. In the next shot, the train is in a heavily forested area.

Revealing mistakes: Members of the public can be seen waving to the camera while Joel is driving in his car.

More goofs