This film has been on my radar for quite some time, yet I hadn’t actually got round to seeing. Despite hearing great things about it, I never found the time to actually sit down and see for myself. Finally, I have got round to seeing it.
Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind is the story of a couple, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, who after a breakup, both decide to have each other erased from their memories.This film is technically very very good. The acting is fantastic. The story is compelling and deep. It looks great. It is smart enough without being too complex. It is everything a great film in its genre should be. Yet I wasn’t blown away by it. And I really can’t put my finger on why?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this film, and would watch it again (in fact I do want to watch it again), but it didn’t quite give me exactly what I was expecting. I have heard nothing but rave reviews about this film and with an 8.4 IMDB rating, quite easily sits in the top 100 films on their site, and I can understand why it is held in such high regard – but at the same time, I sort of can’t.
Perhaps I went into this film with too high an expectation, that it would never be able to live up to. I was fairly tired when I watched it, so maybe it was that? But I was paying full attention, so not like I missed bits. And I did infact piece together what was happening relatively quickly – which I’m not quite sure if you are supposed to grasp it that easily or not – please let me know if you did the same, I’m not entirely sure if it was needed to be worked out, or it was just expected to be picked up on as part of the story.
So, as I said – I enjoyed this film, it did a lot things very well and ticked a lot of boxes. So rather than dwell on why it didn’t quite live up to my expectations, I will talk about what I did like about this film instead.
I recently praised Jim Carrey for his comedy, and now I am going to praise him for a serious performance. Carrey plays the straight role very well, and to the untrained eye, could easily be just a straight actor. You definitely can’t see any Lloyd Christmas or Cable Guy in Jim’s performance as Joel! I never was that big of a fan of Kate Winslet, despite never actually seeing her in anything – although my opinion of her has changed now. I wouldn’t say I’m her biggest fan, but I now wouldn’t turn down a film just because she is in it – I was pleased with her performance in Carnage (2011) and now this. Winslet’s Clementine is a complex character, that I flipped from liking to disliking a few times, very quickly – and I think it is a credit to the performance that my opinion on the character kept changing as I saw and learned more about her. What is great about this film, is that with such an unbelievable concept – the characters are incredibly believable – and credit is due heavily to the writing, casting and performances.
I really loved the concept – although not a realistic idea (at least not in today’s world yet) it is really very interesting. And the difference in the characters as their motivation to have the erasing procedure done is a spectacle to watch. Winslet’s almost bipolar Clementine is compulsive and makes a rash decision, where Carrey’s Joel is slightly more collected is also driven by emotions, but in a different way – it is difficult to explain and I don’t think I can do the character portrayals of the two justice with my words – but if you watch the film you will see where I am coming from.
The supporting cast are great, with big names such as Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood and Tom Wilkinson. And although supporting cast members, their stories are more central to story than might meet the eye, and adds a great deal to the film. The story is very philosophical, and whilst the story isn’t too complex, it will definitely make you think about things, and maybe even in a new light. It did for me anyway – which is always a huge win for a film to have that effect on me.
As I have said, I do want to re-watch this – maybe feeling a little but fresher before I set my opinion in stone. I perhaps was being too critical, when I think back now about how the film actually did make me feel and think about, it is actually a bloody good film!
I would love to know how you felt it – immediately after viewing, and in retrospect. please let me know your thoughts!
I was going to rate this as a 7/10 to begin with, however I will bump this up to a 7.5/10 – with the potential to become an 8 – will have to see after a repeat viewing. Watch this space!