Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind … [REVIEW]

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.

still-of-kirsten-dunst,-mark-ruffalo-and-tom-wilkinson-in-stralucirea-eterna-a-mintii-neprihaniteThe 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!


8 thoughts on “Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind … [REVIEW]

  1. I’ve never seen this film but would be willing to see it now. I guess I never saw it because I could never quite picture a movie with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet together. He being such the comedian and her the serious actress. But am intrigued by your review and will look into this. Thanks!!

    • I thought that for a long time about Jim Carrey too, but he definitely can pull off a serious role, and the two are a nice pair in this film. If you do get round to watching it I’d be interesting to read your views on it! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  2. One of my favourites, in surreal cinema. It’s been a 10/10 for me, of course I watched it almost a decade ago (back in 2004). I’d say re-watch it with a more relaxed mind. And yes, I managed to piece together what was happening quite quickly as well, but that’s what made it interesting. And I am a huge fan of KW, she is ‘the’ best actress of (from her age group at least) today. I loved Jim Carrey too here. He pulled off a very complex role here.

    • Yes, it definitely needs a re-watch on my part. I was talking with a friend about this who had seen it when it first came out, and he was of a very similar opinion to you – I am a little bit late to the party – although I was 11 when it came out so wasn’t on my radar at the time. The more I look back the more I realize I enjoyed it more than I first thought – I want to leave it a few weeks so I watch it with a fresh mind.

      I have been nicely surprised by KW and now have a lot more time for her. I’ve always been a huge Jim Carrey fan, and was very happy to see that he can also pull off, as you rightly said, a very complex, serious role too.

      Thanks for the follow and comment – hope to see you around the blog in the future! Happy film watching 🙂

  3. I love this film. I’m not sure exactly what you mean when you say you pieced it together pretty quickly. You mean up until Carrey decides to have his own mind erased? I think what we are watching from the beginning up until that point is already their second, third, maybe fourth time ‘meeting’. Here is what I find interesting about the movie.. When they meet on the train, they could have met several times before. They could have fallen in love before. They could have had their minds already erased (and I think that they did). But somehow…. they continue to end up together. But for some reason, he decides he doesn’t want to erase her anymore, while he is in the middle of the procedure. And you end up with this total mindfuck scenario where he is running around in his own memories placing her in parts of it that she doesn’t belong. The concept of the film itself is very complex, I think. It makes you ponder so many things, and I quite like that.

    • When I said pieced it together, I meant that I knew almost right from the start we weren’t watching chronologically, even before it was made obvious. As I said, I’m not sure if I actually figured it out, or we were suppose to realise that anyway – from your comment it makes me think it was the latter. Since watching this film I’ve discussed it with quite a few of my friends and I have drawn the conclusion, that more think about it, the more I loved this film – I definitely want to re-watch it, but not for a while so I watch it with a fresh mind. I definitely agree with you that its strength lies in how it makes you think about things differently.

      • Yeah. It’s def one that the more you dwell, the more you realize how unique and interesting it is. Have you seen Memento? I wonder how you’ll feel about that movie…

      • I have seen Memento. I really enjoyed it when I saw it, I am a big Christopher Nolan fan. I haven’t watched it in a while, so will have to re-visit it soon. I have only seen it once and found it to be a great film to watch with friends, trying to work out what had happened. I’m sure I will enjoy it a second time even though I know what happens.

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