- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- Directed by Michel Gondry
- Starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet
First things first, the movie was wonderful, but the ending broke the parable.
If it had ended with the two of them in the car and without all the Kirsten Dunst mailing out the letters crap, it would have held together much better. But, as it was constructed it still succeeded in creating a perfect paradox.
On one side you have the romantic notion of true love; two people who are meant to be together, proceed to completely (literally, in this case) lose each other and then find each other again.
On the flip side of this paradox is the fact that you have two people that are miserable together and then are drawn back together to relive the misery from the start.
The lesson is that this parallels what most of us end up doing, falling in love with someone we are hopelessly incompatible with and then spending the rest of our lives chasing after people who are similar to the incompatible one. Of course, in this case it actually is the same person.
As it stands, with the produced ending, we are left with a much more traditional “movie”. And as viewers we are put through the horrible ugliness of the two of them reliving the break up tapes, which is heartbreaking.
The third act of the movie was something beautiful, with him chasing after the disappearing memories of her, it is a shame we are not left with that feeling instead.
Charlie Kaufman is very important, he is taking the media to a new place, a place that no other medium can go to as effectively. Film has been searching out it’s place in the arts for 100 years and several periods have seen film take advantage of it’s unique advantages over stage, novels, poetry et al.
From Technicolor, to special effects to animation, the auteurs of the medium have taken story telling to places that weren’t accessible on the stage or on the page, but CK, along with a few others (Paul Thomas Anderson, for one, comes to mind) is taking advantage of the ability to cohesively meld conscious action with subconscious thoughts.
This is hard to do on stage, but on film it is perfectly coherent and effective. We don’t need to be told that this scene is real or this scene is a dream, it is all spelled out visually, which allows the story teller to just keep on with the story, seamlessly blending all the levels without pausing to let us breathe.