Jim Carrey Was Depressed While Filming Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Genre: fantasy, melodrama
Year of production: 2004
Director: Michel Gondry
Actors: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Elijah Wood and others
It is unlikely that the meaning of the film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, Michel Gondry’s poignant fantasy drama starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, remained completely incomprehensible to those who watched it. After all, even the official slogan speaks of him: “You can erase love from memory, another thing is to throw it out of your heart.” And yet there are details that can complement and, perhaps, rethink the idea of the picture in some way.
What is the movie about
Joel Berish, a secluded melancholic, wakes up and is about to go to work, but already at the station he abruptly changes his route and goes to a cold beach. On the train back, he meets the expressive and cheerful Clementine Kruczynski.
Next, we are returned to the past of the protagonist. It turns out that Joel and Clementine not only already knew each other, but were in a relationship. Their life was filled with vivid emotions, but more and more scandals occurred. Clementine ended up leaving Joel. He came to the girl in the store where she worked as a cashier to apologize. However, Clementine did not recognize him. It was revealed that she erased her memories of Joel at the Lacuna Company. The hero decides to answer her in kind.
The main characters are Clementine and Joel. The roles were played by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. Frame from the film.
Employees of Lacuna come to Joel’s house to erase all memories of Clementine on his order and begin the procedure. We see the main character in the world of dreams-memories, we observe episodes of his relationship with Clementine – among them there are both difficult and happy moments.
In the end, Joel realizes that, despite all the bad things that happened between him and the girl, he does not want to forget her. He tries to hide the imaginary Clementine in memories of events in his childhood that she had nothing to do with, as a result of which Lacuna’s technicians have to erase them too.
We are also shown the stories of other unfortunate lovers – secondary characters. We see Lacuna’s technician Patrick trying to charm Clementine using the items and information provided to the company by Joel, but she reveals the deception towards the end.
Lacuna employees Mary and Stan seem to be in love with each other, but it turns out that Mary loves her boss, Dr. Murzwiak. She tries to get close to him, which is witnessed by the doctor’s wife. Under pressure from his wife, Merzwiak admits that they already had an affair, but he erased Mary’s memories of it. The girl understands that Lacuna’s technology destroys the memory of love, but is unable to remove love itself.
Mary and the Doctor, played by Kirsten Dunst and Tom Wilkinson. Frame from the film.
Mary sends Joel and Clementine parcels with information about the memory erasure case and audiotapes with recordings on which they tell in detail what exactly they do not like with each other and why they want to destroy the memories of their love. The heroes understand that, while experiencing a strong attraction at first, by the end of their forgotten relationship, they already experienced anger, parting was inevitable. Despite this, Joel and Clementine decide to start over with a clean slate.
The meaning of the film
The director and writers did not try to make secrets from the plot of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. There is no special hidden meaning to be found here.
The message that true love cannot be erased is read almost immediately, even if the viewer has not understood the film’s slogan.
The explanation of the game over time (episodes from the future of the characters, a gradual return to the past, then to the memory of the past and again to the future) also quickly becomes clear. A special analysis here, perhaps, is not required.
What gives depth to the film is not the plot, but the unique directorial approach of Michel Gondry and the excellent acting of Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. It is thanks to this combination that the film does not slip one iota into a vulgar, albeit instructive, melodrama.
Michel Gondry is known for his vision, which can be described as the realism of surrealism. Its meaning is to depict something fantastic or even delusional, but in such a way that the viewer feels like an observer of events from a very close distance.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was filmed with a hand-held camera often used in documentaries and mockumentary films. Plays a role and special lighting in the scenes in the memories of Joel. While working on the editing, Gondry was abandoned by a girl, which already at this stage added even more realism to the picture.
One of the main writers of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” Charlie Kaufman is also known for his very original approach to films. Critics in reviews of his films often say that he shoots everything exclusively about himself and about unhappy events and experiences in his own life, forcing the viewer to merge with the director’s personality. A certain realistic and everyday surreal in his films is also present in large quantities.
Jim Carrey, starting filming, was devastated and close to depression. Gondry, seeing this state of his, asked the actor to remain in it until the end of the film. So we can say that we saw not just Jim Carrey without his usual antics and antics (almost), but in principle the real Carrey, playing himself in a difficult period of life.
All these elements that add realism to a fantasy film make it feel like a drama that actually took place. Even the name “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is a reference to real events. More precisely, it is a quotation from a poem by the eighteenth-century English poet Alexander Pope. In the film, these lines come from the lips of Mary, thanks to whose act Joel and Clementine at the end, in fact, found each other again.
The poem tells about the unhappy love of the twelfth century French philosopher and theologian Peter Abelard and his student Heloise. Abelard is famous for proclaiming reason as the only tool for knowing the divine, which, of course, was unthinkable in those days, and his teaching was put on trial. The lovers were separated, but could correspond with each other. This correspondence is filled with pain and longing for two unfortunate people.
Eloise, who was forced to become a nun, mourns in Pope’s poem and says that true love cannot be forgotten, even when completely detached from all worldly things. The line “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, which, based on the context, should be translated as “Prayers accepted – desires pacified” is just about detachment.
Frame from the film.
The meaning of the “Lacuna” technology (by the way, the speaking name: a gap is a gap, a gap, a recess, a gap) is the same as the punishment for Abelard and Eloise. Employees of Lacuna, with the help of their invention, are trying to pacify the desires of lovers and clear their minds, literally cutting out their memories of each other. But this is not enough to kill love.
At the end of the film, a catharsis awaits the viewer – the characters remain together, despite the fact that they know the ugly truth and even the fact that, perhaps, their relationship is again doomed to failure. And there is an interesting twist here.
The director and screenwriters of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” were walking on thin ice: if they wanted to slip us a banal explanation “it’s just that love turned out to be stronger”, then the finale would have turned out to be extremely sugary and not at all vital. However, the heroes decide to be together not under the influence of an inexplicable force. This is an act in the spirit of “was not there”, but a conscious act that makes us respect and love these characters even more.
Here we first of all understand how Joel has changed – unlike the open and free Clementine, he was always closed and immersed in his experiences. For his beloved, often behaving like a child who is interested in everything bright and new, he tried to be a sane parent. But there came a moment when Joel realized that sometimes you just need to surrender to love and dive into the arms of warm sunlight, as opposed to the “eternal sunshine of the pure mind” which implies openness to life and the world.