It’s not all that often in 21st Century all-star casted films that you get a piece of drama that actually touches you in a way only the old stuff does. But Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind  bucks that 21st Century trend incredibly well, and that’s why it’s more than worth watching.

Released in 2004, the film received critical acclaim virtually instantly, and won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, thanks to the excellent craftsmanship of Charlie Kaufman. The writing of Eternal Sunshine is a real rarity in modern filmmaking, dealing with one potent issue – heartbreak – and making it last for a whole film without it feeling like you’re going to spoon out your eyeballs if it doesn’t end soon. Kaufman takes on a creative and philosophical element too, using a nonlinear time structure to tell the story of the romantic relationship of Clementine (Kate Winslet) and Joel (Jim Carrey).

Related image

Relentlessly free spirit Clementine and anxious, reserved Joel’s relationship is told from back to front after an argument which resulted in their separation. Clementine – personified excellently by Kate Winslet in all aspects, from depth of character to varying hair colour – seeks the help of Dr Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson) to erase all memory of Joel.

When Carrey’s Joel finds this out, he goes for the same procedure, and in the process, he realises just how much he loves Clementine and never wants to forget her. From here on in, Eternal Sunshine shows the power of our actions, but also of our emotions, told through the mind of Joel in an emotionally deep performance from Carrey – a stark contrast to his usual style.

It is the radical freedom granted to humans to have someone deleted from their memory, but our human error – our emotions – which mean we cannot ever truly escape our past.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ultimately becomes a film which shows how you may be able to delete memories, but you can never delete how you truly feel. There’s an element of the film which makes you realise how lucky you are to have certain people in your life, no matter how many small annoyances they cause you. Eternal Sunshine is a very human and tragically comic film which will make you smile, laugh, wince and cry all in one – and aren’t they just the best kind?