To Love or to Forget to Love?
(That is the Question)
An Analysis of The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
"Clementine has had Joel erased from her memory. Please never mention their relationship to her again." There are good memories and there are bad memories; more often than not it is the latter type of memory that stays burned into our subconscious, making us an unwilling prisoner, trapped in not only our own minds, but also our thoughts. These memories stew in our heads, come back at the least opportune moments, torture us with regrets and leave us asking ourselves, “if only…” This particular type of memory makes us curse being insensible and makes us hate our minds for constantly churning. Sometimes we just want to stick a fork in our brain and be rid of such a memory or if we're in a more fanciful mood, those of us who are more inventive might dream of a way to wipe our brain clean of the unpleasantness.
In The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet, sans her lovely British accent) are two radically different people: Joel is quiet, straight laced, and keeps a journal. While, Clementine is outgoing, rebellious, changes her hair color every other week, and creates abstract art. Well, like they say, opposites attract, and with Joel and Clem, they do, and in a big way. The two opposites magnetically come together and quickly fall in love when they meet one day on a train. This film is a tangled web of twists, and one can ever be quite sure if what they're seeing is what's actually happening.
From the point that Joel decides to skip work and take a commuter train from Yonkers to Montauk to the time he meets the love of his life, Clementine, we are made aware he is a painfully shy man wandering through his life in a cloud of dissatisfaction and loneliness. Clementine wakes him out of his dismal fog and introduces him to all he is not. She is prone to changing her attitudes...