How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!The world forgetting, by the world forgot.Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d.
–“Eloise to Abelard” by Alexander Pope
This film is fantastic. It is epic, tragic, romantic, fantastic, touching, and cathartic in many ways. It is a movie which must be experienced, and watched more than once.
I planned on re-watching this film for my film review series, but I decided to watch it after I recently saw Inception.
One of my favorite forms of storytelling is the non-chronological kind, because it forces the viewer to put things together in a different way, to put to story together without necessarily being spoon fed. It’s smart storytelling, the kind which trusts the viewer. There should be more films like this.
I don’t want to give too much away, but the film explores the essence of a relationship–the very heart of it. Moreover, it explores the thing that most people would like to do after a break-up: forgetting it. A cutting-edge procedure allows a person to remove memories associate with a specific person, because supposedly that should make the pain go away.
But will it?
Are we better for actually utterly forgetting everything about a relationship just because it went sour?
In addition, the film offers a view which caters to the romantic in me which posits that true love will find itself, no matter what. If “True love is your soul’s recognition of its counterpoint in another,” then it does not matter whether or not you remember that person, for love will out.
It’s much more complex than that, but I urge you to see this movie. There is some cursing, implied sex, but really it’s just intense. The film visually represents memory in a breathtaking way, things go blank, fall away, shift, fade, and dissolve. It’s exceptional.
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett give extraordinary performances, both very different from their normal roles, both to great effect. Their chemistry is palpable, and they convey both the good and bad of a relationship, both before and after. There’s even a great side story that makes the effect of the memory alterations even more acute.
I love this film, and it undoubtedly deserves a place on a list of modern classic movies.
I recommend watching Inception and (500) Days of Summer near to the time you watch this. They thematically go together, but are also similar in their methods of storytelling.
“Well, technically speaking, the operation is brain damage, but it’s on a par with a night of heavy drinking. Nothing you’ll miss.”
“He could wake up all half-baked and, gooey and, and half-baked… mmm, that sounds sooo good. I’m hungry.”
4-Year-Old Joel: “I really want her to pick me up. It’s amazing how strong that desire is…I love being bathed in the sink – such a feeling of security.”
“Random thoughts for Valentine’s day, 2004. Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.”