For me, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a great movie, but not the ultimate masterpiece of the century. Don't get me wrong, it is very well executed from start to finish. Also please note that I am not the biggest fan of romance and love stories. 💑
An original premise
The movie can be described as a dramatic comedy with a touch of science fiction. Its biggest quality for me is the original premise, which is based on the idea that "we only realise that we love something when we lose it" and that feelings (especially love) can transcend memory.
It is interesting to highlight that this idea is being exploited to the fullest extent in the story: indeed, we discover that the secondary characters are much more important than we have imagined, notably Patrick, who, after erasing Clementine's memory, fells in love with her. After that, he tries to please her using Joel's memories. And what about Mary's pivotal role, played by an incredible Kirsten Dunst? I found the story really clever and interesting.
A coherent art direction
Technically speaking, I liked the daring cinematography of Michel Gondry who doesn't hesitate to use numerous visual effects to tell his story. The same goes for the editing: the story is told in the form of memories and dreams (in the vein of Lynch, minus his radicalism) which leaves room for several interpretations.
There is not doubt that the photography and the pastel aesthetic color palettes contribute to the cachet of the film. Special mention should be made of the soundtrack: orchestral pieces accompanied at times by the notes of a melodramatic piano and minimalist percussions. All of which contributes to the dreamlike and intimate atmosphere.
Last but not least: the performances are truly exceptional, especially those of Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. Both of them managed to surprise me, compared to their usual roles.
Predictable but masterful in its own ways
The only reproach, for me, is that certain parts of the film proved predictable, such as the ending which can be rephrased: "Oh well, since we love each other, we have to make it work despite the odds, right?"
To conclude, the film tells a conventional but intense love story helped by an original concept and art direction. The characters are interesting because of their antagonism and their love despite the odds. The two heroes decide to relive their love cycle just for the pleasure of reliving all those extraordinary moments, knowing full well that their relationship is doomed. Overall, I had a good time.
My rating: 4/5. 👍