Fragility of Memories
a short analysis of the film
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
by Raneem Ali
It’s one thing to get over someone, and another to totally delete them from your memory. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind is a romantic movie that left us all speechless, it is one of those movies that leave you staring into nothingness for a while to be able to process and digest everything that just happened. It really portrays love’s decay in a raw, true way, keeping out all the romantic fantasies and clichés.
Michel Gondri, the director of this movie, is a French director, screenwriter, and producer known most for his inventive visual style. He won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay as one of the writers of the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a film he directed too.
The idea of the movie really caught my attention, and as I watched it time and time again, I noticed how fragile memories are, and how forgetting about a certain memory, really isn’t that hard.
The concept of nostalgia is used widely in this movie, for instance, when the doctors were working on removing Joel’s memories, and Joel was in his memories, he saw them differently than they actually were, he only started trying to stop the procedure when he realized he would actually lose Clementine. The funny thing about love is it can endure the conditions of its ending; we remember good times better than bad ones, and Joel decides mid-process that maybe he would like to remember Clementine after all. A quote that stuck to me from these scenes was:
“Please let me keep this memory, just this one.” — Joel Barish
One more thing that caught my interest was how we had two relationships in this movie prove how even erasing the memories of a person won’t stop them from meeting and falling in love all over again. Take Dr Howard and Mary’s relationship as another example.
“You’ll remember me in the morning, and you’ll come to me, and you’ll tell me about us, and we’ll start over.” — Clementine Kruczynski.
Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind has so much depth and many layers, and not everyone will understand every layer, which I think is extremely unique, because as you watch the movie you notice a new event and you tie it with a previous one, like a little puzzle. Also, as you re-watch the movie, you will notice tiny details you missed the previous time.
The story-told-in-reverse is a common movie device, usually used to conceal information from the audience and reveal a major plot twist at last. Charli Kaufman, the screen writer, and Gondri used it to a different end, slowly uncovering not hidden facts but forgotten emotions. There are no unexpected discoveries about Joel and Clementine, just a backward view of love's decay, a love story in reverse.