Just For You: An 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' Birthday Mixtape
Am I the only one that creates playlists for movies?
It’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’s birthday. Can you believe this gorgeous film is 10 years old? I can’t.
I first saw this movie freshman year of college and I think it changed my view of love. It was instantly added to my list of favorite movies. I even went home and forced my family to watch it. They did not like it. Recently, I asked my mom if she remembered me making them watch it and she said, “It was like a bad acid trip. Not that I’ve taken acid… I just assume that’s what it’d be like.” So I guess this movie isn’t for everyone, but I love it. Movies that make you think and feel are the best.
Eternal Sunshine stars Jim Carrey, in a serious role, as Joel Barish and Kate Winslet as the spontaneous, carefree Clementine Kruczynski. These roles were so different from what we were used to seeing them in and I absolutely loved it. It was the first time I ever thought of Jim as a cute guy I wanted to date. (I still want my own Joel.) Kate was just so badass and awesome with her ever-changing hair colors.
It’s a story about the fall and rise of Clem and Joel’s relationship. True love. Compassionate love. Heartbreaking love. Hopeful love. The love that tore them apart and then miraculously brought them back together. Clem, being her spontaneous self, decides to visit Lacuna Inc. to erase all her memories of Joel. In retaliation, Joel does the same to Clem.
I often imagine if this procedure actually existed. I don’t think I have anyone or anything that I’d want to erase. Holding on to memories and stories- even if they’re terrible ones- makes us who we are. I would love to erase my fear of spiders, but then thinking about the process would be terrifying and then I feel like the fear would eventually just come back. (Because we probably can’t erase something that would most definitely come back into our life at a certain point.)
Most of the movie flashes through Joel’s mind as his memories are being erased. Starting with their relationship falling apart to the beginning where they began to fall in love. He wants to erase the bad memories, but mid-process realizes all the good ones (the memories worth keeping) will also be gone. He tries to stop the process by hiding Clementine in memories where she didn’t exist. He doesn’t want to forget her. He doesn’t want to lose her. After all that he has been through, he still really loves her and it’s heartbreaking.
Fun fact- most of the scenes aren’t even filmed with CGI. The director, Michel Gondry, uses film tricks to make it appear that way. If there were 2 Joels in a scene, Jim Carrey would film, quickly change, and get back into the scene. When Kate disappears in one room then appears in another, she’s really just going through secret doors to disappear and reappear. When Jim appears to be child-sized compared to Kate, it’s just angles and camera illusions. The sink scene is really just a jacuzzi disguised as a sink. It’s amazing! And probably super fun for the actors to shoot.
The film also has an outstanding supporting cast with Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood and David Cross. The stoned scenes with Kirsten and Mark are hilarious. If you haven’t seen it, where have you been? It’s been out for 10 years! Just kidding, but seriously, you should go watch it.
And yes, of course, I love the music. The score by Jon Brion is perfection. Pretty sure it’s one of my favorite movie scores. Every time I hear tracks like Beck’s ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime’ or Electric Light Orchestra’s ‘Mr. Blue Sky’, I immediately think of the movie. And every time I think of the movie, I hear the music, which means it had a perfect soundtrack. I even think of the movie when I hear similar music in a movie. For example, Safety Not Guaranteed has a similar score and I immediately thought of Eternal Sunshine.
I decided to put a playlist together of songs that remind me of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Songs about falling in love, falling apart, and coming back together. The playlist features some older songs by Bright Eyes and Stars and then some newer songs by Vance Joy, Lorde, How Sad, and more.
I hope you never get a Lacuna Inc. message in the mail saying someone erased you. We can’t help who we love and I hope you have or find this rare form of love. And I hope you celebrate the movies that change lives and live on forever. Re-watch/check out the movie, enjoy the tunes and maybe one day I’ll meet you in Montauk.