SGNEWWAVE Presents – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

“Adults are, like, this mess of sadness and phobias.”

Imagine being able to erase your memory. What would you choose to forget? In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the filmmakers explore the idea of erasing painful memories and the consequences that come with it, specifically approaching the topic of memory erasure in the aspect of love.

When the relationship between Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) turns sour, Clementine erases her memory of their relationship. Upon knowing this, Joel chooses to do the same. However, it is only through this process that he rediscovers the love they had and, possibly, still have.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a beautiful film. It conveys a very raw message about love in an artistic style as well as unique plot. This film tells its story nonlinearly, constantly moving back and forth in time, almost mirroring the way our memories are scattered in pieces. As the audience, we become very engaged in the story, trying to piece the story together, just as how the characters attempt to piece back the remnants of their relationship. Through this process of his memory erasure, we see how Joel struggles with his conflicting emotions and we are also introduced to other characters’ stories and plotlines. The film plays around with dreams and reality whilst balancing on the fine lines between past, present and future. Despite the complexity of having to juggle characters, plotlines, emotions and time, the messages we take away from the story are simple enough to understand and empathize with.

As Joel revisits his memories, he stumbles upon the happier times he spent being with Clementine. He comes to realizes that he regrets erasing his memory. We watch him, painfully, as he tries to desperately stop the memory erasure by hiding with Clementine in other parts of his memory. In its poignant ending, we learn that it is better to have loved than not at all. As seen in Joel and Clementine’s relationship, when we get into a relationship with someone, we may eventually hate their flaws. But, in the end, we learn that despite knowing that, there is beauty in taking that risk to love someone. We have seen many people fall out of love and wish they had not been in the relationship at all, but at the end of the day, there is always something beautiful in loving someone and choosing to love them, something beautiful in taking that plunge anyway.

We love who we love. Sometimes, we don’t have a choice.


– Kate Winslet mentioned that among all her own performances, this was her favourite performance.

– All of the train shots were shot onboard a real moving train.

– In 2015, the film had a successful theatrical re-release in South Korea.

– Actor Jim Carrey claimed that the hardest day of the shoot was when conditions were unpleasant and tensions were high, leading to him nearly punching Director Michel Gondry.

– The film won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. 

– Director Michel Gondry enjoys encountering problems on set and improvising, which is uncommon of directors.


By: Angel Kwong

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