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  • Alique Kalachian

Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind

Heartbreak. The feeling is familiar to many people, but what if it didn't have to be? In the world created in Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, it’s possible to completely forget that you ever did love a person. In the thought-striking masterpiece, Kaufman makes the viewer wonder whether or not they would erase a previous love they had in their life through his striking use of perspective.

Some people wish they never loved, so they could never have lost, but others argue that that love, along with the loss, is important to have known. In this movie, the main character’s love interest, Clementine, a moody, impulsive, and adventurous girl has her memories of her and Joel’s love completely erased. Every adventure, lesson, laughter, and tear was completely gone from her memory. Joel, a sad, lonely, unmotivated man, found out about this and proceeded to do the same, out of spite and impulse. The movie walks the viewer through Joel’s head as his memories of their adventurous love erase, one by one. The beauty in the movie comes with every emotion, tear, and memory that the viewer experiences with Joel.

As the director showed the viewer every memory Joel was having erased from his head, he communicated Joel’s perspective and emotions in multiple different ways. His surreal exhibition of his imagination made the viewer truly feel like they were in the mess of one’s heartbroken mind. Kaufman overlapped the different realities in Joel’s head, making everything feel like a large web. Somehow, though, he brilliantly managed to organize this large web for the viewer to understand the chain of events. Through his surreal storyline, the viewer truly felt and experienced every memory as if it were their own.

By definition, a “good movie” is one that successfully expresses the ideas the director meant to express, and makes the viewer think about them for a long time. In the case of this movie, Kaufman asked the viewer, “If you could erase the thing you loved most, but also broke you the most, from your life, would you?” According to Joel, no. As Joel experienced everything one more time, he realized he wanted to hold on, no matter how much it hurt. Joel wanted to remember the love with the pain because it gave him purpose. This love that was meant to be lost gave his mundane life value and gave him something new to wake up for.


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