Eternal Sunshine

Last night Snookums and I went out to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with a friend. I don’t mean to sound like a wanker or anything, but I’m not sure I can say anything meaningful about it right now. It’s just too close. I really, really liked it. I found myself fighting back tears about halfway through. I absolutely loved the ending (though the idealistic part of me wanted it to end as soon as Joel woke up that last time, not wanting to see the messy yet realistic and ultimately uplifting ending). I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank (*eye roll*) the Snook for giggling and squeezing my hand when Joel said, “Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating.” Har har. He also thought it was pretty funny to lose me in the bathroom crowd afterwards so I’d get all weirded out. (And I did just have my hair dyed a funky color…)


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  1. I liked it too, especially the performances by Winslet and Carrey. My only criticism is that it gets way too carried away with its whizz-bang imagery. But a really cool concept nonetheless.

  2. for fellow fans (i LOVED this movie!), check out the original script for the film:

    read the last few bits if you don’t want to go through the whole thing… it confirms the suggested ending (by the blip in the reel of the last shot in the snow) that joel and clem are doomed to repeat the same cycle (of erasure and re-meeting and re-dating) over and over and OVER until they’re old and gray. sort of makes the movie a *tad* more depressing, though…

  3. Hmmm. I really dislike the way that one turns out. Is that the original (stolen) script? It’s nothing like the filmed version. (Mary had an abortion?) As far as I’m concerned, the one that got filmed is the “real” version. Everything else is just process. Writers and directors change their minds all the time. Ever read the original versions of Star Wars? Nothing like the movies. Just because they were set to paper doesn’t make them canon. Maybe Kaufman was in a bad mood the day he wrote that draft. Maybe he realized it would be a silly sci-fi cliche. Maybe he got pissed when the script got leaked and decided to change it to a happy ending for the surprise factor. Who knows? We can only judge the film based on what’s there in it, not by any assumptions about what the filmmaker was *intending*.

    But, assuming that Kaufman DID mean to hint that they were doomed to repeat the process, I still don’t buy it. The problem is that at the end of the film they KNOW that they had it done. I think that self-awareness changes it completely. If they didn’t know, sure, I could see them doomed to repeat themselves forever. But I really think Mary’s actions broke the cycle. They’ve accepted that it might turn out badly, but they’re happy now. I don’t think that after making that decision, they could ever go back and want the process at the end of it.

    Hmmm… This is an interesting discussion though.

  4. well, i would assume the abortion thing was simply cut due to time constraints… you could tell they were leaving something out of the story between those two.

    i still think you can buy the ending in the script (which i would say was definitely suggested by the movie’s last scene re-looping at the end there)…

    so they have the second go around at the relationship and it ends miserably. they now know about the process and decide to have it done the one more time… after all, they did it the first time, so it must be the right thing to do/fate. after that 2nd erasing, there’s no mary or anything, and the cycle can keep going and going (they have no memories of any of it). of course, the doctor’s office would have been shut down after mary’s little mail campaign, etc, but that’s a different story…

    i still wish it would have ended right when it looped back to the film’s beginning. the mary part was annoying, anyway. i would have liked the completely happy ending of them finding each other again and giving it another go.

  5. Me too! As soon as he woke up, I was like, “This is perfect! End HERE, dammit!” But then it didn’t.

  6. Interesting. One reason why I was dissatisfied with this film was that I thought the ending was too upbeat, foregrounding the possibility that the protagonists might not totally screw up their relationship the second time around, which seemed like such a copout to me. I wanted them to end up worse off than they were previously, not better. With that in mind, I’m not sure that first draft’s self-sustaining cycle would have been much of an improvement.

    But that’s just me.

  7. Heh. Very interesting perspective, Shmuel. Would you say you’re generally a pessimist? I’m optimistic (probably to a fault) and I always want a happy ending… unless it’s *very* sad, like, tragic. Then that can be beautiful in its sadness. (I sobbed at the end of Bridges of Madison County like I’ve never sobbed before.) But I think Clem and Joel deserve to be happy, at least for a while. And even if they do mess it up, I think it was a big step for the both of them to admit it’s a possibility and I think that will change the way things work out. People always enter relationships thinking everything is going to work out perfectly. What if you went into one knowing that you’d already gone through what is pretty much the worst-case scenario? You’d do things differently, I think.

  8. I tend to think of myself as a cheerful pessimist; that is, I expect things to go wrong, but I try to be upbeat about it. More to the point might be that I have a strong sense of justice… and I guess I just don’t agree that Clem and Joel do deserve to be happy. I think they deserve to suffer. [wry smile]

    I’ve gotten stalled at this next bit, because the first draft of what I was going to say had some disturbing implications for my own life. So let me grant that I can well understand the decision to cut somebody out of one’s life, particularly if the somebody in question is abusive (which I’m not saying applies here, just trying to justify one of my own decisions). That said, the most one can reasonably choose to do is decide not to have anything to do with somebody else in the future, and even that’s probably not the most constructive approach. I don’t think trying to exise parts of one’s own past is an acceptable option, and I’d find it more satisfying to have a morality tale in which those who attempt that option get smacked down, hard.

    On the other hand, it’s been pointed out that, never having actually been in a relationship, I’m probably not really getting the full effect of the movie. Which seems a fair observation.

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