I'm about to drop some poetry. Get ready. These are lines taken from the 300-year old poem Eloisa and Abelard.
"How happy is the blameless vestal's lot!Let it breathe, like a fine wine . . . OK . . . right.
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd;"
"Vestal's lot" . . . heh? I may read it and feign understanding, but let's face it: teachers bring valuable attention to material like this.
So stay in school, kids!
Being John Malkovich, and the film we're revisiting this week: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (MRQE Metric: 85), written and overseen by Mr. Kaufman, directed by Michel Gondry.
Sunshine begins at a train station on a cloudy day, ironically. Joel, (Jim Carrey) a quiet, uncomfortable fellow, inexplicably jumps on a train bound for Montauk. In his passenger car he meets Clementine, (Kate Winslet) a talkative, eccentric girl who is quick to engage Joel in conversation. Their awkward interaction produces an immediate, if not unexpected, chemistry. This is because they've been together before.
It is present day New York, and a technology exists (strangely bound to the humble confines of a medical clinic) that allows people to erase the memories of embittered lovers from their brains. And that's precisely what Clementine has done with Joel. After discovering Clem's decision via telegram, Joel chooses to have the same procedure.
But midway through his Clementine cleaning, Joel has second thoughts. From his sleep state, he desperately tries to hold on to the romantic memories that are being erased. All the while, a bogus medical staff monitors Joel, while drinking beer and dancing over his sleeping head. The doctor/inventor of the procedure has to interfere. And this memory-erasing, relationship quick-fix proves to be less effective than promised.
It is a strange, somber film that feels both heavy and weightless at times. I would credit that to Kaufman's thoroughly unique narrative combined with Michel Gondry's effortless bending of reality.
I hope this is not the last Gondry/Kaufman collaboration. I don't know what another seven years will bring. But in 2011, Eternal Sunshine holds up quite well, and remains just as wonderful. Kaufman should use as much classic poetry as he so desires.
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