26 July 2011

24. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind



Joel skips work, meets a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the introverted, sensitive man's ultimate fantasy.

And then, a mystery. A big, ballsy skip in time. Elijah Wood shows up, asking weird questions, then Joel is crying in his car, Joel is doing pills. The audience asks: what's happening?

Minute 25 -- He learns about Lacuna, about Clem erasing him.

Act 2 -- He goes to Lacuna, decides to have it done to himself.

Fun and games -- He enters his own memories, and like lucid dreaming, he learns he can mess with things.

Elijah Wood starts dating Clem after her erasing. Fakes a meet cute.

In Joel's memory, we get some Act 2 badtimes: flashes of his memory of Clem: she drinks too much, he hides his feelings from her, they are incompatible. Parallel of them erasing his memory with their relationship and breakup.

Dunst obsessed with Wilkinson; Ruffalo obsessed with her.

After sifting through the bad stuff, Joel finds a few memories he likes, wants to keep: Charles River, under covers.

Midpoint: "I want to call this off!" The midpoint often involves a new problem the MC has to solve.

Joel and Clem have to outrun his memory now. Goes into childhood memories, loses Ruffalo and Dunst. They re-erase memories they already had gotten.

Joel, via Clem, decides to hide in humiliations. He's caught masturbating, for example.

Wilkinson comes over, Dunst quotes and then kisses him. This is a classic 2nd to 3rd act twist. His wife comes, sees them through the window, reveals that he already erased her memory of their relationship.

Dunst, devastated, finds her own tape, others.

We see how Clem and Joel really started. "So go." The movie fully embodies its theme: the fantast that you can go back and do things over, do them better, correct your mistakes, say the things you wish you'd said, do the things you wish you'd done.

The procedure is done, we repeat the original section, Joel and Clem in Montauk. This is the redo.

Dunst quits, makes a package for all their clients of their tapes. Joel and Clem listen to a tape, he kicks her out of his car. Vice versa happens. They decide to try again.

"OK."

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