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Michel Gondry is a bit of a directing star, Charlie Kaufman is the odd exception of a superstar screenwriter, Jim Carrey is the actor who never makes good movies, and Kate Winslet is the fat girl from “Titanic”. There was no way of predicting whether this (at the time highly anticipated) film would turn out to become the career downer for all involved, or a brainy masterpiece beloved by everybody. I think it turned out to be a mix of the two.

While I had been eagerly anticipating the project at the time, I completely missed its cinema release. I am not sure about the US market, but outside it kind of disappeared quickly, probably supported by the impossibility of translating the title or selling it as a RomCom despite the basic setting… I caught up upon its DVD release in 2006, I think, but was put off by a specific sequence halfway through that is just not suitable for watching when jet lagged and unconcentrated. This is a film for cinema, asking for full attention and no distractions. Partly this is because the film knows its weakness: the idea of losing touch with reality (or partly doubling reality) following a non-perfect memory erasing is good, but it requires to have the audience suffer with the protagonist, creating confusion. At some point this is too much, I assume most people would get a bit annoyed and bored by Jim Carey’s character shifting reality levels and times – and the film is good because it accepts this, allows you to go there, and only reliefs you a little bit later. It wants to you share this suffering, because if all this was just a happy comic experience, the whole movie would be a waste of time.

The result is a sometimes strenuous, sometimes formidable experience with good acting even by those actors involved who clearly cannot act (no names here…). A bit too brainy for its own good, another proof that Gondry and Kaufman are great talents to be considered – but also indication that this is all not happening automatically, and that there is a need for forces controlling both of their creative tendencies for arabesques…

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/eternal_sunshine_of_the_spotless_mind/

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