It’s been a couple years since I last watched Eternal Sunshine – but I just wanted to respond with an emphatic yes it is one best films of the 2000s and next time I rewatch it, I’ll try to articulate why I think that is. I touched on it briefly in the “Greatest Films of the 2000s” topic – “…For Eternal Sunshine – relationships, memory, love/loss, sadness, nostalgia, insecurity, bliss, etc. The list really could go on forever; it takes what I think is an ingenious premise and actually uses it to accurately capture and explore these themes. And Kaufman’s style/content finds the perfect marriage in Michel Gondry’s beautifully surreal and unique camerawork/editing. There are of course, more personal reasons why this resonates with me too. I’ve blocked out gigantic portions of my life in order to move on (maybe not the healthiest means of moving on but that’s another matter) and in going on the journey Joel does in the film, I can feel parts of me I’d forgotten existed, stirring. I recall memories I thought were lost. I’m forced to think about things I’d rather not and I have some sort of catharsis…”
I’m with you.
The ingenious and original premise—and the successful execution of it—is a big reason I think this film deserves consideration as one of the best of the decade. (Is there a film with a similar premise—erasing memories of the person that broke one’s heart?)
Btw, if you ever see the film, see if you can figure out the where the bookstore scene towards the end falls into the sequence of memories. (Joel is asking Clem out for a date—and the scene seems to have occurred right after they met in Montauk. But somehow, that doesn’t seem right, either.)
This is a film I didn’t quite understand or get on first viewing. The lauded praise compelled me to take another look at it. “OK, I get this. This isn’t bad at all” was my reaction upon second viewing. I recently watched “Synecdoche, New York” for the first time and was absolutely blown away. Being a fan of “Being John Malkovich” as well, Charlie Kaufman was suddenly becoming my latest fascination. I went back and watched “ESOTSM” a third time and, after recently hitting some bumpy patches in my marriage, found it was the perfect storm for seeing this film again. “This film a masterpiece” was my third reaction after watching it the third time. A touching and wholly original love story and compelling examination into the nature of memories. And Clemetine and Joel frolicking on the snow-blanketed beach as Beck’s version of “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime” plays at the end of the film has gotta be one of the most touching endings to a film I have ever seen, imo.