When Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was chosen to lead off the fifth season of this series, I was ecstatic not only because it's one of my all-time favorite films, but also because I knew it meant I would be re-watching the film for the first time in years. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary in a few days and fresh off star Kate Winslet finally getting her star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it's quite timely then to revisit this modern classic.
The film, directed by Michel Gondry and written by the incomparable Charlie Kaufman, is your not-so-classic boy meets girl who erases boy from her memories in turn making him erase her from his memories until they meet again. Boy is Joel Barrish played by Jim Carrey while Girl is Clementine Kruczynski played by Winslet. Both actors played against type and did so remarkably well garnering expected acclaim and a decade-long admiration from this guy. It's a film that explores the notions of love, regret, memory, relationships, and identity and even after all these years, the film still packed an emotional wallop.
For my best shots, the one with them laying down on the ice is an iconic choice and is the image the marketing team seems to have rightly gone with to represent the movie. I also love the one with them in the woods kissing, both of their faces obscured, and Kate's brilliant red hair just dominating that entire sequence. But I kept circling back to a couple of shots featuring a mug.
The first shot is part of a sequence where Joel remembers his first day of brain mapping wherein they register various objects that remind him of Clementine. This extreme closeup of Clementine's picture on a mug with Mark Ruffalo's bespectacled character blurry in the background caught my eye the first time I saw the film and it's an image, like the frozen lake, that I always associate with the film.
My Best Shot
The next shot is my pick for my favorite shot. It's one of Joel's memory of him and Clementine in bed and fighting. This time it's about his inability to communicate and share his passions and thoughts with her and his insistence that she shares too much. "Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating." She retorts with "I don't do that. I want to know you." And yeah, there's just so much to love about this shot. How it's just so lived-in, like their relationship, but you also see the cracks in it. There are also the little details like the cup and the cloud-filled pillow that make me happy and sad at the same time, just like the movie always seem to do.