Every year, couples and single people turn to either romantic, dramatic, or comedic films to enjoy on Valentine’s Day. Films, especially on a holiday such as this, allow us to escape from our everyday life and enter one of fantasy; whether that be people trying to celebrate “Singles’ Awareness Day” with the latest Melissa McCarthy flick, or couples rewatching Titanic to relive the tragedy that is Jack and Rose’s relationship.
There is a movie that rises above the Valentine’s Day tropes to really analyze what love is; a romance and an anti-romance all in one. If you want to cry, laugh and escape to a world of absolute whimsy then turn to Michel Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” This film stars Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, as their estranged characters repair their relationship after erasing their memories of each other. “Blessed are the forgetful, for they get the better even for their blunders,” Kirsten Dunst quotes Friedrich Nietzsche in the movie. The film is described as a “science fiction romantic comedy” but it is so much more than that.
Don’t let the odd plotline deter you from enjoying this masterpiece. Winslet’s enduring character Clementine provides the perfect amount of wacky and heartbreak to Carrey’s character Joel, a broken man who needs more color in his life. Clementine’s spunky personality and witty remarks blend nicely with Joel’s brooding and rough exterior.
Along with the incredible acting that perfectly represents the ups and downs of a real relationship, the shots are beautifully captured and help to represent the periodically distorted reality and timeline of the film.
They also work to symbolize their relationship status. The ice of a frozen lake symbolizes the leap of faith needed to start a relationship, while the bright orange of an autumn forest shows the whimsy of new beginnings.
“Eternal Sunshine” received critical and box office acclaim when it was released in 2004. “Don’t expect anything standard-issue from this uniquely funny, unpredictably tender and unapologetically twisted romance” and the filmmakers have “crafted a remarkable film that can coax a smile about making the same mistakes in love and then sneak up and quietly break your heart,’ Peter Travers for Rolling Stone said of the film.
While the twists and turns of a tumultuous relationship seem like it would only appeal to couples, a group of friends wanting to hate on love, or continue to pine for it, will want to spend the 108 minutes having their heart broken, the pieces put back together and then torn apart again by the intense and wonderfully-crafted storyline.
Anyone who watches this film will have their heart wrenched by the reality of a broken relationship and the possibilities of a new one, their side hurting from laughing at the comedic chemistry between Winslet and Carrey, and their mind amazed by the beautiful cinematography and science fiction elements.
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” is streaming on Netflix now.