Thanks to the success of such films as:
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
the studios have learned an important lesson: long titles = box
office gold. This seems strange, because the full title of the
film doesn't even fit on the marquee. But, nonetheless, the
studios have made the connection. We're fortunate that they didn't
stick with the full title of the film, which included a colon and a
subtitle (they always get you with the colon and subtitles). It
was supposed to be Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: The Quote
from Alexander Pope That Seems Quite Fitting as a Title for This Movie.
It's a good thing that the Masked Reviewer has a policy about not
spoiling the plot of movies. Why? Because the plot of
Eternal Sunshine is intricately interwoven upon itself.
Actually, it could be boiled down to a few words, but it won't be.
Suffice it to say that it is the latest film from Charlie Kaufman, the
writer behind Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind -- although the latter doesn't
really feel like a Charlie Kaufman movie. It lacks the
weirdness of his other creations, which Eternal Sunshine does not
That's not to say that the weirdness is bad...if you like Charlie
Kaufman, you love Charlie Kaufman. If you don't like his
writing, you probably don't get it...there's nothing wrong with that,
though. It doesn't mean you're dumb. He deals with
interesting ideas and he doesn't hand them to you on a silver platter.
You have to pay attention and think. Several people in the
audience at the end of this motion picture complained that they didn't
get it. And, many people won't get this. But if you do pay
careful attention, it's totally worth it. It makes you think in
non-conventional ways about things that we all think about. It
also makes you feel, and any film that can do both of those things is
Many people claim that The Lord of the Rings trilogy is pure
genius and thick with meaning and really makes you think. About
what? Really, what are those movies about? Duty?
Friendship? Okay. They're brilliantly crafted and an
excellent adaptation of the original books, but what were those really
about? They were all about the visuals and the world, but not
really about the characters. It's like the new Dawn of the Dead
compared to the original Dawn of the Dead. Where's the
The answer is, here. This film has substance, and it's good.
Unfortunately, in the Masked Reviewer's opinion, the substance gets a
bit lost because it can get confusing. Like Memento, the
film isn't shot in chronological order, for the most part. Much of
the film takes place in one character's memories, and those memories pop
in and out seemingly randomly.
Still, the movie addresses a lot of relationship issues, like
loneliness and compatibility and pain and happiness. It's subtle
and clever and poignant.
Jim Carey and Kate Winslet star as the central couple in the film.
Their lives are intertwined with Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, Tom
Wilkinson, and Elijah Wood -- who played Frodo in The Lord of the
Rings. It's interesting to note that Elijah Wood's minor
character in Eternal Sunshine is better developed than Frodo in
over 9 hours of LotR.
Jim Carey is good. He's finally broken free of the goofy nutjob
stereotype from Ace Ventura and The Cable Guy and firmly
established himself as a real actor, thanks to solid performances in
The Truman Show and Man on the Moon. Of course, he'll
be in The Six Million Dollar Man next year, so all that work may
go down the toilet, but enjoy it while it lasts. He's good.
Kate Winslet is fine, though she's not as good as someone else might
have been. Who? Who knows. Pick someone.
The Masked Reviewer likes Charlie Kaufman, and likes this movie.
Though he hasn't seen
Human Nature yet, he has liked all of his other films.
But, they take some concentration. And, if you want to kick back
and enjoy a nice, mindless popcorn flick, this isn't a good choice.
It's also a really bad choice to see with people who constantly ask
what's happening during a movie. "Who's that? Where did he
come from? Where's the other guy?" You don't want to be in
the same theater with any of those people during this one, because they
won't shut up the whole film, and you won't have any answers for them.
Expectation from the Title: The Jessica Simpson story.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Jim and Kate make a cute couple, though why would she dye her hair those
The Pros: Thought provoking, interesting, moving. Jim
Carey gives a good performance. Elijah Wood is creepy (in this
part, and in general).
The Cons: Requires concentration, the out-of-sequence scenes
can be confusing at times.