Two sentence review of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Lauren at Feministe has posted her one sentence review of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind so, having seen the movie last night, I thought I’d post my own review, this one in two sentences:

“Poorly developed but interesting. Wait for the DVD.”

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22 Responses to Two sentence review of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

  1. 1
    Lauren says:

    I wholeheartedly disagree.

    The only parts that I found truly lacking were the overemphasis placed on the side characters with sudden, and therefore somewhat unbelievable, character development in the end.

    No spoilers.

  2. 2
    Hestia says:

    Count me among those who loved it. Especially since there’s only been crap released since November. It’s right up there with “Memento” in my favorite movies of all time.

    Even my boyfriend thought it was good–and most movies he sees rate a “meh.”

  3. 3
    brayden says:

    I find that I have to be in the right mood to enjoy a Charlie Kaufman movie. If I’m in the right mood, his movies are hilarious. Is this one more serious than some of his others?

  4. 4
    --k. says:

    Not to disagree with the inestimable PinkDream, but he’s out of his fecking mind.

    (If you’re worried about the [to my mind admirable, but hey] chilly formalism of Kaufman’s earlier efforts (at least, the two I’ve seen: Adaptation and Being John Malkovich, the one being one of the best things about writing and storytelling [and other stuff, big stuff, important stuff, but] ever and the other being one of the most surprising films I’ve ever seen [in the sense of how on earth did they get away with that]; I haven’t seen Human Nature [?] or Confessions of a Dangerous Mind yet, but I’m gonna, oh boy)–anyway, if you’re concerned, rest assured: Kaufman and Gondry (and the cast, yes) take Kaufman’s impressive formal abilities and obsessions and humanize them and use them to cut straight through little things like love and the nature of memory and the horrible things we do to the people we say we love and how we love them anyway and in spite of all that and what that means–and–and–

    Anyway. Don’t wait for the flipping DVD. It’s not that there’s anything spectacularly gorgeous that will be spoiled by not having seen it on the big screen, but go. See it now. If only so you can come back and razz the Poppy.

    (I thought the side characters worked very well, and when I go see it again I’ll be watching certain things more closely from the start. [You will want to go see this movie again.] This is the best review I’ve read of it yet; here, for process junkies, is the screenplay–which is weirdly different, wildly different, right from the start, and I’ve got to find some time to sit down with it and figure out what happened.


  5. 5
    Nick Morgan says:

    I thought the movie was really quite good–vastly better than most crap in the box office today. I review it, favorably, here

  6. 6
    PinkDreamPoppies says:

    Hmm… Perhaps a review longer than two sentences wouldn’t be entirely out of the question.

    To put things into a bit of perspective though, in terms of my taste… I liked Being John Malkovich, but despised Adaptation, and thought Memento was a neat gimmick that was mostly flash with little depth. Those seem to be the three most-lauded clever movies to have come out in the past few years.

    Adding more perspective… I don’t have a problem with puzzle-box movies (one of my favourite movies ever is, afterall, Mulholland Dr.), I just have a problem with ones that I don’t think develop into anything worth my while.

    Until I can do my own longer review of Eternal Sunshine, the closest I’ve seen to my own opinions is Stephanie Zacharek’s review at

  7. 7
    --k. says:

    Zacharek misses the rather broad point of how important the ancillary characters are not only to the plot but to some sense of perspective on the process; they help universalize it to an extent that a wholly insular movie would not.

    –But damn. Adaptation is one of the best movies ever about writing and storytelling; Mulholland Dr. was a vastly overrated attempt to pad out some first-draft ideas that might have gone somewhere someday–in many respects, precisely the sort of storytelling Adaptation is at once lampooning and owning up to. (I remember tracking down the elusive “secret” of the film in a couple of places–including Salon–only to find the top-level reading I’d concocted in the theater which had left me profoundly dissatisfied–that’s it? The scene in Club Silencio promises so much more, and if there had been more of that mystery, and if that mystery had ended up adding up to something half as much as the appalling horror and hysterical irony of Susan Orlean sitting in the swamp screaming, “You fucked up my life!” well, I’d’ve like Mulholland more than I did, which I didn’t.)

    Anyway: we shall agree to disagree, it seems. Except Memento was pretty gimmicky, yeah. So we’re okay there.

  8. 8
    Hestia says:

    Clever gimmicks. Hmmm. I guess I define them as “something I’ve never seen before,” and since originality in movies is a HUGE plus in my book, it almost always adds to how much I enjoy a particular film. (It didn’t with “Mullholland Drive,” though, which made me extremely uncomfortable for some reason.)

    I just don’t buy Zacharek’s “we’re using [riddles] as…a way of distancing ourselves from emotions that might be too strong for us to deal with” point. I’m no movie expert, but it seems to me that “Eternal Sunshine” had just enough Joel and Clementine to keep me engaged in their relationship, and just enough other stuff to create the momentum the film required.

    Movies are a visual media, after all, and I think this one needed the visual symbols to shore up the otherwise ordinary story of boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl. I loved “Lost in Translation,” a recent example of a gimmick-free, character/relationship-driven film–but not every movie can, or should, be “Lost in Translation.”

    That said, I will admit that the ending was marginally short of brilliance–in fact, it was the most predictable part of the movie.

  9. 9
    PinkDreamPoppies says:

    Definitely going to have to agree to disagree on this one, k. I thought Mulholland Drive was fully-formed and beautiful while Eternal Sunshine felt like a shoddy first draft that someone (Kaufman) really genuinely felt was done, but wasn’t, and I felt that, aside from a few moments of insight, Adaptation had little that was profound, or even interesting, to say about writing, stories, and ideas.

    And, Hestia, I find it interesting that you thought the technicians provided needed momentum for Eternal Sunshine. Every time they were onscreen I lost interest in the movie; it seemed like just as the movie was developing a good rhythm, that rhythm was interrupted by some half-assed and/or utterly useless scene involving the Lacuna staff doing something stupid and/or going through the obvious, by the numbers, Philip K. Dick plot points.

  10. 10
    Lauren says:

    “Every time they were onscreen I lost interest in the movie; it seemed like just as the movie was developing a good rhythm, that rhythm was interrupted by some half-assed and/or utterly useless scene involving the Lacuna staff doing something stupid and/or going through the obvious, by the numbers, Philip K. Dick plot points.”

    This is exactly my view of the side characters, and one thing that I can’t forgive modern movie makers for. It seems that everyone is so set on making THE quirky movie that they forget that movies are supposed to be a lucid dream. Removiung us from the flow of the movie is distracting and disappointing.

    On the other hand, one reason that I liked this movie so much was that it was virtually free of gimmickry and triteness. Whenever it got close, it managed to turn away from it. In addition, it managed to highlight and celebrate the common silliness that most relationships have. Oddly, I really identified with the pillow-smothering scene.

    Dear God, what does that say about me?!

  11. 11
    Lauren says:

    Also, the “Our Take” review perhaps matched mine the most, and tends to for most movies.

    See that website. It’s invaluable for parents.

  12. 12
    kappy says:

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