Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 43 mins

Where did you watch this movie?

This quirky romantic drama delves into the twists and turns in the life of Joel, who discovers that his long-time girlfriend, Clementine, has undergone a psychiatrist's experimental procedure, in which all of her memory of Joel is removed, after the couple has tried for years to get their relationship working fluidly. Frustrated by the idea of still being in love with a woman who doesn't remember their time together, Joel agrees to undergo the procedure as well, to erase his memories of Clementine. The film, which takes place mostly within Joel's mind, follows his memories of Clementine backwards in time as each recent memory is replaced, and the procedure then goes on to the previous one, which is likewise seen, and then erased. Once the process starts, however, Joel realizes he doesn't really want to forget Clementine, so he starts smuggling her away into parts of his memory where she doesn't belong, which alters other things about his memories as well...
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet

Crew: Michel Gondry (Director), Ellen Kuras (Director of Photography), Jon Brion (Music Director)

Rating: U/A (India)

Genres: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

Release Dates: 19 Mar 2004 (India)

Tagline: Replace My Memory

Movie Rating
Based on 1 rating
Music Rating
Based on 1 rating
Did you know? When Stan (Mark Ruffalo) scares Mary (Kirsten Dunst), director Michel Gondry asked Mark to hide at a different spot each take to actually scare her. Read More
No reviews available. Click here to add a review.
Actor
Actress
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor

Direction

Director

Production

Production Company

Distribution

Distributor

Writers

Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography

Music

Music Director

Art

Art Director

Casting

Casting Director

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer

Editorial

Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist
Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Color
Sound Mix:
Dolby, DTS
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Taglines:
Replace My Memory
You can erase someone from your mind. Getting them out of your heart is another story.
Do I know you?
I'm fine without you.
This Spring, clear your mind
Would you erase me?
Our memories makes us who we are. You can't change the past.
I already forget how I used to feel about you.
Goofs:
Continuity
Many of the continuity errors listed here may well be deliberate. In the DVD extras, the movie makers explain that they played with the continuity to underline the struggle between the doctor and technicians trying to erase the memories and Joel trying to hold on to them.

Continuity
When Mary first comes to Joel's apartment to visit Stan and Patrick, she goes into the kitchen to pour drinks. Just after she says "Let me do the honors," the pendulum of the clock on the wall is not moving. About 2 seconds later, as she is pouring the drinks, the pendulum on the clock is swinging.

Continuity
When Clemetine and Joel are meeting on the train in the beginning, the hair around Clemetine's face alternates from being neatly curled to being more frizzy and separated.

Continuity
Near the end of the film when Mary is walking around the corner with her box of belongings and cassettes, the man walking directly behind her disappears for one shot.

Continuity
During the "operation", Mary passes a joint to Stan. In the next shot, Mary has the joint again.

Continuity
Mary's hair changes from "windswept" (long shots) to neat (close-up) and back again when talking to Howard outside Joel's apartment, after Howard's wife catches them together and drives off.

Continuity
In the beginning of the movie, as Clementine is walking on the beach, you can see her take a couple of steps on the wet sand near the water, but in the next shot, as Joel is looking at her, she is standing on dry sand.

Continuity
In the scene where Mary first comes into Joel's apartment, Patrick and Stan had been drinking beer. At first, just before the door is opened, they are both Rolling Rock (green bottles). After she has entered, Stan's beer turns into a Labatt Blue (brown bottle).

Continuity
Joel's Toyota Corolla alternates between between different hubcap designs in different shots set on the same day.

Continuity
When Joel checks his car and finds a dent in the side, he is clean shaven. However, in the scenes prior and subsequent to this one, Joel is seen sporting a thick stubble.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Clementine and Joel see each other again at the diner near the beginning of the movie, the shadow of the camera is visible off to the left.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Clem gets out of the car to get her toothbrush, a mic pack is clearly visible under her shirt.

Errors in Geography
While on the train on the way from Montauk point, Joel and Clementine are shown to ride the train to their destination of Rockville Centre, NY but the Montauk branch of the Long Island Railroad only spans as far as Babylon, NY (a full 12 stops away from Rockville Centre, NY).

Errors in Geography
Long Island Railroad trains are shown with a red stripe on the cars. This is the livery color for trains on Metro-North Railroad's New Haven line. LIRR trains are blue.

Revealing Mistakes
Members of the public can be seen waving to the camera while Joel is driving in his car.

Revealing Mistakes
After deleting a memory, the camera pans from Joel in an overhead shot, moving then to Stan and Patrick. A bundle of wires can be seen on the floor in between the bed and table, one of which is obviously not plugged into anything. Director Michel Gondry pointed out this error in the DVD commentary of the film.

Revealing Mistakes
When Clementine goes to Joel's building foyer, and meets Joel's neighbor (the "McRomance" guy), the actor waiting to walk into the scene is reflected in the door.
Trivia:
The scene where Joel and Clementine watch the circus go through the streets was made up on the spot, as the film crew and cast happened to be working nearby and Michel Gondry decided it could work well in the film. The part where Clementine disappears suddenly is one of Gondry's favorite moments of the film, as Jim Carrey didn't know Kate Winslet was going to disappear and Gondry likes it because Carrey's face appears so saddened. When the sound blanks out in the final film, Carrey is actually saying "Kate?"

When Joel is in his head and is visiting his session of the erasing process, no special effects were used to show the two Joels in the one scene. Jim Carrey had to take off his hat and jacket when he was not in shot and had to quickly sit down in the chair and visa-versa when he has to stand up.

Clementine's hair goes through several color changes, blue, orange, red, green, and brown which seems to be her natural hair color. This helps the viewer keep track of where her relationship with Joel corresponds to the plot.

Despite the fact that Charlie Kaufman's script and Michel Gondry's visual concepts were closely followed, the actors were allowed many chances to improvise. Elijah Wood and Mark Ruffalo improvised extensively, and much of the dialog between Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet resulted from videotaped rehearsal sessions during which the two actors became close by sharing tales of their real life relationships and heartbreaks.

During the train scene, Kate Winslet punches Jim Carrey. This was not staged or planned and Jim's response is that of genuine surprise.

Features Kate Winslet's own favorite performance. She mentions this in Empire Magazine.

Initially throughout the train scene, the music was supposed to fill up the gap during the silence between Joel and Clem until writer Charlie Kaufman suggested to do the opposite. Music was then played when Joel and Clem talked and paused when they paused.

When Stan (Mark Ruffalo) scares Mary (Kirsten Dunst), director Michel Gondry asked Mark to hide at a different spot each take to actually scare her.

Virtually all of the most bizarre and fascinating scenes in this movie were created with old fashioned camera, editing, lighting and prop/set tricks. The use of digital effects was very limited. The striking kitchen scene with Joel as a child was created with an elaborate forced perspective set-up similar to some used by Peter Jackson in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The movie is based on the following quote from an Alexander Pope poem, "How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd."

The idea was brought to Michel Gondry by his friend the artist Pierre Bismuth who suggested, "You get a card in the mail that says: someone you know has just erased you from their memory..."

All of the train shots were shot onboard a real, moving, train.

The memory-erasing company, Lacuna Inc., takes its name from the Latin word meaning a cavity, hollow, or dip, especially a pool or pond. Transfiguratively, lacuna comes to mean a gap, deficiency, or loss. The term "lacunar infarct" refers to a stroke that involves a small area of the brain responsible for a specific function, or ever a specific memory. Additionally, in papyrology (the study of ancient manuscripts) a lacuna is a hole where part of the text is missing, and which can sometimes be re-constructed.

The opening credits appear 18 minutes into the film, at the end of the first reel.

Reporters tried to interview Jim Carrey as the unplanned scene with Joel and Clementine at the street parade was being filmed. If you listen closely, you can hear somebody shout "Speak to me!" at Jim Carrey.

Michel Gondry had a unique system of controlling his camera operators while shooting by use of a headset for Michel and earpieces for the two operators. He would speak to them (in French) while cameras were rolling and the actors were doing their parts, so Gondry could have a say on all angles no matter where the actors were. This results in a large degree of spontaneity, since the actors could decide while in character whether to have an entire conversation sitting on a couch or get up and walk to a window. Kate Winslet said that she felt this freedom enhanced her performance, and that sometimes they would do different takes of the same scene completely differently, based purely on gut feelings for what the characters might have done.

When Clementine and Joel are in the Montauk beach house, Clementine finds an envelope that says David and Ruth Laskin. David and Ruth are the first names of Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey's assistants.

In the tape recorded sessions with Kate Winslet, Carrey accidentally wrecked the tape recorder when he got so much into the scene, he threw it across the room.

The audio for the scene in which Joel and Clementine appear as children in Joel's memory while their adult voices converse was recorded on location, rather than dubbed later in a studio. Director Michel Gondry felt it was better to have Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet reacting to the children playing their characters as it happened.

When Joel goes to the darkened room of the recording session in his head for the second time, the warped faces of Dr. Mierzwiak and Joel are (according to Michel Gondry) the skin of his knee.

A lacuna is a "lake" seen on medical imaging as a hole filled with fluid within the brain after some strokes and seizures. Such tiny "holes" can result in symptoms such as memory, sensory, and motor dysfunction and are perhaps a reference to the "brain damage" that results from the procedure in the film.

Mary's surname does not appear in the credits, but her nameplate on the reception desk at Dr. Mierzwiak's practice shows it as Svevo. Stan also says her full name an hour and a half into the film. This very unusual name is clearly a reference to Italian writer Italo Svevo (real name Ettore Schmitz, 1861-1928), who was very interested in the work of Sigmund Freud and is believed to have corresponded with him.

When Joel goes to Lacuna Inc. for the first time, he looks at cards being printed out with the names Chris Norr and Linda Chen. Chris Norr was a camera operator on the film. Linda R. Chen was an intern and a New York casting assistant.

The small computer hooked up to the memory erasing headset is an old Amstrad PPC 512 or 640, manufactured back in 1988.

In the scene where Clementine invites Joel to her apartment for a drink, one of the songs playing in the background on Clementine's stereo is from the 1971 Hindi (Bollywood) movie "Gambler" and is sung by Mohammad Rafi. The song after that, which plays immediately after Clementine says "I'm gonna marry you", is 'Wada Na Tod' meaning "Don't break your promise" in Hindi from the 1987 movie "Dil Tujhko Diya", and is sung by Lata Mangeshkar.

Voted movie of the year by Empire magazine in 2004.

The poem "Eloisa to Abelard", read within the film as an explanation of its title, was used in Charlie Kaufman's earlier project Being John Malkovich (1999).

Unnoticed visual effects were used in the movie, that were not planned while shooting. In one shot, Clem is walking on the street while a car falls in the background. The whole background was replaced with a CG-background, including Clementine's other leg which disappeared, so the remaining leg was done with CGI. Another shot done in CGI was the house Clem and Joel were breaking into, which collapses in a 4-second shot.

In the credits there appears the line "Leksell Sterotactic System courtesy of Electra Intstruments"; this is the bizarre-looking head gear for brain surgery.

The computer used during the procedure is actually an Amstrad PPC (Portable Personal Computer) from the early 1990s.

The original screenplay by Charlie Kaufman included a short conversation between Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) about the album "Rain Dogs" by Tom Waits during one of the opening scenes on the train. During this conversation Joel says he remembers buying the album and liking it, but he can't remember anything about it. While the dialogue was stripped from the film, during the fast shots of Stan (Mark Ruffalo) showing Joel the items he has brought in that remind him of Clementine a copy of the CD "Rain Dogs" can be seen for just a moment. Also the "blue ruin" reference comes from a lyric on the same album.

The woman with the distorted face in Dr. Mierzwiak's office is Ellen Kuras, the film's director of photography.

According to Mark Ruffalo, the scene where Stan (Mark Ruffalo) and Mary (Kirsten Dunst) dance in their underwear over an unconscious Joel (Jim Carrey) was improvised.

"Thanks" to its Italian title translation ("Se mi lasci ti cancello"), every Italian watching the movie had been expecting a comedy and surely they were disappointed. Instead, the movie is very dramatic and very saddening. The right translation of the title should be "L'eterno splendore d'una mente immacolata".