Sunday, March 28, 2004

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (IMDB) (Netflix)
The idea that inspired this movie came from a French conceptual artist. Uh oh. Fortunately, it was turned into a screenplay by Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation, Being John Malcovich, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), who, if not script-for-script the best screenwriter around, is easily the most inventive. Here, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are lovers who quickly learn how to hurt each other, irreparably it seems, and when Carrey tries to fix things, Winslet doesn't even remember him. In real life, we're cursed by poorly functioning Delete keys, particularly when it comes to failed romances, but in Kaufman's world you can do something about it and it might even be covered by your health insurance. Were it only so.

This is complex stuff and you're going to have to pay attention. We're moving back-and-forth in time, and between reality and Carrey's directed dream state, and it's a full thirty minutes before you'll think that you have a handle on this film. Once you do, don't let your guard down, because it's going to get more involved. The intricacies, however, don't get in the way of the emotional resonance that's created as Carrey tries to save the relationship, or at least his memory of it. With important supporting performances by Tom Wilkinson, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood. For elastic minds.