2004-04-02 / Columnists

MovieScope By Robert Snyder ‘Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind’

MovieScope By Robert Snyder
‘Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind’


A mind is a terrible thing to lose, but so is love. In "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," Joel Barrish (Jim Carrey) almost loses both. The film comes from the feverish brain of screenwriter Charlie Kauf man, who successfully twisted our sensibility in "Meeting John Malkovich," "Adap tation" and "Con fessions of a Dangerous Mind." Directed by music video wiz Michael Gondry, "Eternal Sunshine" is like nothing you’ve ever seen be fore85although it should be, be cause it seems to borrow from such films as "Memento," "Ground Hog Day" and (is it possible?) "50 First Dates."A0 With its tripped-out "interior" presentation, the movie takes us on a tour of Barrish’s mentality as a group of insane scientists try to erase all his memories ofA0 former loved one, Clem en tine Krczynski (Kate Winslet). Joel is only doing this radical procedure because he discovered that she erased him from her mind.

Acting against type, the usually wacky Carrey is a Casper Milktoast, who can’t make eye contact with any girl he doesn’t know. He’s sad and withdrawn, until Clem comes along on the Long Island Railroad with her aggressive free spirit. The two meet in Montauk and arrive in Rockville Cen tre where, strangely enough, "Eternal" is playing at Loew’s Cineplex 2. (For a second, I thought Carrey was going to walk "Blazing Sad d les"-style into the theater where I was sitting.)

Dr. Howard Mierwald (Tom Wilkin son) and his team of Stan (Mark Ruf falo), Patrick (Elijah Wood) and Mary (Kirsten Dunst) struggle to keep Joel "on the map," while he lies on his bed asleep with a hair-drier-type machine on his head. "The map" is a computerized chart chronicling memories of Clem derived from materials Joel presented to the doctor. Love continues to flour ish between Joel and Clem in his mind, so the couple keeps hiding in remembrances that are off the map.

As crazy as all this seems, the "love conquers all" theme ultimately shines through the mental mayhem, making the movie quite romantic in a MTV way. It also becomes horrific in its depiction of Alzheimer-type disorientation and may disturb thoseA0 whose psy chological makeup is less than solid.

Swinging from euphoric to hellacious within seconds, "Eternal" continually switches from agony of the "Easy Rider" bad acid trip to "Love Story" romance. By "Eternal’s" end, you’re aching for Clem and Joel to rediscover their love.

Thank God, they do85or audience may have left the theater like zombies from "Dawn of the Dead."

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