Phet and I saw Eternal Sunshine For The Spotless Mind last night. I would say that it is one of the best movies I’ve seen in the theater in a very long time, but that would be sort of disingenuous since it’s the only movie I’ve seen in a theater in a long time. Suffice it to say, then, that the movie was very, very good. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it was terrific if I wasn’t so damn cynical.
That said, now I have to start defending myself a little bit (last time Phet and I recommended a Charlie Kaufman movie, Being John Malkovich, my parents accused us of being on drugs.) You can pretty much expect when you go to see a Kaufman movie that you are going to be highly disoriented for 1/3 to 1/2 of the film. The narrative is all chopped up and it’s exploring a scenario that’s just as outlandish as that in Malkovich. The thing that I like about Kaufman, though, is that even though he starts all his stories from a little kernel of randomness, he always explores them completely and manages to make them meaningful by the end. I don’t want to give away anything about the story, but suffice it to say that this is basically a movie for couples to see and get all oogy. Single people should just rent Malkovich again to further examine why they’re such losers (I kid, I kid…)
It was sort of a revelation to me that this movie was directed by Michel Gondry, since I had just watched his collection of music videos Phet got me for Christmas last weekend. He did a whole bunch of Bjork videos and the Beck video where the guy carries the car around and some White Stripes videos (including one animated almost entirely out of Legos). He has done some very cool, very mystifying video work, which makes him well cut out for movies like this. There are innumerable little moments in this movie where I couldn’t trust what I was seeing – I could tell it was some sort of effect, but I couldn’t figure out how it worked on first viewing.
Also, the movie has an impressive number of Back to the Future-esque moments where the plot wraps around on itself in interesting ways (“Look! Marty is back at the dance and he sees himself playing the guitar! So clever!”). Phet and I discussed these things quite a bit after the movie last night, and we’re pretty sure that several situations in Eternal didn’t make any actual sense in terms of the overall timeline they followed. That said, we didn’t really mind either way, so there.
So yeah, Phet and I liked it quite a bit. We would wholeheartedly recommend it unless you’re old or don’t get stuff so good.
I give it the near mythical rating of 5/5 Pochaccos because we apparently haven’t given one out since I reviewed Sick a long time ago, and I don’t want our 5 Pochacco-giving-mechanism to get all rusty out of disuse.