A Movie A Day 011: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This one goes out to Mildred, Omeed, Joey, and anyone else who was appalled to hear that I didn’t finish Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind the first time I watched it. I now know to never watch movies at night when I feel tired because I’ll fall asleep, no matter how good the movie is.

From IMDb: A man, Joel Barish, heartbroken that his girlfriend Clementine underwent a procedure to erase him from her memory, decides to do the same. However, as he watches his memories of her fade away, he realizes that he still loves her, and may be too late to correct his mistake.

This movie plays with the question “Would you rather have loved and lost or to have never loved at all?” It feels like the characters in the movie choose to have never loved at all, since they choose to erase memories of their ex, but when they meet after, strangers again, attracted again, it seems like the cycle will repeat.

Of course, it’s not that simple.

A tangent, because I don’t want to spoil the movie: A friend asked me once, “What if every night we’re tortured in our nightmares, but no matter what we do, we can’t remember, so we keep entering them?”

I responded, “I think the body would have signs of distress when we wake up if that actually happened. The body betrays you like that.”

Even if you forgot about someone, you’d remember the way they made you feel or traits you learned from them. Maybe with time, you would forget the sound of their voice or the way they laughed, but you would remember the effect they had on you, good or bad. Hopefully both. And it’s not like “Ah yes, so-and-so said this to me once, so I’m like this now.” It’s more like one day something happens and you’re like “Huh. I wouldn’t have done this-and-that a year ago.”

Ok back to Eternal Sunshine. If you’re the type of person who absolutely hates spoilers, scroll to the end to see my recommendation. If you’re interesting in the tangent vein of thought, keep reading.


If you could start over again with someone you loved, and each had a list of things you hated about the other person, the list being an accumulation of reasons why you two didn’t work out, how do you think it would go? Would you try again?


Food for thought.

The Recommendation™

Rating: 4 / 5

Rewatchability: 3 / 5

The Ideal Setting to Watch: alone, when you’re in the mood for a movie about love, perhaps on a cold day