A movie you can’t erase from your mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | 31 Days of Cult Classics at Modern Mrs Darcy

31 days of cult classics | Modern Mrs Darcy

Some movies stay with you long after they’re over. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is one of them.

I’ve watched and re-watched this weirdly wonderful 2004 cult classic more times than I can count. It defies genre, mashing up drama and fantasy and sci-fi (but don’t believe anyone who calls it a romantic comedy–this is no rom com).

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | 31 Days of Cult Classics at Modern Mrs Darcy

Joel (Jim Carrey, in one of his best roles) decides to have his memories of a bad relationship erased after he finds out that his ex Clementine (Kate Winslet, in one of hers) has done the same. But once the procedure is underway, he realizes he doesn’t want to go through with it.

What follows is a mad dash through Joel’s mind as he revisits all his memories–good and bad–of their relationship.

They’re wacky and sweet when they first hit it off. But when things begin to disintegrate, they are horrible to each other, and those scenes are painful to watch.

Eternal Sunshine is rough and gritty (and earns it’s R rating–be warned), and yet it carries one of the most profoundly hopeful endings about love I’ve ever seen.

It also features a stellar supporting cast. Elijah Wood earns special mention for his creepy portrayal of the guy from the memory lab who falls for Clementine and tries to use Joel’s lines to steal her away.

This film is sad and joyful, wacky and heartbreaking. And that title? It’s from Alexander Pope’s Eloisa to Abelard.

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;

 Seen it? Tell us what you loved and hated in comments. 

*****     *****     *****

This is the tenth post in a series, 31 Days of Cult Classics. You can click here to see a list of all the posts, updated everyday in the month of October.



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  1. Lucy says:

    SPOILER ALERT PERHAPS? I’m so glad you see the ending as hopeful! My husband and I both love this film but he thinks its incredibly depressing – the characters acting out the same patterns over and over again. I see it as an affirmation of love and commitment. We can agree to disagree but personally, I think my take is more hopeful. In any case, it is a stellar film.

  2. melyssa says:

    Such a good one, though I’ve only seen it once! I always want to see it again, but yes, it deserves that R rating so it has to be when I’m home alone (and when does THAT ever happen?)

  3. Joslyn says:

    Still in my list of top 20 favorite movies of all time. There is so much about this movie that is wonderful and beautiful, you’d just have to watch it to get it. Definitely worthy of this list!

  4. Liza says:

    This is one of those on my list of “movies I know should have watched a really long time ago and can’t believe I still haven’t”. That list is quite long.

  5. Leanne Penny says:

    I own it and need to give it a re-watch at some point here, thanks for the reminder… also own garden state and need to re-watch it… “It’s amazing how much of my life has been determined by a quarter inch piece of plastic.” that quote still messes with me sometimes…

  6. Brianna says:

    I really enjoyed this movie but it’s not one of those cult hits that I personally really resonated with, probably if I had watched it in the mid-2000’s when it came out though my reaction would be different (I saw it about two years ago when I was pregnant and blissfully in my first year of marriage).

  7. Erin says:

    I first watched this with a friend in college we were both a bit on the quirky side and our platonic relationship was a bit quirky too. I loved the movie then.

    I rewatched it with my husband when we were dating and though both of us had liked (he had bought a copy) neither of us liked it after that. I haven’t watched it since.

    Now I wonder what that means.

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