Movies to See Before You Die: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


By: Willden Doherty (@Willden)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of a kind. There are no films I could think of that would be a great comparison. The film is about two people who, after a bad breakup, decide to erase each other from their memories and was inspired by real-life relationship experiences. It is not a feel-good film, although there are some of those moments in it. It visually captures every moment perfectly and uses mostly practical techniques. The sets and actors are used in such a way to create great uses of long takes.

This could easily be considered one of the top five performances of Jim Carrey’s career. Some might even argue it’s his best. We’ve seen him in more serious roles and this movie shows how good of an actor he is. This film also brings out the best of Kate Winslet. She plays a character that is completely different than any other role she has done. The supporting cast includes Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, Tom Wilkinson, and Kirsten Dunst, who help keep the film grounded. Even though there is one main storyline between the two leads, smaller ones appear that build upon the concept of memories.

However, beyond the performances, the camera could be considered the most important part of this film. The use of perspective is so unique and has rarely been seen before or since. Everything that would be done with CG today was practically done for this film. The placement of the actors, props, and set pieces allow the camera to flow between scenes seamlessly. The camera follows the actors with many close-up shots. With the use of cutaways, the actors can jump between multiple scenes in one shot.

I normally don’t recommend people to watch the behind the scenes features unless they are into film like myself, but I do recommend that everyone should watch them after viewing this film. It is a great way to see how the filmmaking process is adapted in an unusual way. Once you watch behind the scenes, you will likely be inclined to watch the film a second time. Every time I have seen this movie, I discover something new. This unique film experience is something everyone should see at least twice in their lifetime.

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