Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind makes the viewer stop and think. You ponder your own life, apply the narrative to your own unique situations and life experiences, and contemplate the supposed effects. Is ignorance bliss? How does one truly achieve the sought after “eternal sunshine?” Are the painful memories meant to stay with us? It is up to the interpretation of the individual.
We are constantly being transported from reality to memory, from past to present. The only constant or thing that gives us some point of reference is the colour of Clementine’s hair; blue for real life and orange for memories.
I believe Eternal Sunshine was a lesson, a piece of advice to the hurt and heartbroken souls in the world. It seemed like Clementine and Joel were doomed from the beginning. He was slightly pathetic, used the word nice too much as an adjective, and was very closed in regarding his feelings. Clem was an exciting, breathless enigma, who could be neurotic and overly emotional. Though life is far from binary, I believe that most of us can find some part of Joel or Clementine if we look inside ourselves. I envy Clementine’s spontaneity and freedom, but I relate to her desperation and need to be liked or accepted. I don’t identify with Joel’s perceived detachment, but I do to his at times dreary or cynical personality. This film was so raw and real that these two characters were not one dimensional archetypes, but vulnerable and very human.
Though they both decide to get their memories of each other erased, they still come together after it, and even after they realised what has been going on they still decide to give it a go. It’s an Amnesia Loop. Even when they realised that they’ll fight and there will so much pain because it’s destined, they still decide to, which brings up the thought that even if you can get rid of memories, you can’t actually change your heart. It’s slightly sick and twisted, how erasing the memory to erase heartache actually causes more heartache. Ironic.
I have never been in a position like Clementine and Joel, though this doesn’t have to be applied to just romantic relationships. It’s anything you wish you could get rid of. As clichéd and sentimental and overused as it sounds, mistakes can be worth making. Obviously not accidentally falling in your shower and breaking your neck, or leaving the stove on and causing the house to burn down, but smaller less fatal mistakes that haunt you for years to come. Instead of letting them haunt you, you grow from them.