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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal..... Melancholy? Image  ©  Focus Features

Eternal..... Melancholy? Image © Focus Features

Let me start by saying it has been hell and a half trying to write this post, because there’s really no dignified way for me to say this: Charlie Kaufman’s movies make me feel weird, but in a nice way. 

Take Synecdoche, New York. I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first saw that movie because it totally destroyed my ideas about what a movie could be (again, in a nice way). I was in high school, it was a Friday night, I was alone in my room and full out sobbing with two snotty tissues for company as the end credits played. And then I was in a calculus and Charlie Kaufman induced haze for several days, trying to digest what I had watched. 

Much of the same happened the first time I watched Eternal Sunshine, and the tears have only increased with subsequent viewings. Even though I've seen it four times so far, it's so difficult to put this movie into words because what I get from Charlie Kaufman's movies are feelings, more than anything else: indescribable loneliness, pain, and heartbreak. David Lynch talked about this in an interview: "As soon as you finish a film, people want you to talk about it. And, it's um - the film is the talking. The film is the thing, so you go see the film. That's the thing. It's a whole thing, and it's there, and that is it."

Besides the fact that "thing" sounds like it's not a word now, I think that's how anyone first seeing Eternal Sunshine should approach it. You probably won't understand all of it with one viewing, and parts of it probably aren't meant to be totally understood. That's the beauty of it - you always seem to take different things away from it each time you watch it.

But as depressing as Eternal Sunshine is, it’s uplifting in the strangest of ways. It’s about Mark Ruffalo dancing in his underwear. It’s about Jim Carrey eating Chinese food and thinking about the tiny, awful truths of relationships in a horribly comic way. It’s about a girl with red, and green, and blue hair, before that was ever a cool thing to do.

So: meet us in Montauk for film club, alright? 

“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”

- Alexander Pope

Join us for our live-tweet of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on Wednesday, February 24th at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific. Follow along with the hashtag #dmmovies