Welcome to Framed, a column at Cinematical that runs every Thursday and celebrates the artistry of cinema -- one frame at a time.
One could easily describe 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind's' narrative in the traditional sense, but to uncoil the story in such a way diminishes the movie's power. Michel Gondry's film is about love -- plain and simple -- and what it's like to be sick and hysterical and consumed by it. Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) are like creatures plucked out of Plato's 'Phaedrus,' which is ostensibly about the madness of love, the guiding of the soul, and notions of beauty amongst other things. Writer Charlie Kaufman tackles the lovers' bittersweet tale with these themes, while inserting ideas about memory, identity, and subjectivity into the mix. Gondry and cinematographer Ellen Kuras manage to embrace these emotional and intellectual realms, while creating an aesthetic bridge between the mind and heart of a troubled relationship. It's nothing short of amazing to watch.
All you really need to know about 'Eternal Sunshine's' story is that after Joel and Clementine break up, they decide to have their memories of each other permanently erased by the Philip K. Dick-esque Lacuna Inc. The company's technicians -- who are experiencing their own bouts of madness in love -- aren't prepared to deal with things when Joel undergoes treatment and starts to subconsciously recall the ups and downs of his stormy relationship. He has a change of heart and struggles to preserve what's left of Clementine in his rapidly fading memory.