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Endless Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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Saw this with my mom and grandma.  They didn't really like it.  I think it just isn't what they expected from a movie with Jim Carrey in it.  I had seen Kate Winslet interviewed on Inside the Actor's Studio, and their short description had me prepared.

Briefly, the story is about a couple who are at the end of a relationship.  She learns about a company that can erase her memories, so she erases everything having to do with him.  He finds out about it and decides to have his memories of her erased.   The movie starts out telling the story in sort of a backwards fashion, somewhat similar to Memento.  But it's significantly different, because the story of their relationship together is told as it's being erased, where they use some interesting special effects to illustrate.  On top of that, there are activities going on out in the real world around Carrey, and his imagination kicks in, it jumps around in chronological order, etc.  It sounds very confusing, but they pull it off.  It's actually fairly easy to follow.

This is certainly not an archetypical role for Jim Carrey.  In fact, he plays someone kinda similar to me.  Pretty quiet.  Fairly boring.  Kind of a wuss.  Afraid to speak to a woman he's attracted to, but doesn't know.  That sort of thing.

The secondary characters are pretty interesting.  And nicely filled in as real people.  They're basically about what you would expect from a small business that makes housecalls.  The principle, the doctor.  The receptionist.  A couple of technician types who are mostly competent, but easily enticed into seemingly harmless, but actually pretty unethical behavior.  Good interactions between all of those characters.

Even Carrey's friends, who get very little screen time, have a few lines which reveal a rich backstory.

Kirsten Dunst has some casually sexy moments, without being overtly so.

They also spend a little time touching on some of the ramifications of this kind of procedure.  Just brief bits, so they could touch on it from a couple of different angles. Maybe a little too lightly.  I think the movie could have been quite a bit more thought-provoking if they could have dwelt on those a bit longer.  As it was, they kept yanking you completely back to the two main characters.  (Hmm, interesting.   I wonder if this could have been written with far less about the main characters and much more about fallout and ethics.)

I'm not sure I can really pick out the theme to this movie, though.  IOW, why was it made?  I suppose it might be about the strength of the spirit, or not trying to fight inevitability/fate.  I suppose they might have been trying for the common self-loathing theme of Man Isn't Wise Enough to Handle What He's Capable of Doing.

I wouldn't mind seeing it again, to see if I missed something important.  But overall I liked it.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Matinee.  The story of a failed relationship as the memories are being erased.  Very bizarre, but well done.

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Last modified: June 14, 2004
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