Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.

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Random thoughts for Valentine’s Day 2017. I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind today. Remember that you probably won’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone. Then again, if you let it go, did you really appreciate it in the first place?

Neither Joel nor Clementine, like their archetypical counterparts in other romantic comedies (I watched About Time this weekend, too), is attractive to me. Joel has no direction, and Clementine is turbulent. I can see from the opening scene – which takes place post-breakup and post-procedure – that it’s probably not going to work.

Weird, then, that the course of the film makes me reluctantly miss this relationship that I’m unconvinced by, and never knew.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I’m not sure if the takeaway of Eternal Sunshine is “appreciate what you have” or if it’s “hindsight is a liar”. And I think that’s the point, because I’d align the first with Joel – we watch him scramble to hold onto his memories of Clementine that he swore he didn’t want – and the second with Clementine – so sure that the relationship, for all the fond memories, was poisoning her.

Imagine watching this with your other half and discovering that you have wildly different views on relationships and love. No, I didn’t do that. But I’ll be mindful never to watch Eternal Sunshine with a girl I’m into because, and we can all agree on this:

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.

Ignorance is bliss.

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