🎥🍣 Movie Sushi — Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

AdGridley
7 min readSep 30, 2023

At snowy Montauk, Joel Barish’s notebook has some pages inexplicably missing. There’s a blue-haired woman in an orange jacket, Clementine Kruczynski, walking.

On the train, she learns they’re both going to Rockville Center. She’s seen him at Barnes & Noble, where she’s been working as a book slave for five years. Her current hair colour’s Blue Ruin.

She says she applies her personality in a paste. He gives her a ride home and sees her collection of decorated potatoes. She announces two Blue Ruin cocktails.

She’s always anxious, thinking she’s not living her life to the fullest. She’s not taking advantage of every possibility or making sure she’s not wasting one second of the little time she has.

She says she’s gonna marry Joel and snuggles up. They should go to the Charles River which is frozen at that time of year. On the river, the couple lay on their backs and gaze at the stars.

Joel is then sobbing with anguish, driving after dark. His hands shake as he drives. Lacuna technicians, Stan Fink and Patrick gain entry to Joel’s apartment bringing wheeled computer equipment.

Joel tells friend, Carrie, that Clementine dumped him and changed her number. Carrie’s husband, Rob, has a Lacuna card that says “Clementine Kruczynski has had Joel Barish erased from her memory”.

Joel visits Lacuna. Dr Mierzwiak says Miss Kruczynski was unhappy and wanted to move on. Joel wants Clementine erased. He should collect anything associated with Clementine. These things will create a map of her in Joel’s brain. Then, Lacuna technicians will do the erasing in Joel’s home.

Once the emotional core of memories is eradicated, it starts a degradation process. By morning, all targeted memories will have disappeared.

With Joel in a brain scanner, he should react non-verbally to memorable objects. Stan’s soon set up in Joel’s bedroom in front of an image of Joel’s brain.

In Mierzwiak’s office, in pyjamas, Joel can distantly hear Mierzwiak’s voice. In Joel’s bedroom, the Joel watching calls the name Patrick. Mierzwiak and Stan agree Joel’s journal would be invaluable.

The last time Joel saw Clementine, she drinks from the tap. She says she wrecked Joel’s car. He calls her drink-driving pathetic. She thinks he’s wondering if she slept with someone earlier that night.

Joel says that’s how she gets people to like her. He says he’s erasing her. He runs along the street shouting by morning, she’ll be gone. Joel hears Patrick’s voice saying he fell in love with Clementine while she was unconscious, even stealing her panties. Joel rolls off the floor in rewind, sitting with Clementine eating Chinese food.

Patrick asked her out. Stan calls it unethical. Suddenly, Joel’s chopsticks vanish and he flops onto a dirty sofa. Clementine’s looking for her boots.

Joel slits his own throat. Clementine steps over a bloodied Joel. She wants a baby, soon making it clear she’d make a great mother. She tells Joel he’s extremely lucky she’s interested in him.

Clementine says she tells Joel everything. Joel says constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating. Dinner at Kang’s again. He wonders if they’re the dining dead. Clementine asks if Joel would clean the hair off the soap.

In Joel’s bedroom, Joel notices Patrick’s voice calling to Tangerine. Clementine’s miserable and confused. Joel grabs Patrick in the bookstore, but there’s just the back of Patrick’s head each time.

A sobbing Clementine’s asking if Patrick thinks she’s ugly. He says no, calling her Tangerine. Clementine surprises Joel with orange hair and sweatshirt matched exactly. Joel says she looks like a tangerine.

Joel asks how Patrick knows to call her Tangerine. In Joel’s bedroom, Mary has a joint. She says for Mierzwiak to let people begin again is beautiful, adults otherwise being a mess of sadness and phobias.

Clementine tells Patrick she feels like she’s disappearing, her skin’s coming off and she’s getting old. She must see the Charles River at Montauk.

Patrick scans his bag of her memories for relevant items. He then presents Clementine with a Valentine’s gift she’s already received. She’s blown away, never having been out with a guy who bought her a piece of jewellery she liked.

Clementine felt ugly. Joel starts kissing her, saying she’s pretty. Both are laying on the frozen river, then the pavement. Clementine vanishes. Joel regrets the erasing.

He takes her hand and they run. He’s tickling her. They must return to Lacuna. They run through Grand Central station with luggage, pedestrians vanishing.

Mierzwiak’s erasing them both. Joel asks how Mierzwiak can help him. He says Patrick’s stealing Joel’s identity and seducing Clementine with Joel’s words and Joel’s objects.

On the Charles River, Patrick’s saying word-for-word what Joel once said. Clementine realises, sits bolt upright, and leaves. Joel tells her they’re erasing her.

Joel now needs it to stop before Clementine is erased. She says they’re living in a memory of her, so Joel should take her somewhere she doesn’t belong and wait there till morning.

It rains on the couple indoors. Clementine says it’s working. A four-year old Baby Joel’s under the kitchen table. Clementine loves the kitchen.

She says he’ll remember her in the morning and they’ll start over. Joel whispers that that Patrick guy is copying him. Patrick fell for Clementine when they were erasing her. Now, they’re dating.

A frightened Clementine’s actually driving, Patrick offering endless compliments. In Joel’s bedroom, Mary says the eyedrops aren’t working. Mierzwiak arrives, gets his laptop and Stan links it up.

Joel’s enjoying the feeling of security in a bubbly kitchen sink. Clementine’s never seen him happier. Mierzwiak asks what the heck Joel’s doing there.

Baby Joel and Clementine are flushed downwards. Mierzwiak injects Joel. Joel’s floundering in the sink, then is alert, soaking wet in his car, Clementine beside him.

She vanishes. Then, Joel says Tangerine and she reappears. He hugs her tightly. She’s irritated, asking what Joel’s doing. He runs with her and says there he is.

Mierzwiak is faceless at his desk. Joel’s developed resistance to the procedure. Joel should hide Clementine in his humiliation. He offers to drive Clementine home. Stan says Joel’s disappearing again.

Joel’s masturbating in bed, then is caught by his mother. The couple’s still in bed, but on a beach. In the darkened bookstore, Clementine tells Joel to hide her somewhere really buried.

A group of kids round on a sobbing Young Joel. Clementine leads him away by the wrist, asking if he likes her pink hat. He straddles her on the lawn. The house there quickly decays.

In Joel’s bedroom, Mierzwiak thinks he’s cracked it. Joel’s with Clementine on a wintry beach and rubs snow on Joel. Then, he asks what’s wrong with her. She vanishes.

Elephants parade down the street. Mary recites an Alexander Pope poem: “How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot? The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Each prayer accepted and each wish resigned”.

Mierzwiak’s wife is about to catch Mierzwiak kissing Mary, so Stan sounds the car horn. Mierzwiak confesses to Mary he had her memory of him erased.

Joel offers to take Clementine out. Clementine says she’s high maintenance. Too many guys think she’s a concept, or she completes them or she’s gonna make them alive.

She’s just a messed-up girl looking for peace of mind. Joel still thought she was gonna save his life. She tells him to try his best to remember her. She vanishes.

Clementine was wearing her orange sweatshirt that he’d come to know so well and even hate, eventually. When they first met, Clementine asked to borrow a piece of his chicken and then just took it without waiting for a reply. He says it was so intimate, like they already were lovers.

At a night-time beachfront house, Clementine gains entry through a window. She whoops and opens the front door. Inside, Clementine asks if Joel’s OK with wine.

The house starts decaying. Joel thought Clementine exciting. He’s knee-deep in seawater. Clementine comes back downstairs and Joel’s gone.

He felt scared and returned to the bonfire. She asks what if he stayed that time. He says there’s no memory left. With the sand up to the base of the stairs, she tells him to meet her in Montauk.

In Joel’s car, Clementine opens a letter from Mary Svevo explaining the horrible concept behind Lacuna. She’s returning everyone’s file as an apology. Clementine Kruczynski is there to erase Joel Barish.

She doesn’t like herself when she’s with him. Many other reasons why they’re mismatched are provided. Joel finally throws her out the car.

Clementine visits Joel, who’s playing his tape. Among other things, he’s saying the only way Clementine thinks she can get people to like her is to sleep with them or suggest she’ll possibly sleep with them.

She leaves. He stops her. She says she’s not a concept, she’s just a messed-up girl looking for peace of mind. She’s not perfect. Joel says he can’t see anything he doesn’t like about her.

She says he’ll think of things, and she’ll get bored with him and feel trapped. Joel shrugs and says OK. She smiles and says OK.

Starring Jim Carrey. Kate Winslet. Tom Wilkinson. Rated 15. Dir Michel Gondry. Released in the UK 2004. Runtime 1hr 48mins

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AdGridley

Ad teaches & gives speeches on his MH struggle + recovery at institutions right across the world. (Movie Sushi pieces contain spoilers)