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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Can you hear me? I don’t want this any more! I want to call it off!

— Joel

Everybody had been talking about how great the #61 Film of All-Time on IMDb, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is. I have only seen bits and pieces of the movie through the years of its release back in 2004. My greatest fear was that the movie was not gonna live up to the hype. The movie won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and it should have won a couple of more. I wish I could own this movie and watch it repeatedly.

A social awkward man, Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) is reeling over the break up with his tangerine-tinted girlfriend, Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet). When he is venting his frustration over Clementine seemingly ignoring him to Rob and Carrie (David Cross, Jane Adams) when Rob hands Joel a card from a company called Lacuna. The card says that Clementine has had a procedure to erase Joel from her mind.

Joel is heartbroken and intrigued to see what this procedure is all about. He finds the office of Lacuna where Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wikinson) is performing the procedure of the heartbroken patients. He wants to have the procedure done as a way of getting back at Clementine for being so heartless to erase him from her mind.

The process of mind erasure is to gather all the items that remind you of the person that you are trying to have wiped from your memory so it could build a road map to which sections of the brain to target the memories. Mierzwiak’s associates from the clinic, Stan (Mark Ruffalo) and Partrick (Elijah Wood) arrive at Joel’s apartment while he sleeps to begin the erasure process.

As the erasure happens, Joel is fine having the end of their relationship cleaned off. When the erasure starts going into the happiest moments of their relationship, Joel want to be able to keep the memories, because she still holds a torch for Clementine. He tries to find clever ways to hide the good Clementine inside the inner workings of his brain.

This movie is visceral and devastating to watch. Everyone knows the feeling of heartbreak and wish that there was a procedure to help erasure the bad memories out. Those bad memories are a life lessons to find out what you don’t want in the next relationship so you won’t repeat the same dating pattern. Those bad times shape you into who you are as a person and what you can give to a relationship.

People call this one of the greatest love stories of all-time. I wouldn’t go that far, but identity to the plight these characters are in. My life was on-screen. The movie was off-kilter, surreal and mind fuck. This is Charlie Kaufman we are talking about. This is his M.O.

There is one thing about this movie that I didn’t get or maybe I am reading too much into it. What happened with the relationship with Patrick? If you know what I mean, then you’ll understand. Was that a dropped plot line?

Judgment: This is a raw, beautiful, self-destructive story about love.

Rating: 9.5/10

FB Recommendation: “Sense And Sensibility” (1995)

sense_and_sensibility

Always resignation and acceptance. Always prudence and honour and duty. Elinor, where is your heart?

— Marianne

This was one of my favorite movies from 1995, Sense and Sensibility. Flipping through the channels, this movies popped up on the screen. Had to watch it.

Being transported back to 19th century England where the Dashwood family is dealing with the death of their patriarch, John (Tom Wilkinson). They are left destitute after the first Mrs. Dashwood acquires all of his assets.

Trying to find their way in society, they try to marry distinguished men to help their family survive. The mother (Gemma Jones) wants the best for her family. There is the older sister, Elinor (Emma Thompson) that is in love with Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant), but he is already engaged.

Marianne (Kate Winslet) falls for a handsome gentleman, John Willoughby (Greg Wise) who does not reciprocate her feelings.

There are mix of love, heartbreak, duty and romance in this Ang Lee directed film.

Judgment: I love this costume English dramas. Go watch this film.

Rating: ****1/2

The Reader (2008)


The Reader is a movie that has been nominated for four Golden Globe awards including Best Supporting Actress – Kate Winslet, Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Drama Picture.

This film comes from the director of Billy Elliot and The Hours, Steven Daldry. I was skeptical that I would like this film and I was right. I hated it.

The movie centers around the illicit affair between 15-year-old Michael Berg (David Kross) and a train conductor, Hanna (Kate Winslet) that is twice his age that lasts for the summer of 1958. Michael reads to Hanna every time that they are together, right before they make love. Until one day, when Hanna is promoted, she leaves without telling Michael goodbye.

Eight years later, Michael, as a inspiring lawyer, he witnesses a trail of six women that are accused of killing three hundred Jewish people in a church fire during the Holocaust in 1944. Michael learns that one of the defendants is Hanna. He realizes that Hanna was an SS guard.

There are some clues that leads you to Hanna’s secret shame, the decisions that both older Michael (Ralph Fiennes) and Hanna made throughout their times together. It culminates to a scene that I didn’t understand. The motive for Hanna’s last act.

I was bored to tears during this movie. The only highlights of the film were Kate and Lena Olin who plays the daughter of the lone survivor of the tragedy. The flashbacks and forwards where godawful. That’s it.

My rating: ** stars.

Revolutionary Road (2008)


Based on the Richard Yates’ novel of the same name, director Sam Mendes has a mini-reunion with former Titanic alums, Kathy Bates, Leonardo DiCaprio and his wife, Kate Winslet to bring Revolutionary Road to the screen.

The action takes place primarily in the 1955 Connecticut household of Frank and April Wheeler (DiCaprio, Winslet) whose marriage is imploding from the inside out.

In the first moments of the movie, you see the jilted husband and wife have a verbal onslaught at the side of road that comes out of nowhere. Frank wants to confront his problems with the marriage and April doesn’t want to hear it.

April feels trapped in “Donna Reed” mindset of falling in love, get married, stay at home and take care of the kids. She doesn’t want that. Frank doesn’t want to be in a loveless marriage where he has to go a mindless job to take care of a family that he doesn’t want.

Kathy Bates plays Helen Givings, a realtor that sold their house to the Wheelers. She asks April that her mentally disturbed son, John (Michael Shannon) was being released from the loony bin, could meet the Wheelers.

Wanting to escape from their lives, April suggests to Frank that they would pack up and move to France. They tell their friends, Shep and Milly Campbell (David Harbour, Kathryn Hahn) about their plans. They looks stupefied at the suggestion.

This movie is the complete antithesis of “Titanic”. There is no love lost with the couple. Their fights are epic, raw, and brutally honest. Even John has the same mindset as the Wheelers when he calls them out on their transparent facade.

I would just like to know. With their endless squabbles, where were the kids when they happen? Are they always at the sitters?

I thought this movie was on the same lines of The Hours or Far From Heaven. Dealing with the tragedy of the American way of life in the 1950s. What is happening behind closed doors is out on the forefront.

A solid film from Sam Mendes. Check it out.

My rating: *** 1/2 stars.

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