Ok so I know I am super late (about 12 years) but last night I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (thank you Netflix) and I have to write my thoughts on it.
The synopsis is an eccentric woman, Clementine, (Kate Winslet) who decides to have the memory of her former boyfriend Joel (Jim Carey) erased. He finds out she did this and has the same procedure done. However during his procedure he realizes he does not want the memories he has of her to be gone. Before he is put to sleep for the procedure, he is angry and sad because the relationship ended. But during it he realizes how much he loves her despite the many hardships of their relationship.
As you watch the memories of their relationship unfold it evokes so many emotions. Clementine is sporratic, unpredictable, insecure, and has a bit of a drinking issue. Joel is analytical, reserved, and responsible. In a way they balance each other out. But I couldn’t help feeling bad for Joel. I understand he chose the relationship but Clementine had a lot of baggage that was not easy to deal with and she really liked to push his buttons and argue with him. She also crashed his car.
The way she acted with him made their relationship very unhealthy. But if you look deeper than the surface you realize Clementine’s crazy behavior is stemming from a woman who is deeply insecure and wants someone to love her through those insecurities.
It got me thinking about how most of us ,much like Clementine, just want someone to love us, our true, selves, who we are at our core. But a lot of us fear, just like her, that we will not find that kind of love.
In the movie she says
“I’m just a fucked up girl who is looking for my own peace of mind. Don’t assign me yours.”
In other words she is saying you dont have to try and save me. She says this but everything she does screams, If you love me enough then I will be able to love myself.
This idea is flawed because Joel loved her very much and treated her great.
Yet she would do things to push him away and mistreat him. She had no idea who she was or what she wanted because she did not love herself. It sounds so cliche but she would never be able to love Joel the way she should, until she learned to first love herself. The same is true for us. We cannot really love fully until we learn to love and respect ourselves.
Another part of the movie I want to touch on is the erasing of their memories of one another. Joel realized even though there were some very unpleasant memories of Clementine they were still part of their story and he didnt want them gone. I, like most of us, have some quite unpleasant memories but these tribulations have made me who I am, they are a part of my life just as much as the good ones and I do not want them gone (side note I know others have been through some extremely tragic stuff and maybe would like to erase that part of their memory and that is totally understandable! I am sorry those things happened). Our ups and our downs are part of our story we learn from the difficult times and they make us stronger.
If you get a chance to watch this movie,I would reccomend it. It gives you a lot to think about.
PS onscreen I loved their love story but in real life I would not recommend staying in such a toxic relationship. Joel shoulda been left her ass lol. We all have baggage but Clementine (and ourselves) needs to heal and love herself before she is in a relationship.
Love and light