AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Director: Michel Gondry (Dir)
Release Date:   19 Mar 2004
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles premiere: 9 Mar 2004
Production Date:   13 Jan--3 Apr 2003
Duration (in mins):   107-108
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Cast: in order of appearance: Jim Carrey (Joel Barish)  
    Kate Winslet (Clementine Kruczynski)  
    Gerry Robert Byrne (Train conductor)  
    Elijah Wood (Patrick)  
    Thomas Jay Ryan (Frank)  
    Mark Ruffalo (Stan [Fink])  
    Jane Adams (Carrie [Eakin])  
    David Cross (Rob [Eakin])  
    Kirsten Dunst (Mary [Svevo])  
    Tom Wilkinson (Dr. [Howard] Mierzwiak)  
    Ryan Whitney (Young Joel)  
    Debbon Ayer (Joel's mother)  
    Brian Price (Young bully)  
    Amir Ali Said (Young bully)  
    Paul Litowsky (Young bully)  
    Josh Flitter (Young bully)  
    Lola Daehler (Young Clementine)  
    Deirdre O'Connell (Hollis [Mierzwiak])  

Summary: On Valentine’s Day, 2004, Joel Barish awakens in his New York City apartment feeling hung over. Driven by an inexplicable urgency, he rushes to catch a train to Montauk, Long Island. There, despite the cold, he wanders the beach and writes in his journal, too shy to approach a girl with hair dyed electric blue, who catches his eye. They are on the same train home, however, and the extroverted girl, Clementine Kruczynski, launches into a conversation with Joel that is both stilted and oddly familiar. Clem’s quick temper frustrates Joel, who pulls away but later offers her a ride home and accompanies her into her apartment. Overwhelmed by his attraction to her quirkiness and candor, Joel leaves, but as soon as he gets home he calls her, and the next night she takes him to the frozen Charles River to lie on the ice. Over the course of the night, they fall in love, he enthralled with her liveliness and she drawn to his kindness. In the morning, Joel drives Clem home, and while she runs inside, Patrick, a stranger to Joel, asks him why he is there, then walks away. Two days earlier, Joel, deeply grieving over his breakup with Clem, takes a pill prescribed to him by Dr. Howard Mierzwiak of Lacuna, Inc. and, as planned, is soon comatose. Patrick and Stan Fink, Lacuna employees, enter his apartment and set up their equipment, which causes Joel to relive his memories of Clem, beginning with their breakup: Two days before Valentine's Day, he visits his friends Carrie and Rob Eakin to lament that Clem is acting as if she does not know him. Rob reluctantly hands Joel a card from Lacuna, which states that Clem has had him erased from her memory. Horrified, Joel visits the Lacuna offices, where Howard explains that Clem has opted to have all memories of Joel removed from her brain. Joel leaves but, devastated, returns soon after to demand that Howard perform the procedure on him, to remove Clem. Howard directs him to bring to the office everything associated with her, which they will use to create a “map” of his memories in his brain, after which the technicians will come to his house and overnight remove the memories. Later, back at the office, Stan maps Joel’s brain, but when in the present, one of the Lacuna machine’s wires malfunctions and the inexperienced Patrick fumbles with the plugs, Joel’s memories grow staticky, and his emerging consciousness allows him to enter his own memory. Disoriented and frightened, Joel questions Howard and finds that, within his own memory, he can comment on the occasion and watch it unfold. His two realities continue to blur as Joel simultaneously hears Patrick in the present discussing his new girl friend, and reexperiences his last fight with Clem: She comes home late, drunk, and reveals that she crashed his car. Both furious and fed up, they fight, and after Joel insinuates that she sleeps around to entice people to like her, Clem stalks out. He follows her down the street, but as cars drop from the sky, Joel announces to Clem that he is in the process of erasing her. In the present, Patrick, drinking beers with Stan, admits that after erasing Clem’s memory the week earlier, he fell in love with and began dating her. Hearing Patrick, Joel’s discomfort grows, but then Stan begins removing a previous memory, and Joel relives the moment when Clem, characteristically feeling trapped and irritated, leaves to go drinking alone. Then in an earlier memory, they fight over her desire to have a baby, and Clem is insulted that Joel does not consider her equipped to be a good mother. That memory begins to disintegrate, while in the apartment, Lacuna receptionist Mary Svevo arrives to spend the evening with Stan, her boyfriend. The three Lacuna employees raid the unconscious Joel’s liquor cabinet, Stan confident that the machine is on “autopilot,” while Joel courses through the next memories, including a dinner during which he worries that Clem drinks too much and they have little left to say to each other. From within the recollection Joel hears Patrick talking to his girl friend on the phone, and realizes that she is Clem. Patrick leaves to visit Clem, who, confused and frightened, sobs that “nothing makes any sense.” Secretly consulting the journal pages he has stolen from Joel’s bag of mementos, Patrick uses Joel’s past words to seduce Clem into loving him. Puzzled as to why Patrick, who says all the right things, makes her uncomfortable, she insists they visit the Charles. Meanwhile, Joel, recalling a day when Clem is tender and vulnerable, tries desperately to hold on to the memory, but instead is brought back to their first night on the frozen Charles, and relives the feeling of perfect happiness. At the same time, Patrick is on the Charles reciting Joel’s words to Clem, but she reacts with distaste. In Joel’s mind, he and Clem discuss how they can stop the erasure process, and on her suggestion, he manages to wake himself up. When that fails to work, she proposes that they hide her in a memory not mapped out by Lacuna, and he brings her back into his childhood. In his mother’s kitchen, Clem appears as a neighbor while Joel is at once his current self and his four-year-old incarnation. Just then, Stan realizes that the machinery has stopped, and stoned on marijuana and panicked, follows Mary’s advice to call Howard. The doctor arrives and, shocked that Joel is proving resistant to the technology, manages to “find” him again on the brainwave chart. Joel remembers watching a drive-in movie with Clem and making up the words, but when the car falls apart around them, he grabs her hand and runs, as the ground crumbles behind them. Clem exhorts him to find a more deeply buried memory, so Joel takes her to a moment of humiliation, when his mother caught him masturbating. This proves unsuccessful, so they move on to a more painful memory, when childhood bullies forced him to hammer a bird to death. Clem, now a child too, marches Joel out of the playground, but as they play by his house, it melts away, Howard having found him once again. In the apartment, Stan grows jealous over Mary’s attentions to Howard and so goes outside, and soon Mary gives in to her adoration of the doctor and kisses him. Howard tries weakly to resist, but then kisses her, not realizing that his wife Hollis has driven up and is watching through the window with Stan. Stan honks his horn, and Howard and Mary run outside to placate Hollis, but she informs Mary that this is not the first time she has kissed Howard. Trapped, Howard admits that after a failed romance between them, Mary asked to have him removed from her memory. Feeling violated, Mary returns to the office to search for the tape recording Howard made of her verbal memories. Meanwhile, Joel is remembering the day after he met Clem, when he goes to the bookstore where she works. She is at first distant as she informs him, in the past, that she will not be his savior, then kind when he confesses, in the present, that he has always wanted her to be. As the book titles fade around them, she urges him to remember her. Finally, Joel experiences again the day they met, at a beach party in Montauk. During the memory, both are aware that this is the last memory remaining, and try to enjoy its sweetness. He watches with trepidation and admiration as she breaks into an empty house, and although he leaves her there alone, in the present he is able to return to proclaim his love. As the house falls into ruins, she whispers to him to meet her in Montauk, and soon, the procedure is finished. The next morning, Valentine's Day, Joel awakens in his apartment feeling hung over, then, driven by an inexplicable urgency, rushes to catch a train to Montauk. He meets Clem on the train, and two mornings later, she leaves his car to get her toothbrush and Patrick knocks on Joel’s window. On her way back out, Clem grabs her mail, in which she finds an envelope from Mary, who has returned all of Lacuna’s clients’ audio tapes. In the car, Clem and Joel listen to Clem, weeks earlier, discussing the reasons why she wants to erase Joel, and Joel reacts with fear and disgust, causing Clem to leave the car. She soon drives to his apartment, however, where she finds him listening to his own tape. They try to ignore the terrible statements on the tapes, but Clem, realizing how badly their old relationship ended, decides to leave. Joel follows her, however, and proposes they try again. As she counters that they already know what will go wrong and how, Clem realizes that even with the uncertainty and possibility of failure, their love is worth another try, and their memories worth rebuilding. 

Production Company: Focus Features (Vivendi Universal)
  Anonymous Content  
  This Is That  
  Blue Ruin  
Distribution Company: Focus Features (Vivendi Universal)
Director: Michel Gondry (Dir)
  Michael Hausman (1st asst dir)
  Scott Ferguson (2d asst dir)
  Peter Thorell (2d 2d asst dir)
Producer: Steve Golin (Prod)
  Anthony Bregman (Prod)
  David Bushell (Exec prod)
  Charlie Kaufman (Exec prod)
  Glenn Williamson (Exec prod)
  Georges Bermann (Exec prod)
  Linda Fields Hill (Assoc prod)
  Michael A. Jackman (Assoc prod)
Writer: Charlie Kaufman (Scr)
  Charlie Kaufman (Story)
  Michel Gondry (Story)
  Pierre Bismuth (Story)
Photography: Ellen Kuras (Dir of photog)
  Chris Norr (Cam op)
  Peter Agliata ("B" cam op)
  Mark Schmidt (Addl cam op)
  Carlos Guerra (1st asst cam)
  Stanley Fernandez Jr. ("B" cam 1st asst)
  Braden Belmonte (2d asst cam)
  Christopher Raymond ("B" cam 2d asst)
  Angela Bellisio (Cam loader)
  Kevin McKenna (Video playback op)
  Joe Trammell (24 frame playback supv)
  Darren Ryan (24 frame playback)
  James Domorski (24 frame playback)
  David C. Lee (Still photog)
  John Nadeau (Gaffer)
  Joseph Quirk (New York gaffer)
  Paul Daley (Rigging gaffer)
  Samuel Chase (Genny op)
  Kelly Britt (Board op)
  Mark Summers (Best boy elec)
  Andrea Cronin-Souza (Elec)
  Martin Nowlan (Best boy rigging elec)
  Raymond Flynn (Rigging elec)
  Bob Andres (Key grip)
  Chris Skutch (Best boy grip)
  Lamont Crawford (Dolly grip)
  Alison Barton (Grip)
  Mel Cannon (Grip)
  Tony Campenni (Grip)
  Jack Panuccio (Key rigging grip)
  Richard Yacuk (Best boy rigging grip)
  Deluxe Film Laboratories (Film processing)
  ARRI ([Cameras provided by])
Art Direction: Dan Leigh (Prod des)
  David Stein (Art dir)
  Scott P. Murphy (Asst art dir)
  Hinju Kim (Asst art dir)
  Addy McClelland (Art dept coord)
  Paul Proch (Joel's sketchbook created by)
Film Editor: Valdis Okarsdottir (Ed)
  James Haygood (Addl ed)
  Paul Zucker (Addl ed)
  Jeffrey M. Werner (Addl ed)
  Pivotal Post (AVIDs provided by)
Set Decoration: Ron Von Blomberg (Set dec)
  Natalie N. Dorset (Asst set dec)
  Mike Leather (Leadperson)
  Ruth A. DeLeon (On set dresser)
  Roman Greller (Set dresser)
  D. Scott Gagnon (Set dresser)
  John Roche (Set dresser)
  Brian Buteau (Set dresser)
  Kevin Ladson (Prop master)
  R. Vincent Smith (Asst prop master)
  Morgan Pitts (Props)
  Nicholas R. Miller (Const coord)
  Brent Haywood (Const coord)
  Gordon Krause (Key shop craftsman)
  Sean Robinson (Key shop craftsman)
  Robert A. Vaccariello (Foreman shop craftsman)
  Jonathan Graham (Key const grip)
  Zbigniew Kouros (Key const grip)
  James Boniece (Key const grip)
  Miguel Jimenez (Key const electrics)
  Roberto Jimenez (Key const electrics)
  Andrew M. Velenchenko (Shop craftsman)
  Paul George Divone (Shop craftsman)
  Mike Melchiove (Shop craftsman)
  Ronald Miller (Shop craftsman)
  Anne Beiser Haywood (Charge scenic)
  Patricia Sprott (Scenic foreman)
  Sam Z. Rogers (Shop scenic)
  Hollis James Hoff (Cam scenic)
  Julius Kozlowski (Scenic)
  Garf Brown (Scenic)
  James Donahue (Scenic)
  Mark Lane-Davies (Scenic)
  Elizabeth Bonaventura (Scenic)
  Emily Gaunt (Scenic)
Costumes: Melissa Toth (Cost des)
  Jill Kliber (Asst cost des)
  Lisa Frucht (Ward supv)
  Deirdre N. Williams (Ward supv)
  David Page (Cost for Mr. Carrey)
  Cara Czekanski (Addl cost)
  Frankie Steinz NYC (Custom skeleton cost des)
  Express (Select ward provided for Ms. Winslet by)
  H&M, NYC (Select ward courtesy of)
Music: Jon Brion (Mus/Mus cond and prod)
  Anastassios Filipos (Mus ed)
  David A. Smith (Asst ed)
  Kathy Nelson (Mus guru)
  Jennifer Pray (Mus consultant)
  Tom Biller (Mus rec)
  Nick Vidar (Mus programming)
  Patrick Spain (Addl mus eng)
  Jason Gossman (Addl mus eng)
  Chris Holmes (Addl mus eng)
  Steven Rhodes (Addl mus eng)
  Dana Bourke (Addl mus eng)
  Reed Ruddy (Addl mus eng)
  Steve Bartek (Mus orch)
  Peter Gordon (Mus orch)
  Edgardo Simone (Mus orch)
  Robert Puff Music (Mus preparation)
  Simon James Music, LLC (Orch contractor)
  Cello Studios (Mus rec at)
  The Marc Shaiman Institute (Mus rec at)
  Bastyr University (Mus rec at)
  Signet Sound Studios (Mus rec and mixed at)
Sound: Philip Stockton (Supv sd ed)
  Eugene Gearty (Sd des/Re-rec mixer)
  Reilly Steele (Re-rec mixer)
  Thomas Nelson (Sd mixer)
  Drew Kunin (Sd)
  Tommy Louie (Boom op)
  Kira Smith (Utility sd tech)
  C5 Inc. (Post prod sd facility)
  Paul Urmson (Eff ed)
  Fred Rosenberg (Dial ed)
  Marissa Littlefield (ADR ed)
  Frank Kern (Supv Foley ed)
  Kam Chan (Foley ed)
  Steve Visscher (Foley ed)
  George Lara (Foley mixer)
  Marko Costanzo (Foley artist)
  Jay Peck (Foley artist)
  Chris Fielder (Asst sd ed)
  Larry Wineland (Asst sd ed)
  Alexa Zimmerman (Apprentice sd ed)
  Sound One Corp. (Sd mixing and transfer facility)
Special Effects: Martin Garner (Computer graphics supv)
  Brent Ekstrand (Lead anim)
  Drew Jiritano (Spec eff coord)
  Mark Bero (Spec eff)
  Thomas L. Viviano (Spec eff)
  Buzz Image Group, Inc. (Visual eff)
  Louis Morin (Visual eff supv, Buzz Image Group, Inc.)
  François Métivier (Senior inferno artist, Buzz Image Group, Inc.)
  Ara Khanikian (Inferno flame artist, Buzz Image Group, Inc.)
  Robin Tremblay (Lead matte painter, Buzz Image Group, Inc.)
  Pierre-Simon Lebrun-Chaput (Matte painter, Buzz Image Group, Inc.)
  Alexandre Lafortune (3-D anim, Buzz Image Group, Inc.)
  François Lord (3-D anim, Buzz Image Group, Inc.)
  Martin Pelletier (3-D anim, Buzz Image Group, Inc.)
  Glenn Silver (3-D anim, Buzz Image Group, Inc.)
  Gabriel Tremblay (3-D anim, Buzz Image Group, Inc.)
  Mélanie Larue (Coord, Buzz Image Group, Inc.)
  Stéphane Loiselle (Coord, Buzz Image Group, Inc.)
  Custom Film Effects (Visual eff, titles and digital opticals by)
  Mark Dornfeld (Visual eff supv, Custom Film Effects)
  Michele Ferrone (Visual eff prod, Custom Film Effects)
  Adam Gass (Digital ed, Custom Film Effects)
  Laurie Powers (Digital supv, Custom Film Effects)
  David Smithson (Data wrangler, Custom Film Effects)
  Tricia Barrett (Digital compositor, Custom Film Effects)
  Steve Caldwell (Digital compositor, Custom Film Effects)
  RJ Harbour (Digital compositor, Custom Film Effects)
  Mary C. Hoffer (Digital compositor, Custom Film Effects)
  Shaina Holmes (Digital compositor, Custom Film Effects)
  Lori Miller (Digital compositor, Custom Film Effects)
  Amani Williams (Digital compositor, Custom Film Effects)
  Ryan Beadle (I/O)
  Title House Digital (End titles by)
  EFILM (Digital intermediate)
  Mike Eaves (Digital intermediate)
  Mike Kennedy (Digital intermediate)
  Loan Phan (Digital intermediate)
Make Up: Allen Weisinger (Makeup artist for Mr. Carrey)
  Noriko Watanabe (Hair and makeup for Ms. Winslet)
  Kyra Panchenko (Key makeup artist)
  Francesca Paris (Hair stylist for Mr. Carrey)
  Peter Owen (Wigs)
  D. Michelle Johnson (Key hairstylist)
Production Misc: Jeanne McCarthy (Casting)
  Blythe Cappello (LA casting)
  John Srednicki (LA casting asst)
  Natasha Cuba (Casting assoc)
  Grant Wilfley (Extras casting)
  Kristian Sorge (Extras casting asst)
  David Bushell (Unit prod mgr)
  Ray Angelic (Asst unit prod mgr)
  Michael A. Jackman (Post prod supv)
  Jeff Roth (Exec in charge of post prod)
  Angela Beresford (Post prod asst)
  Katrina Whalen (Post prod asst) (Digital dailies streaming provided by)
  Laser Pacific (Hi-definition dailies and conforming by)
  Andre Trejo (Hi-definition dailies and conforming by)
  Chad Gunderson (Hi-definition dailies and conforming by)
  Gayle Vangrofsky (Loc mgr)
  Christopher Marsh (Asst loc mgr)
  Currie Person (Loc asst)
  Dan Tresca (Loc asst)
  Kat Donahue (Loc asst)
  Erica Kay (Prod coord)
  Christian Brockey (Asst prod coord)
  Mary Cybulski (Scr supv)
  Andy Wheeler (Prod accountant)
  Brian Cantaldi (1st asst accountant)
  Hillary R. Meyer (Payroll accountant)
  Kristy Hamer (Accounting asst)
  Philip DeRise (Prod secy)
  Amro Hamzawi (Asst to Mr. Gondry)
  Adrian Scartascini (Asst to Mr. Gondry)
  Arthur Hur (Asst to Mr. Gondry)
  Oona Overholtzer (Asst to Mr. Kaufman)
  Chris Prapha (Asst to Mr. Golin)
  Stefanie Azpiazu (Asst to Mr. Bregman)
  Jeff Schlesinger (Asst to Mr. Bushell)
  Stephanie Detiege (Asst to Mr. Carrey)
  Taylor Singer (2d asst to Mr. Carrey)
  Ruth Pollack (Asst to Ms. Winslet)
  Bobb Bruno (Asst to Mr. Brion)
  Patrick McDonald (Key set prod asst)
  Nick Bell (Prod asst)
  David Catalano (Prod asst)
  Benjamin Conable (Prod asst)
  Tracy Ershow (Prod asst)
  Noah Fox (Prod asst)
  Andrew Goodman (Prod asst)
  Cynthia Kao (Prod asst)
  Kate Karbowniczek (Prod asst)
  Matthew G. King (Prod asst)
  David Koch (Prod asst)
  Alison Norod (Prod asst)
  Gary S. Rake (Prod asst)
  Debbie Stampfle (Prod asst)
  Susan Hegarty (Dialect coach for Ms. Winslet)
  Dotan Bonen (Security for Mr. Carrey)
  Sebastian Almeida (Intern)
  Hilary Basing (Intern)
  Fred Berger (Intern)
  Linda Chen (Intern/NY casting asst)
  Liesel Elain Davis (Intern)
  Lindsey Jaffin (Intern)
  Sage Lehman (Intern/NY casting asst)
  Valerie Nolan (Intern)
  Eugy Septimo (Intern)
  Andrew Zoppa (Intern)
  Zachary Zoppa (Intern)
  Alex Zoppa (Intern)
  Frances Fiore (Unit pub)
  Rich Fellegara (On set medic)
  Kathy Fellegara (On set medic)
  William K. Gaskins (Transportation capt)
  Michael C. Easter (Transportation co-capt)
  Derek Pastures (Parking coord)
  Jerry McMullan (Mr. Carrey's driver)
  Herb Lieberz (Ms. Winslet's driver)
  Edward Battista (Driver)
  Theodore A. Brown (Driver)
  John Canavan (Driver)
  Salvatore Ciccone (Driver)
  Charles Clark (Driver)
  Peter Clores (Driver)
  Thomas Crehanm (Driver)
  Jerry Featherstone (Driver)
  Moe Fitzgerald (Driver)
  William Gore Jr. (Driver)
  Joseph L. Johnson (Driver)
  Paul Kane (Driver)
  Dennis J. Kelly (Driver)
  James F. Kelly (Driver)
  Scott Lieberz (Driver)
  Robert Marsh (Driver)
  Tom Moyer (Driver)
  Richard Nelson, Jr. (Driver)
  David M. Salisbury (Driver)
  William T. Stuart (Driver)
  Francis Volpe (Driver)
  Timothy J. Wood (Driver)
  Dawn Animal Agency (Animals provided by)
  Irv Gooch (Picture cars provided by)
  David Dreishpoon's Craft Service (Craft service)
  For Stars Catering (Caterer)
  Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (Prod attorneys)
  Robert Darwell (Prod attorney)
  Michal Podell (Prod attorney)
  Wendy Cohen (Clearances and prod placement by)
  Production Resources (Clearances and prod placement by)
  Christine Bergren (Mus clearances)
  AON/Albert G. Ruben (Insurance provided by)
  Film Finances (Completion guarantors)
  Maureen Duffy (Completion guarantor)
  Paula Schmit (Completion guarantor)
  Gregory Trattner (Completion guarantor)
Stand In: Brian Smyj (Stunt coord)
  Danny Aiello III (Stunts)
  Billy Anagnos (Stunts)
  E. J. Evans (Stunts)
  John Favre (Stunts)
  Stephanie Finochio (Stunts)
  Cort Hessler III (Stunts)
  Artie Malesci (Stunts)
  Pee Wee Piemonte (Stunts)
  Stephen Pope (Stunts)
  Mike Russo (Stunts)
Color Personnel: Kenny Becker (Deluxe col timer)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Music: Concerto No. 8 in D Major, Opus 99 by Charles-Auguste de Beriot, courtesy of Naxos of America.
Songs: "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime," written by James Warren, performed by Beck, Beck appears courtesy of Geffen Records, produced by Beck and Jon Brion; "Something" and "Keep on Looking," written by Richie Eaton, performed by The Willowz; "Tere Sang Pyar Main," written by Laxmikant Pyarelal and Varma Malik, performed by Lata Mangeshkar, courtesy of Universal Music India Private Limited (Mumbai), under license from Universal Music Enterprises; "Mere Man Tera Pyasa," written by S. D. Burman and Neeraj, performed by Mohd. Rafi, courtesy of Universal Music India Private Limited (Mumbai), under license from Universal Music Enterprises; "Wada Na Tod," written by Rajesh Roshan, performed by Lata Mangeshkar, courtesy of Universal Music India Private Limited (Mumbai), under license from Universal Music Enterprises; "Some Kinda Shuffle" and "Nola's Bounce," written and performed by Don Nelson, courtesy of Too Cool Records; "Light and Day/Reach for the Sun," written by Timothy DeLaughter, performed by The Polyphonic Spree, courtesy of Hollywood Records.
Composer: Charles-Auguste de Beriot
  S. D. Burman
  Timothy DeLaughter
  Richie Eaton
  Varma Malik
  Don Nelson
  Laxmikant Pyarelal
  Rajesh Roshan
  James Warren
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal City Studios Productions, LLLP 12/4/2004 dd/mm/yyyy PA0001219491

PCA NO: 40598
Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Digital; dts in selected theatres
  col: Deluxe
  Lenses/Prints: Fuji Film; prints by Deluxe

Genre: Romance
  Science fiction
Sub-Genre: Psychological
  with songs
Subjects (Major): Ethics
Subjects (Minor): Beaches
  Booksellers and bookselling
  Brains (Human)
  Charles River (MA)
  Long Island (NY)
  Mothers and sons
  New York City
  Operations, Surgical
  Unrequited love

Note: The film follows a complex time sequence, beginning on Valentine's Day, when "Joel Barish" meets "Clementine Kruczynski" for the first time after going through the memory erasing procedure, which takes place the previous evening. Over the course of that night, he remembers events that took place days, weeks and months earlier. The opening credits do not appear until seventeen minutes into the film, to signal the shift in time within the story from Valentine's Day (the "present") to the day earlier, hours before Joel has the procedure. The closing cast credits are listed in order of appearance, unlike the opening credits. Many scenes are narrated by Jim Carrey as Joel.
       According to press notes and the DVD commentary by director Michel Gondry and writer Charlie Kaufman, the concept for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind began with an artist friend of Gondry, Pierre Bismuth, who wondered how friends would react if they received a card stating that they had been erased from his memories. Gondry and Kaufman developed the idea and pitched it to studios in 1998, after which Kaufman took several years to complete the screenplay. During that time, Gondry, a noted music video director, made his feature film directorial debut based on Kaufman’s script for Human Nature . According to, Partizan, a division of the now-defunct production company Propaganda Films, signed the original deal linking Gondry and Kaufman to the film. DV announced in Dec 2001 that Focus Features (then called USA Films, and later called Universal Focus) was slated to produce the film. Focus also handled the picture’s domestic distribution.
       Carrey stated on the DVD that he received an early version of the script and requested to play Joel, a role that was, as many reviewers favorably noted, a departure from his typically frenetic onscreen persona. In the press notes, Kate Winslet stated that she played the “Jim Carrey part” and vice-versa. The title, as noted by the characters in the film, comes from an eighteenth-century Alexander Pope poem entitled “Eloisa to Abelard.” In it, Eloisa (or Heloïse), a twelfth-century nun who had a famous love affair with the much older philosopher Peter Abelard, envies the nuns whose chastity shields them from love’s suffering. The The Nation review pointed out that Kaufman also referenced the poem in his 1999 feature Being John Malkovich , during which the puppeteer performs Eloisa’s story.
       Kaufman planned the film to necessitate multiple viewings. In press materials, many cast and crew members commented on the director’s flexible, creative approach to filmmaking, in which he often developed concepts while on the set. Budget restraints and Gondry’s aesthetic preferences limited the use of digital special effects, necessitating many of the “effects” to be produced in-camera. For instance, in the DVD's special features Gondry illustrated the forced perspective camera technique and oversized props used in the “kitchen scene” to create the illusion that Carrey was a four-year-old. To portray visually Joel’s crumbling memories, production designer Dan Leigh, director of photography Ellen Kuras and Gondry watched improperly stored film, and approximated the degradation effects. Press notes add that the art department researched real neurosurgical equipment at Mt. Sinai hospital in order to design the memory-erasing headgear.
       The film was shot in New York, including in Yonkers, Williamsburg, Montauk and various New York City locations such as Grand Central Station. Gondry, a Frenchman, spent six months doing location scouting and preparation in order to become familiar with the city. The circus seen in the film was the Ringling Bros. Circus, which paraded their elephants through city streets one night during production. Paul Proch, who drew the sketches in Joel’s notebook, was Kaufman’s former writing partner.
       Sources reported the film’s budget as either $20 or $27 million, and stated that it cost $35 million. As of Nov 2004, DV reported the domestic gross to be more than $34 million. As noted by HR in an Apr 2004 article, the release pattern for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind marked a new direction for independent, “art-house” films. Instead of holding the picture until the winter awards season, Focus elected to release it in Mar and then issue the video/DVD version in the fall. According to the HR article, Focus felt that their bankable stars would keep the performances in the public’s mind until awards season. Universal Studios Home Video released the DVD on 28 Sep 2004. In addition to commentary and interviews with Gondry, Kaufman and Carrey, the DVD featured deleted scenes, several of which address Joel’s breakup with girl friend “Naomi.” On 4 Jan 2005, the studio released a Collector’s Edition DVD with additional extras such as more deleted scenes and a conversation between Winslet and Gondry. The extra scenes revealed that originally the character of “Mary Svevo” was to discover, upon listening to her Lacuna audio tapes, that “Dr. Howard Mierzwiak” had coerced her into having an abortion.
       Reviews were mostly favorable, with some critics lauding the labyrithian plot and others stating that it was difficult to follow. Var called Winslet “terrifically witty, spontaneous and emotionally transparent,” and most reviews praised Carrey for an uncharacteristically restrained performance. In Entertainment Weekly , Winslet referred to the role as her "career high."
       Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was selected as one of AFI’s top ten films of the year and won the National Board of Review's Best Original Screenplay and Special Recognition for Excellence in Filmmaking awards. Charlie Kaufman won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and Winslet received a nomination for Best Actress. Jon Brion received a Grammy award nomination for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, and Kaufman was the runner-up for the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Screenplay award. In addition to many other accolades, the film was nominated for the following Golden Globe awards: Best Motion Picture--Musical or Comedy, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture--Musical or Comedy (Winslet), Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture--Musical or Comedy (Jim Carry) and Best Screenplay--Motion Picture (Kaufman). Kaufman also received the Best Original Screenplay award from the Writers Guild. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Citybeat   18-24 Mar 2004   p. 22.
Daily Variety   4 Dec 2001   p. 1, 30.
Daily Variety   19 Sep 2002.   
Daily Variety   15 May 2003.   
Daily Variety   28 Sep 2004.   
Daily Variety   9 Nov 2004.   
Entertainment Weekly   26 Mar 2004   pp. 50-51.
Entertainment Weekly   25 Jun--2 Jul 2004   p. 60.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Jan 2003.   
Hollywood Reporter   25 Mar 2003.   
Hollywood Reporter   12 Mar 2004.   
Hollywood Reporter   20-26 Apr 2004   pp. 18-19.
Los Angeles Times   19 Mar 2004.   
The Nation   12 Apr 2004.   
New York Times   19 Mar 2004   Weekend, p. 1, 28.
Newsweek   15 Mar 2004   p. 60.
Variety   11 Mar 2004   p. 28.
Variety   15 Mar 2004   p. 38, 48.
WSJ   19 Mar 2004   p. W1, W8.

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