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  • Writer's pictureRKPROST

Memories of Love

The film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, attempts to show the joy one can feel if one could erase the negative experiences from the mind. This movie sheds light on how love and memory influence and act upon one another. Humans tend to remember the experiences, which bring pleasure rather than dwell on the painful ones. Joel and Clementine embrace the wonderful moments together, making it seem as if the sun will shine on them forever.

Throughout Joel’s memory erasure procedure, he viewed his relationship with Clem in retrospect. One aspect of the film I wish the audience could have experienced is seeing how Clem interprets the same memories when Lacuna erased them from her. When Joel wakes up after the procedure, it seems as though Lacuna did not erase his subconscious. Day writes, “The tapes don’t return Joel’s and Clementine’s memories to them, but they do, of course, return to Joel and Clem the fact of their having a past together, as well as a picture of that past” (Day 148). Clem cautions that she may lose interest in Joel, and their relationship with each other may go awry. However, Joel accepts her flaws because he recognizes creating amazing memories with her is worth the anguish. Their bond reminds me of On-Again/Off-Again relationship.

The nature of human beings is to repeat pleasurable experiences even if there is a possibility of a negative outcome. Maybe Joel and Clem will establish a more secure relationship, or perhaps this pattern of continually coming back to each other is inescapable for them. Day states, “But just as there is a contrast between a freedom from memories (Lacuna’s promise) and a freedom through memories, so there is a difference between how Joel and Clementine’s past is returned to them in a film and how we return their past to them” (Day 150). Eternal Sunshine asks the question of whether or not one would take the chance to erase the memories of another person? The film suggests wiping someone from one’s mind does not do much good. People wander in and out of one’s life to convey a message, or lesson like no one else could have. Regardless of whether Joel or Clem reunite or part ways in the end, they grew wiser because of their shared experiences together.

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