dir. Michel Gondry
Whenever I go through a breakup, like most any other disgustingly self-pitying person, I'll try to make myself feel worse: sad songs usually get the job done. Certainly ain't nothing like a good cry. What is it about feeling worse that feels better?
One thing, however, that I've always attempted but have never been able to put myself through post-breakup is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. When this movie first came out, I saw it at least five times. I couldn't get enough of it. I reveled in the typically clever Charlie Kaufman plot, biting humor, whimsical effects, and—what I assumed must have been—realistic depiction of the many stages of a relationship. You see, up until that point, I had no way of knowing what a relationship would entail because I was what you'd call a late bloomer.
When I finally did experience love and loss, when I first tried to console my heartache with sad songs (nature's onions) and other such nonsense, I thought, well I gotta watch Eternal Sunshine; that'll really get the waterworks flowing. On the way from the shelf to the DVD player, however, I started remembering the movie; I started relating it to my life. I realized just how incisive was its portrayal of a doomed relationship. Everything was so pitch perfect: the inital flutters, the falling for each other, the becoming overly familiar, the settling into a routine, the ensuing ennui, the loss of passion and eventual detachment. And finally, the end. (All in reverse, of course—because Kaufman, as I stated before, clever.)
Did I really wanna do this? Yeah, there's having a good cry, and then there's needlessly putting myself through the ringer. I put it off. I'll watch it another time, I thought. And so, with successive breakups I would go through the same routine, and never would I have the guts to put myself through this film.
I'm sure Eternal Sunshine is still a great movie. I just don't know when I'll watch it again.
Oh yeah, as for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind's trailer—you know, the ostensible reason I posted this piece—it's real durn good. I can't embed it but you can watch it here.