After more than a decade Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) is still one of my favorite films. I'm gonna be taking a look at a scene that uses editing to support/reinforce certain emotions while being visually pleasing. Let's get into it!
In this scene, Joel (Jim Carrey) is in the middle of his memory erase procedure but he then starts reliving the good memories of his past relationship with Clementine (Kate Winslet).
The first edit we see that signifies a memory being erased is when both Joel and Clementine are under the blankets. This scene is particularly interesting to me because while Joel is reliving a memory, Clementine is recalling one of her memories to him. It's kind of complex and I like it.
As they start kissing, she starts to fade away. Gondry edits a scene of Joel by himself on top of the scene of Joel and Clementine in the bed. For a moment, both images are clear creating a confusing mash of what is going on. As scene with both characters starts to fade out, we get a clear idea of what was just happening. By editing it this way, Gondry lets the audience feel the process Joel is going through while setting up the next sequence.
The next moment in the scene is the one that sticks out to me the most. As Joel is laying next to Clementine on the ice, there's a quick cut to Joel and Clementine laying in the middle of another memory. Since this moment is so close to the last one, it's clear to the audience what happened.
From the moment that Clementine gets pulled into the darkness we get another cut that places Joel back on the frozen pond, but this time alone. In about five seconds (yeah, I totally counted), Gondry has us -- again -- feel exactly what Joel is feeling: powerless and emotional.
I really love this movie. There's so much that could be discussed with this movie, so what do you guys think? Do you think it aged well? Is there something you think I missed? Or are you still in disbelief that this came out eleven years ago? Let me know in the comments below!