I did a post on my new blog tonight about Eternal Sunshine, since I watched it over the weekend, but I felt a little disjointed while writing it, so I want to put some more digital ink to digital paper.
In writing that post, I got locked up a little bit reading things online about the movie. In particular, about events in the script that weren't used and scenes that were eventually cut from the film. In one scene, Mary (Kirsten Dunst) has returned to the Lacuna office after finding out that she had undergone the memory-erasing procedure and starts listening to the tape. This much is in the movie. There is a deleted scene where she's listening to the tape and it reveals that she had an abortion. The scene itself (which is included in the DVD set) isn't particularly strong; she listens to it, gasps, rewinds the tape, and listens to it again. It's a heavy-handed moment in a film otherwise built on subtlety and nuance. I can see why they cut it. But knowing that it was a deleted scene, is it still part of the story?
Likewise, it is said that an alternate version of the script shows Clementine (Kate Winslet) at the end of the movie, going back to Lacuna again only to find Mary behind the desk again (she had quit earlier in the film). Apparently Mary revealed to Clementine that she had continually been going back to Lacuna to erase Joel (Jim Carrey) time and time again. How much can we take from that when discussing the movie? The movie leaves it open-ended, though I was talking to Jenny about the final moments before the credits, Clementine and Joel are running along what I take to be the snowy Montauk beach, and as they run away from the camera there is a sudden jump-cut to the middle of their run and a second jump-cut just before the screen fades to white. Is that a sign?
Eternal Sunshine is an interesting case of, to misappropriate a phrase, the book reading you. It is often commented about the movie that how people read it or consider its ending really tells a lot about the individual making the statement.
I want to believe that fate did not play a determining role in Eternal Sunshine. I want to believe that Joel, though he is quiet and reserved and at times not very likable, is something of an everyman and that his resistance to the erasing was not a superhuman power-of-love reaction.
To that end, I want to explain a little bit about my position. Considering they work anti-chronologically, and the negative emotions occurred mostly near the end, then by the time you've reached the middle you have lost the negative memories and just about anyone would react in a fashion more or less similar to Joel. Joel opens his eyes twice. The first time goes undetected by the Lacuna operators, but the second occurs with Dr. Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson) present. He notices that it was unusual that Joel could open his eyes, but it was not particularly problematic, as he gave Joel a drug injection to keep him under.
Okay, at this point I really need to get sleepin' so I can get back out there tomorrow. Maybe I'll post more somewhat disjointed stuff here before posting back again on the other blog. I'm trying to keep the quality of writing at a higher-than-casual level, but I'm a little frustrated that my subjects keep coming back to (if I'm a little hard on myself) a sort of self-indulgent level.
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