Doctor,will you fix my broken heart?

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!

The world forgetting by the world forgot

Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind!

each prayer accepted,and each prayer resigned.

(Alexander Pope,Eloisato Abelard,quoted byMary in EternalSunshine)


Just imagine.Oneday you go to meet your lover at her workplace to sort things out after the clash between two of you last night.But suprisingly that day, she acts as if she doesn’t know you at all,and responds to you like a total stranger meeting for the first time.She doesn’t really remembers you and to make the matters worst, you come to know that she has deleted you including every memories,moments relevant to you through the help of a medical procedure where they provide you the commercial service of deleting any people,their memories, from your brain.She doesn’t know it but your friends do.You come to know why she deleted you from her memories.So, with broken heart and a subtle feel of vengence,you decide to do the same she did,delete her(totally forget her) with that scientifc “procedure”.Wouldn’t it be great! to save youself from clinging into those old memories that are so hurtful and use those technological advancement to stay happy by deleting undesired memories esp. related to any person?

Maybe give a second thought,if your answer is YES.

From your approval and determination,some young medical procedure proffesionals come at your apartment with required gadgets and start to delete her from your “brain map” while you are in deep sleep.The process of deleting her through every memories of her starts to head towards verge of destruction as the “procedure” begins throughout your sleep state.But,suddenly, you realize during the deletion process that you do not want her to be eliminated from your memory.You realize you want her and like her more when retrospecting the memories that seems to be beautiful now,and want to preserve at least one of the memory of her so that you can remember her when you wake up,as you really love her.But,you keep running away with her in your sleep to hide her to somewhere safe in your memories as the “doctors” on procedure keep deleting every memories you have of her.You can’t even wake up during the procedure since the drugs has sedated you and doctors won’t let,you totally can’t until the “procedure” is completed.They don’t know that you are struggling to save her from not being deleted continually through the “brain map”.You just want so much to remember HER when you wake up and you realize your decision to delete her was a mistake, a decision so impulsive that you struggle during the “procedure” to keep her safe in any memories(even childhood memories). Tears roll down from your eyes while you sleep as every memories of her is being deleted and all you can do is run from memories to memories to hide her so that the “procedure” can’t trace you in the “brain map”.You want to preserve at least one of the memories of her.You don’t want to forget her now.


However,even if you can’t or can imagine this state,”Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind” is the film where its plot revolves around the above situation with certain themes,with a strong and original screenplay by Charlie Khauffman(Being JohnMalkovich) and directed by Michel Gondry(The science of Sleep).And personally,the best cinematography in any Gondry movies.

Starring my personal favourite Jim Carrey( reprising a role I hadn’t expected him to see in),Kate Winslet(Titanic),and so on,.the movie starts with Carrey as Joel who wakes up on Valentines Day morning in his bed ,confused.He skips work and takes a Long Island railroad to Montauk without knowing why he is going there. He walks the snow-covered beaches noticing the figure of the, then, unknown Clementine, whom he sees again moments later in a diner by the beach. Their first encounter as per them within the film takes place at the Montauk train station, while they both await the return train. She is drawn to him and fall in love with each other after a funny,reluctant conversation.But,as the movie progresses we come to realize that they are actually lovers for a long time.

My thoughts on the film

I guess a memory can be memorised in a different pespective.Sometimes we laugh remembering one event whereas sometimes the same event is interpreted in another sense.Memories are distorted,so is it useful to delete them for just one reasonable cause while it exists for many?


The opportunity and hope about the prospects of technology to improve human happiness is reflected through the character of Mary, who considers there to be value in memory deletions. As she remarks when witnessing the procedure: ‘It’s amazing…what Howard [Dr Mierzwiak] gives to the world…to let people begin again…it’s beautiful….Howard just makes it all go away’. Mary portrays the optimism of those who argue on behalf of enhancement technologies. Yet, she ultimately comes to symbolize the stupidness of these views since, upon finding herself an participant in a memory deletion procedure herself to forget she loved Dr.Howard.

In the movie,memories are displayed as small dots within regions on the brain scan, rather like individual bit spaces within a computer’s hard-drive that are being monitored by doctors(quite young) but are our memories of others merely in our physical interactions with them?Maybe or may not.The answer to these is absurd in the sense when Joel and Clementine are destined to meet even after the procedure,taking heart or something still undefined characteristics as medium for them being destined to be together and also in the case of “Mary and doctor Howard”.


In the world of Eternal Sunshine, where it is possible to delete unwanted memories, it also becomes clear that people are generally capable of overcoming the trauma of those memories of their own violation.Eternal Sunshine attempts to derive clear limits to the role of medicine and probably leaves us with an answer to seek alternative ways of dealing with suffering and accept that happiness doesn’t merely constitute the absence of ensuring a life free from suffering. Even where medication might make our lives better, we would suffer at the hands of technology from being deprived of characteristics that make us human. I guess the movie can be interpreted in both ethical and philosophical sense or maybe about the presence of love in heart, or something yet not visible to us. There are certain nostalgic trips and vibes in several sequences of the film, especially the one where it starts to rain while tiny Joel is under table. Also,it might be also about how love can’t exist without compromises, accepting each others few faults and differences but I’m still not in a position to expand on this point since I’ve never been in relationships. I’m like a isolated Joel taking impulsive trip to Montauks with many Clementine I come across who fade away after an instant gaze.

Few more little thoughts…

I prefer the portrayal of dream states far more better and quite near in films like eternal sunshine and science of sleep more than Inception. The main reason is beacuse dream states on such films are  emotionally stirring.In eternal sunshine,though its more like a trip to memory lane the scenes are almost like close to dreams,they are emotionally stimulating,nostalgic and the transitions are very symbolic.


The scene where Joel walks away from Celemntine after she doesnt recognise him in book shop consists of a blackout appearing in background while he instantly reaches his friends home and it symbolises the feeling of certain dark void emotion we experience when we come across such situations. The movie being a mix of love story and sci-fi, the mood created by the film through Joels voiceover and shots taken in practical locations,moody lonely feel provides the screenplay superb collaboration of makers to make it come to screen.I am very glad the script fell on hands of Michael Gondy,and as always ,Charlie Khauffmans screenplays are very personal,existential and has many elements that are relateable if you have ever felt something similar in certain situations about stuffs he writes about. Overall,its a sci-fi too and industries like Lacuna would have good effects in context of PTSD patients and others ,but well noone can answer for sure.

For me,Eternal sunshine is a beautiful movie,emotionally stirring in visual sense ,thematic elements and a very reflective one which I am sure will stand the taste of time. Whether in a relationship or someone who still has his own lonely trips to their own Montauks,I feel its a must see for a dose of a truly good movie.


Jabin Karki


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