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Eternal Sunshine Redux

When I first saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind I thought I was seeing it under the absolute worst circumstances, but after re-watching it last night, I think I may have seen it under the best possible circumstances. When I watched it again this time, it didn’t pack as much of a punch. I still loved it, but the parts I thought were so meaningful before now seem less so, and in some cases I realize I even misremembered parts. I had made connections based on my own feelings and experiences and now, under less emotional circumstances, I see that many of those connections aren’t even there. Lines are different than I remembered them being. Moments are less powerful than I remember them. Last time the line that choked me up most was “I still thought you were going to save me, even after all of that.” This time it felt flat, but the line “I’m so ashamed” gutted me. And I’m sure it had a lot to do with the fact that I was not, this time, sitting a few feet away from the one person I would MOST like to erase from my memory.

Cinetrix recently posted about the film and she was most affected by the line “You were so rude, as if we were already lovers.” So when I watched it this time I was waiting for that line, and was surprised when it came–she misremembered too. The line is actually “You were so intimate, as if we were already lovers.” But Clem’s action was rude–she took a piece of chicken off Joel’s plate after just meeting him, and he interpreted this as “intimate.” So Cinetrix’s memory made its own connection there too, and literalized what was merely suggested.

These tricks of memory happen all the time, I’m sure, but this film is about memories… my head is spinning.

7 Responses to “Eternal Sunshine Redux”

  1. cinetrix
    December 12th, 2004 | 2:47 pm

    Shit, really? Because I scribbled it down on my second, solo viewing before popping it back in the mail. Weird.

  2. cynthia rockwell
    December 12th, 2004 | 2:51 pm

    i rewound and rewound to make sure! unless, as i suspected at first, i was watching a different version than was in the theater…things seemed so slightly off throughout the film that i honestly wondered if this was some new director’s cut.

  3. guy
    December 12th, 2004 | 4:49 pm

    hey! what’s rude about eating someone else’s food off their plate?!

  4. cynthia rockwell
    December 12th, 2004 | 4:58 pm

    well, when it’s a stranger it’s a bit rude. (they had just met.) and in
    context, joel said that she took it without waiting for him to say it
    was okay. grabbing food off strangers’ plates…yeah i’d say that’s
    rude. though “rude” is not always a bad thing.

  5. snjoseph
    December 12th, 2004 | 8:17 pm

    “You were so rude” is a enormously better line than “you were so intimate.”

  6. cynthia rockwell
    December 12th, 2004 | 8:34 pm

    indeed! she re-imagined it much better. i do that all the time–i think
    we all do, taking cues from something in a film or book or experience
    or whatever and reconstructing it in our heads for the fullest meaning.
    and then when we see that film again, it’s so disappointing. i think
    i’m moving dangerously close to some literary theory…the reader’s
    production of meaning, it takes a poet to read poetry, etc…

  7. vernica
    December 13th, 2004 | 10:21 am

    It was really strange reading this post today, as I watched the movie (for the first time) over the weekend … I preferred the phrasing “You were so intimate” actually — although I suppose rudeness and intimacy can be interchangeable in many cases.