It's been a while since I first saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I was lucky enough to see it in the theater with a bunch of folks from the MSN Mobile test team... well, lucky in the sense that work paid for the tickets, but also kind of unlucky because the movie pretty much reduced me to emotional rubble. When it was over, I'd spent about half an hour losing it in the dark, but when we got outside, it was pretty clear that that I was the one responsible for all the snuffling and seriously unpleasant snorting... hard to hide those red eyes in daylight. To my surprise, everyone else from work pretty much intensely hated the movie, thinking it was a boring piece of crap. [I suppose there is some truth to Microsoft employee stereotypes.]
Anyhow, the same damn thing hit me again last night. I can't put my finger on exactly what's so upsetting about that movie... but the first wave of wracking sobs hit in the scene where Joel finds himself searching for humiliating memories. He's playing in the yard with some other children... well, he's actually about to kill a wounded bird with a hammer, and the other children are taunting him. It's awful, and it's horrifying that the other children are yelling at him. Suddenly, after running away, he's an adult again, and then he runs back to finally tell those little bastards off... only to find that it's a memory, that it can't be changed, and to find himself thrown to the ground, hurt, unable to change his own past.
When I'm blue, I find myself thinking too long about times in the past when I've made wrong decisions, about times when I hurt the most and how maybe, just maybe, it would have hurt less if I'd been more myself at the time, better able to say things I meant, less afraid of doing things that would make me truly happy.
But I'll stop here for now. That movie's a thing of beauty... absolutely devastating.
Meet me in Montauk.
[PS. I noticed watching it the second time that Clementine at one point refers to "Mama Carrey" - I'm not sure of the intentions behind it, but for me it was one of those moments that made the fiction even more real, kinda like that part in The Crying of Lot 49 where Pynchon accidentally lets slip that the main character's name could just be Edna Mosh.]