Box art for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

comedy, drama


Joel (Jim Carrey) is stunned to discover that his girlfriend, Clementine (Kate Winslet), has had their tumultuous relationship erased from her mind.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    93%
  • Audience Score
    94%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Language
4 out of 5
Positive messages
1 out of 5
Sex
3 out of 5
Violence
0 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5

Imaginative, loopy romance has mature themes, profanity.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND is a 2004 movie that explores the oft-stated idea that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. There is frequent profanity throughout the film; the F-word, among others, is used quite a bit. Characters are often shown drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes and marijuana. In one scene, a woman stumbles into the apartment of her boyfriend after drunkenly driving his car into a fire hydrant. In another scene, a man is arguing with his girlfriend about how he likes to get high on marijuana to balance out being drunk. These scenes, and the general theme of preserving memories in spite of the pain they cause in the aftermath of a failed relationship, make this film best for mature teens and adults.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about which memories they might think about erasing and which ones they will always make sure to keep. They might also like to look up the meaning of the word "lacuna," talk about some of their favorite quotations, and read some of the brilliant poetry of Alexander Pope.
  • How is the nature of memory explored and shown throughout the film? Does the disjointed nature of some of the scenes mirror your own attempts to remember moments from your life?
  • Did the drug and alcohol use in the movie seem gratuitous or a realistic reflection of what these adult characters did in their lives?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: There is little charm in the coupling and almost no erotic intimacy, just a series of nerve-racking conversational collisions.

- Andrew Sarris, New York Observer, Thursday, March 25, 2004

Fresh: The perfect movie about love's inevitable imperfections.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, March 19, 2004

Fresh: The result is a cinematic vagueness that makes the film less aesthetic yet more persuasive. This is how dreams really look: like reality, only less so.

- Christopher Orr, The Atlantic, Friday, May 30, 2014

Audience Reviews

2 stars

I had difficulty watching this bizarre, yet creative romantic sci-fi tale. Jim Carrey's acting is impressive. He's much more than the rubber-faced comedian who catapulted to success in the 90s. The scene in which Carrey becomes his 4 year old self is terrifically creative- acting,writing, and directing. Also, taking into account this and her performance in The Reader, Kate Winslet is as good an actress as there is. The rest of the cast is excellent as well, especially Elijah Wood, surprisingly adept as the unlikeable, manipulative creep. This film is thought-provoking, I believe primarily for critics and film insiders. I just didn't enjoy it. Here's a key statement: "I wish I'd stayed, I wish I'd done a lot of things." He's got regrets, so do we all. As painful as life's memories can be, I'm glad I have them. This type of technology would be wrong.

- clintervin, Thursday, February 7, 2013

2 stars

I had difficulty watching this bizarre, yet creative romantic sci-fi tale. Jim Carrey's acting is impressive. He's much more than the rubber-faced comedian who catapulted to success in the 90s. The scene in which Carrey becomes his 4 year old self is terrifically creative- acting,writing, and directing. Also, taking into account this and her performance in The Reader, Kate Winslet is as good an actress as there is. The rest of the cast is excellent as well, especially Elijah Wood, surprisingly adept as the unlikeable, manipulative creep. This film is thought-provoking, I believe primarily for critics and film insiders. I just didn't enjoy it. Here's a key statement: "I wish I'd stayed, I wish I'd done a lot of things." He's got regrets, so do we all. As painful as life's memories can be, I'm glad I have them. This type of technology would be wrong.

- clintervin, Thursday, February 7, 2013

4 stars

A shy young man finds that his ex girlfriend has physically erased their relationship from her memory and decides to follow suit. Featuring a screenplay by the king of quirky Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine is that rarest of beasts; a Hollywood film that is smart, creative and above all, original. Visually very inventive, there are some really nice touches throughout the film often used with great subtlety in the background and it's a very intelligent deconstruction (literally) of a relationship and it's decline. Kate Winslet is every over-educated under-achieving heterosexual man's wet dream (particularly if you have a penchant for neurotic booze hounds with bad dye jobs...*ahem*) and Carrey is at his least irritating, offering by far his best performance. Despite having one foot in the fantastical, it's a very insightful and well observed story that most will be able to relate to, essentially covering everyone's unwavering ability to see nothing but the bad while in a relationship with someone, yet nothing but the good when not. Wonderfully written, brilliantly directed and a real breath of fresh within a genre that's usually mired in treacle, this is a chick flick that the men-folk can enjoy too.

- garyX, Wednesday, February 6, 2013