Friday, April 30, 2004

The Eternal Sunshine of agreeing to disagree

Well I suppose it had to happen sooner or later, Sarah and I went to the cinema tonight and came out with completely opposite opinions about the film.

This is not to say I ever believed our tastes were identical, but we’re usually pretty good about knowing which films we’ll both like, which we need to see with other people and which we both need to avoid like the plague.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one that we expected to fall into the first category. I loved it; Sarah, checked the time on her mobile every 15 minutes.

I’ll accept it did need sharper editing, particularly in the central section and that the time shift techniques are hardly new in either film or literature, but despite this I found it a charming, intelligent and engaging film - probably one of the best I have seen for a good while.

Maybe I was predisposed to like it; after all I love the previous work of the write Charlie Kaufman (such as Being John Malkovich and Adaptation) and Michel Gondry (how's your French?) is one of my favourite music video directors. So, OK the jump to feature film is a fairly major one, but like Spike Jonze I think he’s carried it off with aplomb, but then what else would one expect from the guy who transformed the White Stripes into Lego?

On the other hand, I still struggle to feel positive in advance about a Jim Carrey film, who, despite other excellent parts over the years (The Truman Show, Man on the Moon etc), I still have trouble separating from his Liar Liar/Cable Guy type personae. This film should help me get over that prejudice - it’s a cracking performance, probably his best to date.

Tom Wilkinson is another actor for whom I find it hard to shake off past roles. In Eternal Sunshine… he plays the doctor who has pioneered the memory wipe procedure. For me however I still had strong associations of British TV roles and The Full Monty running through my mind whilst he was on screen. I half expected some garden gnomes to start dancing outside his bedroom window!

So what were Sarah’s reasons for dissing the film? Well the primary candidate was “I’d worked out the ending within the first few minutes of the film.”. I countered that this was hardly surprising given that we see the (almost) ending at the start, but this observation was received with a withering look…

Oh,, and apparently the other reason I like the film was “because Kate Winslet’s character’s relationship with hair colour is pretty similar to your own!”.

Best friends can be so cutting at times!

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