The unfolding of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind follows a melancholically exasperated man named Joel Barish and a quirkily mysterious woman named Clementine Kruczynski who engage in a passionate yet overwhelmingly intricate and incompatible relationship. From its modest beginning at a beach party to the dejected ending, their relationship blooms and simultaneously crumbles over two years. It is revealed that Clementine had memory erasure to forget her prior lack-luster life with Joel. This in turn decays Joel’s wounded spirit and he too undergoes the same surgical procedure to forget Clementine. However, midway through the procedure, Joel begins to regret his impulsive and rather uncharacteristic decision after a sequence of tender memories he suppressed over the year to cope with losing Clementine began to play in the form of flashbacks. The memories newly refreshed memories he desperately wanted to let go of signified that his past will always culminate in who he is in the end and is an important incentive in continuing to build who he will be in the future and that one cannot simply move on without the implications of inevitable loss and the ceasing of the existence of cherished memories.
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In relation back to Metaphysics; the central theories pertinent to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind's plot can be attributed to existence and consciousness which determine that consciousness is the axiomatic faculty by which we perceive that things exist and you can’t logically deny your mind’s existence at the same time that you are using your mind to do the denying. In this way, existence is also axiomatic and states that since it is primary and consciousness is secondary, there can be no consciousness without something existing to perceive.
Throughout the movie, both Joel and Clementine exemplify the process of searching for one’s true self whilst juggling the search for the definition of their true character in conjunction with each other’s entrenched expectations. Joel recognizes that memories make us who we are and that they are integral to our true authenticity, no matter how painful or damaging they were to encounter. Because Joel is shy and uninspired when it comes to life, meeting Clementine illustriously opened the gates of his mind to new possibilities and enticing occurrences by pointing out that life is what you make of it. When comparing the prominent settings in the film, it is notably evident that Clementine is a beacon of free spirit and liberation. Elements of her personality shine through at the beginning of the movie, such as her apartment that is disastrously messy but wholesomely engulfing in waves of unconditional love; a reflection of Clementine’s true persona and love. Joel on the other hand embodies a more drab and seemingly boring persona where his personality is quite closed off and standoffish from the rest of the world; reflecting his inspiration and lack of invigoration.
The journey to find the existence and consciousness of both of their kindred spirits leads them to solely focus on the superficiality and surface-level attraction towards one another; foregoing the desire and capacity to dig deeper as a means of both coping with their short-comings in self-identity and self-acceptance. Towards the end of the movie, all this in turn proves to both Clementine and Joel that love is imperfect because we are imperfect.
In conclusion. Human behavior is derivative of our emotions and our preconceived notions and the impediments that arise in relationships do not signify its importance or its doomed. Even though the majority of the relationships within the movie are broken and incomplete, it tells us that while love can be challenging and end in distraught-riddled ways, it is worth fighting for and holding on to with the right person despite all the setbacks as we must learn to love not only ourselves but as well as others regardless and strive to learn to take the pain that may come with choosing love in the hope we can manifest something utterly unique and unparalleled.