For a student of film, which officially I still am, I can say that I am not obsessive about the medium I love. I can go for a while without seeing a movie, and somehow function just fine. I never feel like I am going cold turkey or giving up something essential. I think that is how I have kept film relevant and magical all these years, despite the academic interest and involvement. I can still approach it as the ultimate of immersions and escapes and forget about the mind element, allowing me to look with fresh, not fatigued, eyes at every film I see.
Endless Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
strikes a deep chord of relevance in the heart of the hurt.
Who of us has not wished to overcome the huge burden of sadness that a loss (especially the loss of a lover) leaves us with, who has not cursed the moment we met someone, or the day they were born, not out of hate, but out of profound pain?
So it is an especially seductive notion that is presented by Charlie Kaufmann and his collaborators - the idea of being able to go to sleep and to erase the memory of a relationship gone bad. And though this notion might quickly run our to steam, the particular brand of narrative structural virtuosity which has become the Kaufmann hallmark, and here finally comes together in it's fullest manifestion, makes this quite a fulfilling intellectual and for the first time, emotional experience.
In previous Kaufmann films (as we can now assuredly call them - his work having been realized now by more than one director - maintaining the particular Kaufmann spirit through and through) it was never any question that we are up against a profound talent, whose sense of contemporary structural theory was innate and whose combination of dramatic (and comic) vision was distinct. But Adaptation
and Being John Malkovtich
though good intellectual ticklers, lost it about 2/3 of the way through and for lack of new brain teasing ideas, fell apart in an absurd way and most sadly, left me cold.
Not only cold, but almost disdainful. It wasn't that they didn't exude respect, they did, but they also ended up trying sooooo hard, that they seemed to me absurdly empty, more trick films than real statements, despite many delightful moments.
Not so with this one.
Maybe it's the fact the he has put Spike Jonze behind him. Maybe it's the great cast of actors who give it there all, maybe it's just the 3rd time lucky (and I know this is really the fourth, but Human Nature
was by no means an A film like the other two), no matter what the reason, this one seems to have done it: creating a film that is both mind bending, structurally pleasing intellectual teaser AND a film with deep emotional resonance.
Carry finally almost nearly makes the grade of breaking through the wall of being himself, putting a performance of subdued depth and sensitivity and Kate Winslet brings together that unique brand of full bodied smart modern woman potential that was always an integral part of her appeal and here really becomes a central palpable pilar of the film.