For me, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004) is one of the very best films of the 21st century so far. To what genre does it belong? How about Science Fiction-Drama-Thriller-Romantic Comedy? The film was written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry. It is about an estranged couple, played by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, who have erased each other from their memories. The excellent supporting cast includes Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, and Tom Wilkinson. The title of the film is a quotation from the poem Eloisa To Abelard (1777) by Alexander Pope.
It won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and Winslet received BAFTA Award and Academy Award nominations. Carrey and Winslet both received Golden Globe nominations. Kaufman was BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated and he won The National Board of Review and Writers Guild awards for Best Screenplay.
To make Carrey, an actor known for his manic roles, play a restrained character, Gondry prevented him from improvising, a restriction he did not place on the other cast members. Carrey was not happy about this. Gondry put Carrey off balance by rolling the camera at the wrong time, believing this would make Carrey forget what he should do to be in character. In the compelling Netflix documentary Jim & Andy: (2017) Carrey talks about a conversation with Gondry a full year before shooting began and shortly after Carrey had a breakup with a girlfriend. Gondry countered that Carrey’s emotional state at the time was “so beautiful, so broken” that he asked him to stay that way for one year to fit the character. In the documentary, Carrey says:
“That’s how fucked up this business is.”