This fabulously imaginative and deliciously loopy romance is the sweetest movie yet from the magnificently twisty mind behind Adaptation, Human Nature, and Being John Malkovich.
Once again Charlie Kaufman plays with the themes of identity, time, memory, and attraction in a slightly off-kilter world that seems oddly homelike and familiar. The movie is tougher, truer, more heart-breaking and then more heart-healing than a video store shelf of Julias, Megs, Reeses, and Sandras.
Joel (Jim Carrey) is a shy man whose heart is broken when impulsive and free-spirited Clementine (Kate Winslet) leaves him. When he finds out that she has arranged to have all of her memories of him erased, he decides to do the same.
It all seems so simple. Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkenson) of the Lacuna corporation is smoothly assuring. When Joel asks if the procedure could cause brain damage, Dr. Mierzwiak cheerily assures him that "Technically, it is brain damage, about on a par with a night of heavy drinking."
All Joel has to do is bring everything from his apartment that reminds him of Clementine and dictate all of his memories of her into a tape recorder. Then Stan (Mark Ruffalo), the Lacuna technician, maps every part of the brain containing a memory of the formerly loved one. That night, while Joel is asleep, Stan will come in and, using the map, erase every memory of Clementine in Joel's brain. Then Mary (Kirsten Dunst), Lacuna's receptionist, mails out postcards to all of Joel's friends asking them never to mention Clementine again, and it's as though he never met her.
But erasing someone from the mind the mind is one thing; erasing someone from the heart is another. As Pascal told us, "The heart has its reasons that reason does not know." Stan zaps...