7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Directed by Michel Gondry. Written by Charlie Kauffman.
Starring Jim Carey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson, Elijah Wood.
I can't remember another film that broke my heart as much as this one, yet I had the biggest smile on my face when I left the theater. This is one of the films I break out whenever someone starts saying that they don't make them like they used to, as if it were automatically a bad thing. I don't know if you could have made 'Eternal Sunshine...' in 1955, say, without audiences having infarctions right there in their seats.
Or I could be full of crap. I think today's average moviegoer is more sophisticated in the sense that we've seen more filmmakers' tricks than our ancestors. Today's filmgoers, however, are probably not better at critical thinking. No worse, maybe, but certainly not better. The question is, apparently, would a film that demands and rewards our attention as 'Eternal Sunshine...' does have been commercially viable 40, 50, 60 years ago? Or am I shortchanging both yesterday's film fans and filmmakers?
Another thing.... I don't cry at movies because it's not, well, real. I'm sorry, but even the most skillful make-believe just doesn't do it for me. This film, however, is on the short list of ones that might do the trick if I weren't, you know, dead inside.
Trivia moment: Elijah Wood is one of only two actors to star in two of my top ten films. You've met the other guy and I'll reveal who it is when the time comes.