Logan Kenny’s review published on Letterboxd:
Today, I listened to an album I hadn't heard in nearly two years. I don't know why I was motivated to listen to it after so long but I did. I put it on and immediately started to fall back in love with it. The singing, production and the power of the album enthralled me. Then I remembered why I hadn't listened to it for so long. It was the album I played right after my parents told me that they were getting divorced. I remember using as a form of coping, attempting to get lost in the music to forget about the current scenario. i still do that a lot now. I remember how much I sobbed, the anger and disbelief I felt. I wanted to just fucking scream. When I heard it, all of the emotions of that night came rushing back and I burst into tears in the middle of my room. I let the album continue and with each subsequent song, my tears increased. I didn't understand why. i have progressed from that night, I'm not sad anymore about it. I have got used to it and like my life but that piece of music links back to the scared 12 year old who couldn't cope.
Memories are so crucial to who we are. the experiences we have shape us and change us. I developed as a human being from that night. That was the night I grew up and left childhood ignorance properly behind. Things like these consume my thoughts. Just he little insignificant moments send my brain into a spiral filled with forgotten memories. I read something that clicks in my head and hundreds of thoughts can construct in my brain, piecing together moments from my past. It is funny to me how most of the big events in my past have mostly faded but the little things stick in my mind. In primary school (I have no clue what the american equivalent is but here it is from the ages 5 to 11) I barely recall the moments that drove younger me into frenzies. I remember the tiny fractures of days, nothing really complete. I remember the fantasies I created in class to help stomach the boredom. Some days, i get a rush of flashbacks, a lot consumed by regrets and mistakes I've made. Sometimes, when they happen I get angry at myself. They are all in the past and no one in the memories really matter to me anymore, but the impact they once had continues to resonate within.
Bad things have happened in my life but without them, i wouldn't be the person I am. I'm more scared of the possibility of dementia than I am actually dying. your memories make you who you are. Without them, who are you really? The only film that challenges these ideas of one of the greatest films ever made, eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. A film that taps into all of these emotions I just described. the little objects, the little moments are what Joel focuses on as he goes through his constantly fading memories, sure there are the dramatic flashes but Eternal Sunshine is a film about a human being. No human being in existence has big dramatic moments be the entirety of our recollections. Most of the time, the moments we experience are average or things that could be considered unremarkable to others. eternal Sunshine is a film about a failed relationship and a desperate attempt to overcome the grief inflicted by it. Both of the main characters Joel and Clementine go through this procedure. Clementine goes through the procedure first and when Joel finds out, he gets it done as well. The majority of the film takes place inside of Joel's head as the procedure takes place. But as it is happening, he realises how much he loves her and how much these little memories mean to him. The beach where they met, the apartment where they lived together, the conversations and the looks on her face. All of these positive emotions that are fading away and he can't do anything to stop it. He didn't realise how much these meant to him because he was focused on the present.
People have frequently said to me that I should stop dwelling on the past, the past is done. Live in the present. But without the reflections I have on who I was, what I did and all of those things, i realise that I need to look back. Not out of regrets or mistakes but out of happiness. No matter how bad they were, currently in my life I realise that forgetting all of the positive shit I did with my parents because of how it ended, would be horrible. Back in 2014, I was like Joel. In some respects, i still am. with every viewing, eternal Sunshine affects me more and more. Currently it is my second favourite film of all time but as I grow older, I can see it becoming my favourite. Time as well as making your life progress, makes these wounds heal. The anger and misery Joel felt eventually would have faded. But they didn't because Joel couldn't cope with the momentary pain. Which I really fucking relate to. As my life progresses, things will get hard for me. I am a socially awkward bisexual autistic person and the world is a cruel place. Bad things are doomed to happen to me because bad things happen to everyone. i know I will feel worse pain than I ever have. I know that life will drag me down at points. But all I need to do when this shit is going on and all I want to do is erase the hurt, is watch this film. Because it is everything I've ever needed.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is the best film Charlie Kaufman has ever been involved in, contains career best performances from both of its leads and is the film I watch when I feel like fucking shit. This film despite being science fiction, is the most real cinema will ever get for me. That makes everything in life worth it. Really sorry for this one. I am so repetitive and filled with bullshit. This is likely garbage and is definitely filled with typos, but hopefully you got something out of this. If not, go read the other Personal Essays, they are all better.