Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 2004

Critics score:
93 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: What's lacking is what the movie is ostensibly about: the heart that so often leads us to fall in love with the wrong people at the wrong time. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: A thoughtful, audacious meditation on love and relationships that finds a group of wildly disparate talents clicking together in perfect unison. Read more

Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times: The hiccups and eccentricities that define a Kaufman script -- the anguished neuroses, the narrative kinks -- are firmly in the service of a touching love story, not the other way around. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: A happy collision of cutting-edge writer, stars up for a challenge and a director with a taste for the symbolic. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: It's a trippy but tender examination of human emotions, relationships, all-consuming love. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: It's a scruffy, blurry puzzle to put together, and well worth the effort -- just be sure to clear a tabletop for it in your mind. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: The latest and loveliest alternative universe created by Charlie Kaufman, America's most -- we should probably say only -- intellectually provocative screenwriter. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Audacious, thought-provoking and ruefully funny. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: There is little charm in the coupling and almost no erotic intimacy, just a series of nerve-racking conversational collisions. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: At its core, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind could have been just another love story. Refracted through Kaufman's wonderfully weird prism, it's something truly memorable. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind goes by like a fevered dream of love, but one you remember vividly, with profound pleasure. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: ... a strange, sometimes confusing and often brilliant black comedy. Read more

Steve Murray, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: As techno-wacky and surreal as the movie gets, what gives it a genuine, beating heart is Kaufman's insight about relationships. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: A surprisingly bittersweet love story at heart, Eternal Sunshine values the sum of experience, which in this case means a thorns-and-all openness to romantic possibilities. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Hectic, muffled, maddeningly near-brilliant. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: Brilliantly constructed and engagingly executed, this has quite a few tricks up its sleeve -- the most impressive being that all concerned trim their talents to the particular needs of the movie. Read more

Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune: You constantly appreciate Kaufman's intelligence and Gondry's lively filmmaking. Read more

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle: This mind-bender is both funny and touchingly romantic. Read more

Paul Clinton (, In addition to matching Kaufman's wild imagination with equally startling visuals, Gondry has also managed to get the best, most mature and sharply focused performance ever from Jim Carrey. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: A loving, often rigorous look at love gone awry. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: May be the first movie I've seen that bends your brain and breaks your heart at the same time. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: It's giddy and groundbreaking, a feast for the head and the heart. Read more

John Powers, L.A. Weekly: As a friend joked, 'If you peel away the movie's postmodern tricks, what you're left with is about as profound as a Hugh Grant movie.' Read more

John Anderson, Newsday: Ingenious, eccentric and very moving. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: Do you feel clever, punk? Well, do you? Because that's the only way to get your head around the latest Charlie Kaufman flick. Read more

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture: It's the kind of film that could mean more to people after they've left the theater and thought about it awhile. Read more

Lisa Rose, Newark Star-Ledger: Gondry still lags behind Jonze in rendering cohesive stories and human connection from Kaufman's adventures in self-analysis. Read more

Jack Mathews, New York Daily News: A masterpiece? Probably. Ingenious? Absolutely! Unforgettable? I'll see you at the 10th-year anniversary. Read more

Elvis Mitchell, New York Times: Michel Gondry's angular and intelligent romantic comedy isn't entirely consistent. Even as you laugh, it's a movie you admire more than love. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: A unique romantic comedy, unfettered by the normal expectations of the genre, is a rare and wondrous thing. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Despite jumping through the deliberately disorienting hoops of its story, Eternal Sunshine has an emotional center, and that's what makes it work. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: A remarkable film that can coax a smile about making the same mistakes in love and then sneak up and quietly break your heart. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, The disappointment I felt at the end of Eternal Sunshine was almost crushing, simply because there were sections of it that were as daring in their emotional directness as anything I've seen in years. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: The thinking is shallow. The emotions are tepid. But the creativity is dazzling. Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: This is the best movie I've seen in a decade. For once it's no hyperbole to say, 'Unforgettable!' Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: One of the deepest, most moving dramas in years. Read more

Christopher Orr, The Atlantic: The result is a cinematic vagueness that makes the film less aesthetic yet more persuasive. This is how dreams really look: like reality, only less so. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: The twists here are the rare sort that seem both narratively surprising and emotionally engaging, particularly the one that boxes us into this interrogative corner. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Gets it more than right by stripping the science down to its laptop basics -- it's a 'simple' memory-erasing process -- and by putting greater emphasis on the humanity behind the diodes. Read more

Jessica Winter, Time Out: Works marvel after marvel in expressing the bewildering beauty and existential horror of being trapped inside one's own addled mind, and in allegorising the self-preserving amnesia of a broken but hopeful heart. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: A poignant story set in a clever plot amidst exceptional performances. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: If films about coping with memory loss and/or reverse-order storytelling now constitute a mini-genre, then pic is arguably the best of the lot. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: Deft, witty, and vastly enjoyable. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: The perfect movie about love's inevitable imperfections. Read more

Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post: Neither wholly cynical nor wholly romantic, Kaufman's story is a balance of smarts and sentiment. Read more