Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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The best work to date by screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation), this was developed from a story by director Michel Gondry and artist Pierre Bismuth. It has as much challenging originality as its predecessors as well as a more satisfying ending and a keener sense of lived experience. The SF premise has a ring of contemporary truth: emerging from a failed romantic relationship, the hero (a subdued Jim Carrey) discovers that his ex (an aggressive Kate Winslet) has hired a company to erase all her memories of him. He enlists their services too, but technical screwups send him into a kind of temporal free fall in which past and present consciousness bleed together. 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. With Tom Wilkinson, Mark Ruffalo, and Elijah Wood. R, 108 min. Century 12 and CineArts 6, Crown Village 18, Davis, Gardens 7-13, Lake, Pipers Alley, River East 21. (Reviewed this week in Section One.)

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