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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

This Week at SUMO: Happy-Go-Lucky and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


I saw this movie in August at the Telluride Film Festival, and I’ve just been waiting for it to show in the US: its fantastic and everyone should see it here at SUMO while you can, since I think it is showing mostly at independent theaters.

This is Mike Leigh’s nineteenth film; he makes them in a very unique way, which he explained grumpily and with disdain, like a true snobby artist, to our colloquium. The entire movie is improvised—the cast works to develop their lightly sketched out characters, then they interact as their characters until individual scenes and a story start to unfold. This is a long process, and Leigh doesn’t start filming until every character has been fleshed out, and the scenes that will make up the script are cemented.

I think this method is just a little nuts, but it makes for an incredibly rich, character driven film which centers around Poppy, who is the ultimate optimist. The movie is a joy to watch, and though some of the attendees at the festival thought Poppy’s optimism was obnoxious, I know it’s infectious. Sally Hawkins as Poppy is lovely and endearing, and throws out some of the best expressions I’ve ever heard. It’s a fun film, and a cool glimpse into modern life, and life in London. Though it centers on an ever-happy Poppy, the film does not shy away from going dark and serious—the result is a perfectly well-rounded film that you will adore.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

My roommate says she likes Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and, if you know Marta, you know that for her this is a strong endorsement. I watched the film last night, and I’ll say, with more specifics, and a little more conviction, that it is an extremely well made film that is thought provoking and challenging, as well as sweet.

I watched the film with a Canadian, who wishe to be anonymous, and would like to warn you, Carleton, not to watch this movie under the influence. The Canadian was freaking out enough from the way director Michele Gondry expertly bends time and our senses with his camera and editing. The Canadian also exclaimed “cute!” whenever Elijah Wood got screen time, so I’d take his advice with a grain of salt.

You can, however, rely on the fact that this tale of lovers who undergo a procedure to erase from their minds any memory of each other is creatively crafted and beautifully executed. Almost all of the carzy visuals were created with old-school editing, lighting, and prop techniques, CGI was employed only rarely. Kate Winslet is enchanting, Jim Carrey sympathetic, Kirsten Dunst naïve and heartbreaking, and Elijah Wood oblivious (and cute I guess?) The film, which uses the device of a memory-erasing process to let the story of the lovers’ relationship unfold backwards, never gets too quirky—it has been compared to I Heart Huckabees, but this film is a more heartfelt, whimsical project. I loved it, I’d like to watch it again and again; I think with each viewing I would discover something new and wonderful.

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