Film: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Director: Michel Gondry
Writer: Charlie Kaufman
After Joel finds out that Clementine has erased him from her memory and he goes to her workplace and she doesn’t recognize him he decides to get the same procedure done. While the erasing process is underway and he is seeing the memories he has of her just before they disappear forever he realizes that he doesn’t want to go through with it. But, because he is asleep while it is happening he cannot do anything to stop it. At first he tries to hide with Clementine in places she doesn’t belong but in the end it doesn’t work. Clementine advises Joel to just enjoy the memories as long as they are there. Finally we arrive at the bookstore scene. Joel goes looking for Clementine at her workplace after the first time they met. She sort of assumes that he is in a relationship and makes clear that she isn’t going to be the other woman. After giving him a short but powerful speech they reminisce about how that second meeting went and Joel admits that he wishes they could do it all over again. Clementine suggest that Joel should try to find her when he wakes up after the procedure.
What makes it great.
Clementine: Look man, I’m telling you right off the bat, I’m high-maintenance, so… I’m not gonna tip-toe around your marriage, or whatever it is you’ve got goin’ there. If you wanna be with me, you’re with me.
Clementine: Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind; don’t assign me yours.
Joel: I remember that speech really well.
Clementine: I had you pegged, didn’t I?
Joel: You had the whole human race pegged.
Clementine: Hmm. Probably.
Joel: I still thought you were gonna save my life… even after that.
Clementine: Ohhh… I know.
Joel: It would be different, if we could just give it another go-round.
Clementine: Remember me. Try your best; maybe we can.
This exchange is what makes this scene perfect. Michel Gondry is a very talented director but this scene is so good because of Charlie Kaufman’s writing and Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey’s acting. It’s beautiful, sad and hopeful at the same time. Sad because very soon Joel won’t remember Clementine anymore. Beautiful because we realize how much these two loved each other without fully or truly knowing it and we can assume that Clementine experienced the same when she was erasing Joel. And hopeful because there is a seed planted that it could work if they just manage to remember each other. I can take about this scene forever. Literally. It’s so perfect. Accompanied by the gorgeous music of genius Jon Brion, this scene beats out the final scene by a few inches for me. But it’s very close.