“Valentine’s Day is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to sell more cards.” And so begins my absolute favorite movie about February 14th, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (DVD/Download). The opening line says it all. This is not a ‘sunshine and roses’ romantic comedy. However, it is funny, it is romantic, and it is truly daring and original filmmaking by director Michel Gondry.
Eternal Sunshine asks the question- what if a bad break-up could be erased from our minds? What are the consequences? If you erase the memory, do the same patterns just repeat themselves? The two lead characters are Joel (played by Jim Carrey), and Clementine (played by Kate Winslet). Unusual casting for sure, but these two actors are surprisingly perfect together. The film’s story, written by Charlie Kaufman, is told in non-linear sequence. We think we’re seeing two people meeting on a train for the first time, until gradually it becomes clear that they’ve already dated, fell in love, broken up, then paid a doctor to erase their memories of one another. With no memory of the bad relationship, they are just two people finding each other by chance, and falling in love the same way they did before. Because this is a Michel Gondry film, there are analog special effects during the scenes where memories are being erased, and the results are visually spectacular. A terrific supporting cast includes Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst, David Cross, and Tom Wilkinson as the helpful memory-erasing doctor with secrets of his own.
My cocktail this week is an easy one to make, giving you more time to spend paying close attention to the plot of the film (trust me, you need to pay attention). I love the name Clementine, and it’s such a refreshing flavor in the middle of winter, so this week I’m making a Darlin’ Clementine.
2 oz vodka
2 oz fresh clementine juice
1 oz simple syrup
Mix all ingredients in a shaker over ice, then strain into a chilled glass. Rub clementine peel around the rim of the glass, then discard.
This movie will always be special to me because I bought it right before my husband and I started dating. I was obsessed with everything Kate Winslet (and still am) so upon saying goodbye on February 13th, 2005, I told him to call me the next day to wish me a happy Valentine’s Day (just as Clementine says to Joel). He still chides me about it, claiming that was his plan all along. He did call, and that memory is one I don’t ever want to be erased. Cheers!