Universal acclaim - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41

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Critic Reviews

  1. Not only (Kaufman's) most accessible and romantic screenplay, it's his most complete. The third act works like a charm and pulls all his themes, characters and conflicts together beautifully.
  2. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    A wildly imaginative, hugely entertaining tour de force that asks big questions about life and love and fate while never ceasing to fully engage the viewer.
  3. Watching Eternal Sunshine, you don't just watch a love story -- you fall in love with what love really is.
  4. 100
    A thoughtful, audacious meditation on love and relationships that finds a group of wildly disparate talents clicking together in perfect unison.
  5. It's a trippy but tender examination of human emotions, relationships, all-consuming love.
  6. A complicated story that demands your full attention; Mr. Gondry unfolds it at a mind-bending pace. This alone makes it a hugely refreshing respite from ordinary multiplex fare.
  7. 100
    Feels like something entirely brand-new; such are the gifts of Kaufman and Gondry, inventors and magicians.
  8. A delightful little wormhole that takes us on a journey to another dimension of consciousness.
  9. 100
    Audacious, thought-provoking and ruefully funny.
  10. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    This is the best movie I've seen in a decade. For once it's no hyperbole to say, "Unforgettable!"
  11. A masterpiece? Probably. Ingenious? Absolutely! Unforgettable? I'll see you at the 10th-year anniversary.
  12. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    One of those rare collaborations that artists dream of, and that film lovers crave.
  13. A Chayefsky movie isn't hard to identify, but I think it's safe to say that these days a Charlie Kaufman movie is even more recognizable.
  14. 100
    Fresh, heartfelt and ultimately heartbreaking in its honest portrayal of a modern relationship.
  15. Gondry's virtuosity lifts the film far past science fiction into cinematic efflorescence. He shows us, more seductively than other directors have done, how freehand use of film can capture the flashes in our minds that slip between words.
  16. 91
    Adventuresome, melancholy and exhilarating.
  17. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    If films about coping with memory loss and/or reverse-order storytelling now constitute a mini-genre, then Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is arguably the best of the lot.
  18. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Kaufman may be counting on the audience's will, insistence and yearning to create a coherent love story from the shards and shrapnel he provides us.
  19. 90
    It's a baroque and intermittently brilliant brain twister so convoluted that it inevitably deposits the viewer in an alternate universe.
  20. 90
    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.
  21. A memory play and a sleight of hand, Eternal Sunshine is more than anything else deeply sincere. Like Spike Jonze, who directed "Adaptation" and "Being John Malkovich," Gondry succeeds principally by balancing Kaufman's churning skepticism with unflinching hope.
  22. Neither wholly cynical nor wholly romantic, Kaufman's story is a balance of smarts and sentiment. It's the most fully realized working out of his two favorite obsessions: the subjective nature of experience and the psychological mysteries of pair bonding.
  23. 90
    Ingenious, exhilarating, funny and profound.
  24. 88
    Chases so many ideas that it threatens to spin out of control. But with our multiplexes stuffed with toxic Hollywood formula, it's a gift to find a ballsy movie that thinks it can do anything, and damn near does.
  25. 88
    This is unlike any other film I have seen... it's a great romance. It's willingness to flout conventions and eschew formulas is just one of many things to celebrate about this charmingly eccentric movie.
  26. 88
    Despite jumping through the deliberately disorienting hoops of its story, Eternal Sunshine has an emotional center, and that's what makes it work.
  27. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    It is by turns comic, dark and surprisingly tender. If one must reduce it to simple description, call it a love story with a twist. Or a twisted love story.
  28. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    There aren't many performers who can deliver the fullness of heart that such a plot demands, but Winslet is one of them. [22 March 2004, p. 102]
  29. For most of Eternal Sunshine, I found myself fighting off Gondry's hyperactive intrusions in order to get at the melancholia at its core. Fortunately, the idea behind this movie is so richly suggestive that it carries you past Gondry's image clutter.
  30. 80
    For once, Carrey is more than merely tolerable. He's actually good, and the film that ebbs and flows around him is something you won't soon forget.
  31. Reviewed by: Colin Kennedy
    Not particularly funny, or even very sunny, but it is Charlie Kaufman’s first whole screenplay, and as wonderful as it is weird.
  32. 75
    Always engaging, never boring. You constantly appreciate Kaufman's intelligence and Gondry's lively filmmaking.
  33. For all the silliness, Kaufman is posing a serious question: Are we better off forgetting things that brought us pain, especially if we didn't change or grow as a result? You may not agree with his conclusion, but who else in Hollywood would pose this query at all, or explore it in such a daffy, gratifyingly inventive way?
  34. You'll be rewarded with a terrific finale. The twists here are the rare sort that seem both narratively surprising and emotionally engaging.
  35. The thinking is shallow. The emotions are tepid. But the creativity is dazzling. If that sounds like a slam, consider that most Hollywood screenplays are predictable, rote and functional -- and those are the good ones, folks.
  36. While it's flawed and often tedious, Kaufman's script is, on the whole, boldly imaginative and enjoyably challenging.
  37. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    This is the art-film Carrey: repressed, lovesick, unshaven. Essentially he's doing the same intellectual sad sack played by John Cusack in "Malkovich" and Nicolas Cage in "Adaptation"
  38. 70
    So daring, well-made and tirelessly inventive that I kept asking myself, “Why isn't this even better? Why isn't it moving me?” One huge problem is the hero... he's played by 42-year-old Jim Carrey, whose still-bottomless need to be loved invariably smacks of desperation and self-pity.
  39. This angular and intelligent romantic comedy isn't entirely consistent. Even as you laugh, it's a movie you admire more than love.
  40. 70
    Represents a failure of nerve: As if Gondry and Kaufman weren't sure that the story of Joel and Clementine would hold us, the doomed couple's unfolding-in-reverse romance is intercut with a subplot filled with zany touches.
  41. 50
    Wants to be a bittersweet comedy about erotic loss and memory loss. But it doesn't have the heart or brain.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 960 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 25 out of 309
  1. AllisonL.
    Feb 9, 2008
    Perfect and TOUCHING. One of my most favorite movies ever. The message is incredible! Never gets old for me and something new is uncovered to Perfect and TOUCHING. One of my most favorite movies ever. The message is incredible! Never gets old for me and something new is uncovered to me every time I watch it. The soundtrack is absolutely beautiful too! I've watched this probably 10 times, and I'll watch it the next time it comes on too. Full Review »
  2. TroelsJ
    Jan 21, 2009
    This is the perfect love movie. In every way it is perfect and clever. And I generally hate love movies, but twisting the genre into this is This is the perfect love movie. In every way it is perfect and clever. And I generally hate love movies, but twisting the genre into this is just a majestetic achievement. It's crazy, sad, beautiful, funny and full of love; what every love movie wants to be, but only "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" is. Full Review »
  3. Oct 2, 2013
    This movie was amazing! I loved the characters and I thought it was a refreshing change of romantic comedy. It really toughed base with theThis movie was amazing! I loved the characters and I thought it was a refreshing change of romantic comedy. It really toughed base with the meaning behind a thoughtful relationship between one really odd couple. This movie really does express the meaning behind two opposites attract. Full Review »