Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Focus Features/Universal, 2004


I ditched work today. Took a train out to Montauk.

Joel Barish

Otherwise he proceeds blindly, and after manifold wanderings must come back to the same ignorance [Unwissenheit] from which he started.

Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Norman Kemp Smith translation,
A88 B121 [St Martin's Press, 1965, p.123]


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind contains some surprises, and the reader should therefore be aware that this page is an analysis, not a review. If the surprises are not to be ruined, the movie should already have been seen. It is an important part of the experience that the events early in the movie appear in a different light later on. The DVD is now available, so there is no excuse not to see the movie first.


Anyone familiar with screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's Being John Malkovich [1999], one of the strangest movies ever made, will find Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind a very different experience. With a different director, Michel Gondry, instead of Spike Jonze, we get some creative use of the images, but this is to represent memory, and decaying memory at that, rather than the bizarre events of the earlier movie. It was not even clear what Malkovich was supposed to add up to in the end. The whole business was disturbing, if intriguing. Poor John Malkovich himself seemed to be used and destroyed by other people simply looking out for themselves. Similarly, Kaufman and Jonze's Adaptation (2003), while containing much entertaining stuff, seems to resort to the very kind of Hollywood ending, without irony, that the writer in the story (Nicolas Cage) keeps wanting to avoid. Perhaps that was the irony.

In Eternal Sunshine we get a love story. How it will turn out, we do not get a very good idea until the very end. The ending is hopeful, but it is sobered by the realization both we and the characters have of just what they are up against. This is one of the things that makes it a great story, since many couples are up against exactly the same things -- often in the nature of "familiarity breeds contempt." Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey have one advantage over real couples, they have been able to start over in a unique way, with, after a fashion, a genuinely clean slate. The key publicity image for the movie, with Clementine Kruczynski (Winslet -- "cz" in Polish is pronounced like "ch" in English) and Joel Barish (Carrey) lying on ice, near a radiating crack, is symbolic of their (and our) situation:  a cold world out there, but the warmth of a personal union and happiness, threatened by underlying weaknesses. We are always treading on thin ice.

By the end of the movie we discover that what we originally thought was the beginning of the story actually turns out to be near the end. Clementine and Joel are meeting, as though for the first time, because they have both had their memories of each other erased. This small touch of science fiction is a device that illuminates a number of things:  (1) just how bad their relationship had gotten; (2) how much they both have lost by losing their memories of each other; (3) how much they are spontaneously drawn to each other, empathize, and get along together naturally; (4) what they are going to have to deal with if the new relationship is not going to go the way of the old one; and, last but not least, (5) how a medical procedure like this could be misused by the people engaged in it.

When we realize that the main part of the movie is a flashback, and that only near the end do we catch up to the beginning, it becomes obvious that we have an invaluble clue to where we are at any point in the absolute chronology:  Kate Winslet's hair. At the original meeting of Clem and Joel, her hair is a kind of acid green, well grown out (i.e. roots showing). Before their first date, she has already dyed it bright red. It is this color all through the earliest and happiest days of their relationship. When she dyes it orange, everything still seems fine, but problems quickly begin to arise. They soon don't seem to have anything to say to each other. Clementine complains that Joel doesn't tell her about himself, and Joel responds with a putdown of her own talkativeness. Joel complains about her drinking. Later, Clementine, brightly and hopefully, tells Joel she wants to have a baby. Is this a way of trying to firm up the relationship, creating a tie, or is Clem still comfortable enough with them that she is just ready for such a step? Either way, Winslet gives us a sense of hope and vulnerability to which Joel needs to respond with tenderness. Unfortunately, Joel rebuffs her and even seems to question her fitness as a mother. Things spiral out of control very quickly, and after Clementine goes off for an evening on her own, Joel utters certain unforgivable words -- that Clementine is willing to sleep with about anyone. We have no evidence of this in the movie (or the deleted scenes [note]), and Clementine is mortally offended (although she had just taunted him that she might have had sex with someone else). She leaves abruptly. In short order -- we do not know how quickly, but it seems like no more than a few or a couple of days -- she gets this procedure to erase her memory of him. At that point she dyes her hair blue, called "blue ruin," as she later tells Joel, and this is how Joel encounters her after she no longer remembers him [note]. It is also the color we see as we learn of what is happening to Clementine while Joel himself goes through the memory erasing procedure. Then, with both of them unaware of each other's existence, they meet again and fall back in love as they did in the first place.

Both Winslet and Carrey play against type. This is not the Jim Carrey movie we have come to know. Although not without humor, the movie cannot be said to be a comedy. It is much more of a drama than When Harry Met Sally, let alone Annie Hall. Winslet and the director say that the idea was that she would play the Jim Carrey part this time. Indeed, Joel is a very withdrawn, low affect person. Clementine is not as manic and farcical as most Jim Carrey characters, but she definitely has all the drive, curiosity, daring, and energy in this relationship. And she doesn't have to wear the corsets and fluff that we see her sporting in so many of her movies, like Titanic. Instead, she gets to be relaxed and informal, dressing up occasionally, but usually relaxing in her favorite orange sweatshirt. I think she is as charming and fetching as in any of her movies, with what Todd McCarthy at Daily Variety called "her most vibrant perf since 'Heavenly Creatures'." Vibrant indeed.

While Clementine acts out a lot more than Joel, we get the message that she doesn't quite fit in either. Although they originally meet at a party, we know that Joel doesn't even like parties, and sits apart at this one, but then he spots Clementine standing apart herself. She gets his attention, even though her back is turned. Later she goes to sit with him, feeling like he is another "normal" person who isn't quite comfortable as such functions either. Despite the differences in their personalities, we are thus given to understand that they have an affinity. However, the dynamic is going to be that Clementine will draw him out. What seems to go wrong with the relationship is when they both get frustrated, when Joel ceases to be drawn out either because he is resisting, for some reason, or wearying, or because Clementine is tiring of the effort. When they meet again, Joel happens to say that she should read his journal. But we learn later, in the movie sequence, that Clementine had not been reading his journal, and wanted to, because she felt that he was too closed to her. The journal, indeed, seemed to be rather full; and since Joel is a rather good artist, it was nicely illustrated as well. We wonder, indeed, what Joel even does for a living. Since he draws so well, a good guess might be in graphic design or art. But we are not told. This leaves the kind of mystery about him that is at least symbolic of the barriers to intimacy that he has around him. We do see his interest in skeleton images, with an obvious collection in his apartment of Halloween costumes and Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) items. But we get no discussion of what this means. (Clementine has a collection of potatoes in costumes, but we don't get much sense of what this means to her either.)

But Joel is capable of reaching out. In both of their meetings, Joel cuts their interaction short. With the original meeting, he runs away, after Clementine breaks into a beachhouse for them to enjoy for the night. In their second meeting, he ends up rebuffing her attention on their train (even though we see that he has been drawing her from afar), and then later, when they are having a drink in her apartment, he begs off that he needs to get up in the morning. After each interruption, however, Joel initiates contact. After their original meeting, he goes to find her where she works at Barnes and Noble (Daily Variety [December 1, 2004] identified this store as the one on Columbia Street in Manhattan). After separating from her on the train, he then offers her a ride when he sees her just walking down the street. And after going home from her apartment, he calls her, making a date for the next evening. At the end of the movie, when Clementine has been hurt, again, hearing Joel's pre-procedure claim that she used sex to get people to like her, and she again leaves his apartment, Joel must pursue her down the hall and retrieve the situation. He does. Hopefully he will now remember that keeping their relationship healthy is going to require him to continue to reach out, or to be open, to Clementine. Priding himself on being "nice," Joel also needs to restrain the temptation to say unkind things.

Many couples -- I don't know if it is most, but at least it is my experience -- must weather the point where they become a little weary of each other. The mannerisms and habits that seemed fresh and endearing at first start to become annoying. The desperate hunger of a fresh sexual attraction becomes intimate and comfortable but then routine and less driving, and finally perhaps infrequent and a bit daunting. A couple must then ask if it is simply time to move on, or if there is enough there that a bit of work and commitment is worth the effort. Clementine bails out on Joel and then the two of them take a step not available yet to the rest of us, but that certainly would be attractive to many -- forget the whole damn thing in the most literal sense.

Much of the power of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is that the process of forgetting itself appears to reveal that there was enough there, that there always was enough of an affinity, that even a great deal of work would be worth the effort to renew the relationship. We only see the process in Joel. Later memories are erased first, rolling back to the beginning. When he gets back to the happy memories of Clementine, he realizes that he doesn't really want to lose them. Going back to even earlier points, his memories become discussions with Clementine, leading to desperate strategies to hide and save some memory of her. Now, this Clementine of his memories isn't the real one, so we might wonder if it has anything to do with her. After all, what Joel found good about her and their relationship might not correspond to Clementine's own feelings about him and the relationship from her point of view. We begin to wonder what Clementine's own point of view would be, or if her experience during the memory erasure was like Joel's. We find out how the business left her from what is happening in the meantime.

When Joel sees Clementine shortly after her memory has been erased, she seems comfortably launched on a new relationship. This turns out to be with one of the technicians from the memory erasing place, Lacuna Inc., who has taken advantage of his situation -- her memory has been erased of Lacuna and its personnel as well as Joel -- to get romantically involved with her. This guy, Patrich, played by Elijah Wood -- Frodo! how could you sink so low! -- also steals the mementoes turned in by Joel and uses them to try and get to her. But as the procedure is actually being done on Joel, Clementine is losing her grip. Something is wrong. She doesn't feel right. Patrick desperately tries to reassure her, and he resorts to things that he knew worked with Joel. This may be the problem. For instance, as a peace offering, Joel had bought Clementine a piece of jewelry. He never gave it to her because she didn't recognize him. Now Patrick gives it to her. It is just what she likes, and she says that she had never known a guy who gave her jewelry that she liked. This is poignant and revealing. Joel complained that in the end he didn't know Clementine, but it turns out he did. It testifies to their affinity -- an affinity that runs deeper than conscious recognition, perhaps even deeper than recognizable memory. But we get something else in that scene. Clementine goes from being smiling and happy to giving Patrick a look, a look like she doesn't quite believe it, that something is wrong. This is not a gift from this guy.

She takes him off to one of her favorite activities, a night picnic on the frozen Charles River outside Boston. Patrick, lying on the ice, repeats the very words that Joel had set down in his journal. But the reaction is not what he expects. Clementine leaves abruptly and drives home in grief and tears, not really knowing why. Although he doesn't realize it, Patrick has had it [note]. The next day Clementine does something else, alone, that she likes, going out to Montauk on Long Island (a trip not lightly undertaken, since it is some 3 hours and 15 minutes from Penn Station in Manhattan -- perhaps not as far from Rockville Centre in Nassau County, where Joel and Clementine live, but then the trains to Montauk don't go through Rockville Centre!). This is where she and Joel had met. And Joel is there. Now, we know already that the Clementine of Joel's memory tells him -- her last words -- to meet her at Montauk. Since they see each other on the beach, and in a restaurant, and back on the train, then either there is some ESP involved, always possible, or Joel's Clementine simply is enough like the real Clementine to know what she would do. Either way, we get the supreme testimony to their affinity for each other, conscious memories or no. It is tempting to see it as more than mutual understanding, since even sympathy might not get the timing right. They do both have to be there on the same day. But, then again, it is, as we learn from Joel's first words in the movie, Valentine's Day.

Their love starts all over again as before. Indeed, there is an undercurrent of even stronger attraction. Talking to a stranger at a party, which exists for such things, is nothing unusual. Introducing yourself to a stranger on a train, on the Long Island Railroad no less, is altogether something else. This is not what New Yorkers do. Clementine comes on so strong that, as she admits herself, it seems "nutso." Joel backs off at first -- physically recoiling as she moves to the seat next to him -- but then is equally drawn to her. Back in her apartment, she first hands him a drink and says it will ease the seduction. She defuses such a daunting statement by laughing it off as a joke -- but we see that she lays her land on his chest as she does so. Then, after some awkward pauses that are typical of first meetings, but unfortunately seem altogether too much like the old Joel, Clementine even tells him that she is going to marry him. This would be enough to launch most young men into the street, but Joel takes it in stride. Indeed, he leaves shortly thereafter, but then he calls her (after, in a deleted scene, calling his old girlfriend Naomi). Asked if he already misses her, he says "I do," and she laughs that this means they are married. Their honeymoon will be on the ice. This trip comes off altogether better than it had with Patrick just two nights earlier. Clem and Joel are obviously going to be with each other now, and, back in New York in the morning, Clementine says she wants to sleep over at his place. Of course.

Meanwhile, other things have been happening. When Joel tries to hide memories of Clementine among unrelated memories, this derails the program that was automatically deleting his memories. The technician, Stan (Mark Ruffalo), has been partying with Mary, the receptionist at the Lacuna offices -- played by Kirsten Dunst in her brightest and bounciest Bring It On mode. Alerted to the problem, he doesn't know what to do -- perhaps because they are both seriously stoned. He calls Dr. Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), who arrives to straighten things out. Unfortunately, the doctor and Mary had had an affair, which they erased from her memory, so that he could go back to being with his wife. Left alone, Mary kisses Mierzwiak and confesses her love. Just as the doctor's wife shows up. The truth hits the fan, and Mary learns that this has all happened before. Suddenly this memory erasing business begins to look like a very bad idea to her. She goes back to their offices, finds her own file, and then takes all the patient files to send back to them. Dr. Mierzwiak really seems very kindly and well meaning, if with a weakness for young secretaries; so we are left with the impression that, while he might not deserve to have his life ruined in every way, he has actually done a fair bit of harm with all good intention. Meanwhile, we know how much mischief Patrick has been able to get into.

Patrick is startled to see Clementine arrive at her place with Joel, and asks Joel what is going on in a way that makes no sense either to Joel or to us, from all that we know at the beginning of the movie. While Clementine gets her toothbrush, she picks up her mail, which includes her file from Lacuna, with an explanatory letter from Mary (who has certainly gotten a lot done in 24 hours). Perplexed, she puts the tape of her own interview with Dr. Mierzwiak into the tapedeck in Joel's car. Neither knows what this is about, but it is her voice saying how boring and pathetic Joel is. He thinks it is some kind of bad joke and kicks her out of the car. Patrick tries to accost her back at her appartment, but she fiercely rejects him. After some reflection, she gets Joel's address (out of the phone book, apparently) and drives over there, finding him listening to the tape of his interview with Dr. Mierzwiak. She says it's "only fair" that she should have to listen to his complaints after he had to listen to hers, but then the accusation about sex hurts her all over again.

The moment in the hall is a jewel. Joel catches up to her and asks her to wait. A hard look and then a sob, and she does. They know what they are up against. They don't remember their old relationship, but they have to face the evidence of it. When Joel says he wants to accept her as she is -- after a statement that we know was the same one she made before their first date -- we get the kind of look from Kate Winslet of someone, indeed, who has found love and now knows it. We hope it is true. They laugh, but don't kiss, and the movie ends with scenes of them playing on the beach -- we don't know if this is a flashback or not....her hair color is invisible.

Jim Carrey said in an interview that you are no good with a script like this unless you have been through the experience. I don't know about the script, but I think the story resonates with me since I have been through one marriage and have been enjoying my second for a fair number of years -- enough years to have hit the wall and gone beyond it (I hope). The way the first marriage ended reminds me a lot of Joel and Clementine. And since I haven't heard from my first wife in almost twenty years, I would not be at all surprised if someone told me that she had had her memories of me erased. I still wonder if we really did not have enough of a connection, or if it is just because she was young. As with Joel, the breakup was not my idea, but it did not happen because I said anything unkind. Since she has been through two more marriages already, after me, I am, however, comforted with the thought that it must not have been just me. Nevertheless, I would be grieved to lose any memories of her. Most of our time together, and it was three years rather than the two of Joel and Clementine, was something to treasure. How much something like that becomes a part of one's life is indicated by a noteworthy feature in the movie. When Joel and Clementine first meet, Joel sings a bit of "My Darling Clementine," as sung, evidently, by Huckleberry Hound -- his favorite toy as a child. When Joel and Clementine meet again, Joel no longer remembers the song or the toy. Deleting the memory of Clementine also took something out of his childhood. A memory would have to be pretty damn painful for anyone to want something like that to happen. We also see how other parts of his memory loss are simply perplexing to Joel, who awakens in new pajamas, when he can't remember when or why he bought them, and who discovers an inexplicable dent in his car, put there by Clementine.

Other touches in the movie resonate with me. Clementine drives a Volkswagen Beetle. My first wife drove a Beetle when I met her; and, having owned my own Beetle since 1981, my second wife and I drove in it on our dates after we met in 1987. There are still a fair number of old Beetles around, but it is getting more unusual. And, as it happens, for years I have been putting a dash of Blue Curaçao liqueur into gin and tonic -- it gives a very slight bitter orange taste, and looks nice. I have also been trying to think of a name for it. "Blue Moon" and "Blue Hawaii" are taken. Now, when Clementine brings in the drinks to Joel, she calls them "Blue Ruins," probably inspired by her hair. We see her mixing the drinks, however, and the bottles of Bombay Sapphire gin (with a beaming Queen Victoria) and Schweppes tonic are recognizable. She is pouring gin and tonic. The Bombay Sapphire bottle, as it happens, is blue (we see a small bottle of the same brand when Clementine spikes her drink in the restaurant in Montauk); and many people buy the brand thinking that the gin will be blue, which it isn't. So some people, I am told, add some Blue Curaçao just so it will be blue. We don't see Clementine doing that, but I think from now on blue gin and tonic will be a "Blue Ruin" to me.

Another nice touch in this movie are the couple who get Joel to go to the party where he meets Clementine. Rob (David Cross) and Carrie Eakin (Jane Adams) are constantly bickering. To my astonishment, there actually are couples like this, with relationships that seem to actually work. Some people think they work better than other kinds of relationships. A couple I know who used to scream at each other right in the middle of parties with invited guests are still together thirty years later -- with an old Volkswagen Beetle convertible in the garage.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind got good reviews but did only middling well at the box office. This is a shame. I was attracted to the movie when it opened and saw it at the time. It struck me as original and touching -- and far sweeter than Being John Malkovich or the other backwards memory movie of my acquaintance, the sad and tragic Memento [2001]. Having read the review by Todd McCarthy, I kept wondering what it meant when he said that it "is a romance that winds up at the most seductive destination for a love story -- the beginning." I was always afraid that Joel's memories would roll back to the beginning, and then that would be it. Believing, at the beginning of the movie, that I was seeing the beginning, the first clue that this was not so came when Joel tells Dr. Mierzwiak that he met Clementine at a party. This was at first just a little confusing, but later, when the full story of the meeting came out, the beginning of the movie obviously had to be something else. Of course, there was no clue that Joel and Clementine were to be confronted with their old selves. They would need to make up from a breakup that they didn't even remember. The beginning at the end of the movie thus isn't quite either beginning that has been seen already. It is hopefully the beginning of a deeper love, one that will sustain them into real marriage and parenthood.

While sweet and touching, the movie has little overt sexiness. The best bit of skin is that we do get to see Kate Winslet's butt, obliquely and in a mirror, when she pulls down her pants to inspect a bruise that she got from falling on the ice. Female skin, that is, since we also get Mark Ruffalo's butt, for anyone likely to be more interested in that. Now, Clementine in a thong is something Joel should do anything not to lose. Otherwise, Clem flashes her panties a couple of times, and we get Kirsten Dunst in her underwear a lot (no thongs) and squealing off camera. But the sexiest scene is fully clothed, when Clementine is sitting on Joel and pretending to suffocate him with a pillow. A lot of bouncing around, and Joel grasps her breasts and then her bottom. Damn sexy. I hope Jim Carrey (and Kate) appreciated it.


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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Copyright (c) 2004, 2006 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Note 1


On the other hand, there seems to be an out-take, contained in the documentary "A Look Inside Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" included on the DVD, that shows Clementine apparently in a bar with her arm around another man. This was wisely left out of the movie, and even the deleted scenes. A Clementine who comes on to other men, just because Joel is boring, would likely loose the sympathy of the audience. Paul Verhoeven was surprised how much audiences hated Denise Richards in Starship Troopers [1997] because she was not true. It is rather important, when Clementine taunts Joel with what she has done, that we don't know whether she has been unfaithful or not. Perhaps we could even forgive her for a lapse in the circumstances. But if that has been a pattern of behavior, if she was really guilty, as Joel says, of using sex to get men to like her, the onus would all be on her. As it is, the onus is on Joel. It was a wise choice not to burden Clementine's character with such baggage.

At the same time, if there is nothing in Clementine's behavior upon which Joel could base the accusation -- she denies it vehemently both before and after the memory erasure -- and we get no hint of it as the film stands, then Joel's accusation isn't just unfair, it is a bit off the paranoid deep end. Upon reflection, it sounds a little frightening. So this was a tough spot in the script, with one or the other of our characters psychologically flawed -- Clementine inappropriately sexual with strangers, or Joel subject to the kind of paranoid jealousy whose outcome in so many other movies, and in life, can be violent. It would have been better not to have had to make the choice. Kaufman seems have gotten painted into a bit of a corner. The choice that was made, to absolve Clementine, was the better one. With Joel, since we actually don't know what his accusation would have been based on, at least we can suspend judgment just as we can with Clementine's faithfulness. We don't have any direct evidence either of a merely paranoid element in Joel. This is not the ideal solution, but it is good enough when, after all, we are dealing with fictional characters.

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Note 2


Colors express moods and emotions. Blue means sad. Did Clementine have any reason to be sad when she dyed her hair blue? Well, yes. She had lost her true love. This makes it seem more likely that she changed the color after the memory erasing procedure. Before the procedure she was angry. It was only afterwards that she felt the loss, without the distraction of recent negative memories. The name of the color, "Blue Ruin," goes along with the sense collapse and disaster. We see literal ruin in collapsing structures in Joel's memory. Clementine may have had a similar experience. It left her blue.

Green is envy. We only see it briefly. It could be the envy I used to have going to parties alone, when the other guests might all be couples. This looks like Clementine's situation (as well as Joel's) at the party where they met. Since Clementine changes it when, as far as she knows, she will never actually see Joel again, this seems to jump the gun. Or perhaps her heart, as with the blue hair, knows something her mind doesn't yet.

Red often would mean anger, but Clementine's hair is red through the best days of her relationship with Joel, so the red in this case could express passion, or lust, instead. That seems to fit. More perplexing is what comes next, orange. This has no conventional association I know of with mood or emotion. However, in the context of the movie it does have a particular association, with Clementine's characteristic orange sweatshirt. Orange, it seems, is Clementine's color -- she even exclaims, wearing the sweatshirt, that the hair color matches. This would appear to say that, having passed the phase of first passion, Clementine is ready for a relationship that addresses her true self. This is when we see her telling Joel that she wants a baby.

Considering what is involved in carrying, bearing, and caring for a baby, Clementine is talking about a large part of what she wants her life to be. That Joel is not impressed, and even dismisses and insults her desire, is a deadly response, a rebuke to her very self. At that point in the relationship, he should have known better. One danger of intimacy is that we learn the other's vulnerabilities, we learn what buttons to push, and what not to push. Joel doesn't seem to have gotten the message. And when he accuses her of using sex to get men to like her, this may strike as deep as it does because of some vulnerability he knows about. No way to manage intimacy. There are raw edges involved, and the result is disastrous.

If Clementine's color is orange, this is something else I like about the movie. See the Princes of Orange, and the House of Orange and Nassau.

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Note 3


This is where the story might have taken a very different turn. If Patrick had been a Mensch and not a selfish, nasty twerp, he could have told Clementine why she felt like something was wrong with herself. He even has evidence along with him, like the coffee mug with Clementine's picture on it. Alternatively, Clementine might have accidentally discovered these contents of his backpack. Realizing that she is distraught over the lost memory of a boyfriend she evidently loved, Clementine could get Patrick to take her directly to Joel and stop the erasure of his memory -- well beyond the point where he realized he wanted it stopped himself. The couple would thus be reunited in full consciousness of what they were doing. However, this would ruin the bittersweet quality of the movie. And it would mean that the first 17 minutes of the film, where they miraculously meet and fall in love all over again, would never happen. Thus, unlike Adaptation, Kaufman avoids the more conventional Hollywood ending -- Kate to the rescue, cliffhanger and last minute salvation. The filmed version is better.

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