I normally fall asleep watching a DVD. Because I know I am planning to fall asleep, I am normally bright enough to sitck on something I have seen a billion times before, like, y’know, any given episode of the West Wing.
Tonight, I was stupid. Today, I bought Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on DVD, and as I was going to bed, I thought “Well, it’s not like it’s a loud explodey film. I’m sure I’ll fall asleep, and I’ll finish watching it in the morning.”
I was right on three counts. It is neither loud nor explodey, and I did, indeed, finish watching it in the morning. Just rather earlier than I’d planned. And it’s not the sort of film after which I find I can sleep, hence this livejournal entry. Just like last time, I am still trying to decide if the ending is either unbelievably depressing, or the most heart-rendingly accurate depiction of romance in the history of cinema.
I think I lean toward the latter. I think it’s a hell of a lot more romantic to say “yeah, maybe things won’t work out – hell, the odds are against it, and we may both wind up hurt, but I’ll take all the good bits I can in the meantime, and trust that they’ll be worth any hurt that might be in store” than it is to go with “happily ever after” like so many ‘romances’ leave off with. Yeah, there’s something a little depressing in that, but I think that’s a more that fair enough trade.
But I recall having a conversation with someone shortly after I first saw the film who thought it was awful. That that wasn’t romance, that was the acceptance of tedium, and that romance is that which we are invited to belief will triumph over the inevitable obstacles of everyday life, that to settle for anything less than explosions and fireworks and “happily ever after” was to be defeatist. They didn’t find the last scene remotely uplifting – they thought it was two people doomed to repeat their past mistakes, because they couldn’t remember them. I can see the point of view, at least…
What do you think?