If you could erase painful memories from your brain, would you do it?
This is the premise of one of my absolute favorite films, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. After a terrible fight with her boyfriend Joel (Jim Carrey), Clementine (Kate Winslet) makes an appointment with a cutting-edge doctor to completely erase Joel from her memory. When Joel finds out, he is devastated and decides to undergo the same procedure. But as his memories are being deleted, Joel begins to remember why he fell in love with Clementine in the first place. This is a story of giving in to and fighting our impulses, and rediscovering love as if it were the first time.
If you enjoyed "figuring out" movies like Inception or Memento, you'll love trying to follow the unconventional structure of this film. Written by Charlie Kaufmann (Adaptation and Synecdoche, New York), co-written and directed by Michel Gondry (Be Kind Rewind, as well as music videos for Radiohead, Bjork, The White Stripes and Beck), this complex, creative and visually stunning film has earned its spot as #60 on the Internet Movie Database's "Top 250 Movies of All Time". Also starring Tom Wilkinson, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, and David Cross. Won Academy Award for Best Screenplay.
Recommended by Leah Youse