My current Top 5

My current Top 5


Best Actress 2004: Kate Winslet in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"

It is unlikely that Kate Winslet will ever be forgotten by movie audiences thanks to the overwhelming success and popularity of Titanic but it seems that it is her performance in the quirky, original and already legendary cult movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that will secure her reputation as one of the finest actresses of her generation.

The Academy-Award-winning screenplay tells the story of Joel Barish who learns that his ex-girlfriend Clementine Kruczynski had her memory of their relationship erased. Hurt and angry, Joel wants to do the same but during the process, his mind realizes that even though the relationship ended, he doesn’t want to lose the memory of Clementine and he desperately tries to save it while Dr. Mierzwiak, played by Tom Wilkinson, keeps erasing all traces of her in Joel’s memory.

It’s a crazy, fascinating and completely original story executed in the most perfect way which makes the whole movie one of the most thrilling experiences ever. And Kate Winslet’s performance as the quirky, strong and insecure Clementine who wants independence but is also looking for love and support fits perfectly into this. She meets all the challenges of this unusual script and creates a character who is a firework of emotions, sometimes impossible to bear, sometimes selfish and mean but strangely fascinating and loveable at the same time.

In the role of Clementine, Kate Winslet wisely avoids to focus solely on the eccentricities and quirkiness of the character and also develops a real character underneath the colorful hair. She wonderfully mixes scenes of Clementine as an unpredictable, happy-go-lucky character with scenes of moving depth. Kate Winslet never lets the exterior of Clementine influence her performance but instead believably creates a woman who is all the things the scripts asks her to be. Clementine is mostly an escaping memory but Kate Winslet uses every moment of her performance to show that she is a woman who, as different as she may be from him, Joel wouldn’t want to lose. Every moment of her performance is filled with humor, originality and a certain sadness that creates an unforgettable heroine and perfectly add to the style of the movie itself.

Kate also works wonderfully with Jim Carrey. Both create characters that seem like outsiders, both seem rather lost and alone in the world but they cope differently with their feelings. Joel is rather shy and silent while Clementine tries to hide her personality behind constant layers of eccentricities and openness and shows that Clemintine is very nonstandard.

Even though Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is an extraordinary story, Kate Winslet never tries to make Clementine an extraordinary character. Yes, she adds a lot of humor and unusualness that evoke memories of Diane Keaton in Annie Hall (but Kate Winslet’s performance never feels like a rip-off and instead is able to stand on its own two feet) but at the same time, Clementine is a rather average character: a young woman looking for love and wanting it in her own way. She can also be unreasonable and unpleasent, she is in no way the perfect heroine of a romantic comedy but instead a very real and believable character. It’s probably the greatest achievement of Kate Winslet that she was able to carry the fairytale aspects of the story just as easily as the more realistic ones and that she found the perfect balance in her character for these two complements.

Kate Winslet wonderfully handles the comedy and the drama of her part and is able to turn Clementine into a fascinating, captivating and most of all believable character. When she talks to Joel about being ugly, Kate Winslet allows the viewer to look right into Clementine's most inner feelings and emotions.

Even though her character is mostly seen through the eyes of Joel, Kate Winslet never lets Clementine become an object of affection who is defined by others and instead constantly surprises with her fresh and exciting characterization. While Jim Carrey works as the protagonist and carries the story, it is Kate Winslet who adds the allure and enchantment to the movie.

Just like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind itself, Kate Winslet’s performance sprinkles with creativity and originality. For this, she gets


Louis Morgan said...

Its a strange performance in some ways but it works very well.

joe burns said...

YAY! I love this performance! She should have won, but I can see why she didn't, since her performance is so different and she didn't get as much buzz as Swank, Staunton, and Benning did. Hopefully, she gets your vote! But I still think that your preference will be Staunton.

Fritz said...

@Louis: Yes, that sums it up perfectly!

@Joe: You're right, I think that she got the least buzz of all the nominees.