Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Work Title: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Medium: Film
Episode Title:
Year: 2004
Writer(s): Charlie Kaufman
"Original" Writer: Yes Writer(s): Michel Gondry
"Original" Writer: Own work?: Yes


A man, Joel Barish, heartbroken that his girlfriend Clementine underwent a procedure to erase him from her memory, decides to do the same. However, as he watches his memories of her fade away, he realizes that he still loves her, and may be too late to correct his mistake.

Era/Year of Portrayal: present_day

Distinctive characteristics of the world in portrayal:



  • Name of portrayed presence-evoking technology: the "procedure" done by the "eraser-guys"
  • Description of the technology: After Joel and Clementine break up, Clementine undergoes a procedure where she has Joel erased from her memory, and Joel finds out about it, and because the memories are too painful, decides to have the procedure done as well. During Joel's procedure, while the memories are being erased, he is also re-living them (creating new memories that never happened) and putting together pieces of the puzzle from when and why the relationship goes wrong. He realizes while re-living the memories as they are being erased from him that he doesn't want to forget her or lose the memories. He wants to "call it off". So as he is getting the memories taken from him, he is actually experiencing them again as if they were happening at that moment, and trying to change the results of the memories.
  • Nature of task or activity: Joel is too heartbroken from the break-up with Clementine and the realization that she has erased him from her memory drives him crazy and he then attempts to get her erased from his in hopes it makes things easier..
  • Performance of the Technology: The erasing procedure malfunctions only during Joel's procedure and not Clementines. He develops a resistance to it because of the powerful emotions evoked during the memories going away, he tries to escape the procedure and stop it.
  • Description of creator(s): All different ages, and they work at a clinic called Lacuna Inc.
  • Major goal(s) of creator(s): To help people move on from their losses and heartache by erasing bad memories.
  • Description of users of technology: Clementine, in her 20's maybe 30's, works at a book store, Joel, same age as Clementine, introverted, quiet.
  • Type(s) of presence experience in the portrayal: both
  • Description of presence experience: Experiences the memories again as if they are happening and is able to re-live them as they are happening and interact through them in an attempt to change and stop the procedure of the memories being erased.
  • User awareness of technology during experience: Becomes gradually aware as he remembers and re-lives memories of him at the clinic setting up the procedure and discussing how it will be done.
  • Valence of experience: Upsetting, Insightful, Impulsive, Unpleasant at times.
  • Specific responses: Regret and understanding of the relationship and that it was beautiful despite the bad memories. Wanting to stop erasing the memories because the good ones make the bad ones worth it.
Long-term consequences:

If this procedure could be done in real life it could get out of hand real quick. Just like in the movie, bad things can happen and people can change their minds about what they want and not know because of how painful the experience is and time not passing yet whether they wil be able to move on.


Coder name: Alison Frangicetto
Coder email:
Coder affiliation: Temple University