I am very much late on this game, but I had recently been intrigued by being introduced to The Film Experience’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot Challenge and decided I wanted to play along. Now, I’m not as eloquent as the other individuals who are involved with the challenge, nor do I have an everlasting access to DVDs from which I can screenshot my favorites shots (this freshman effort came from YouTube, for instance, hence why it looks like it was shot with a fucking potato). But I will try as best as I can to communicate my choice for March 18’s challenge and why I feel it is the best shot of the film…
Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
SPOILERS BY THE WAY.
So it is the final note in what is easily the saddest song on the soundtrack of bittersweet memories that this movie is. Joel is recounting his last remaining memory where he was frightened out of his wits by the dynamic Clementine and just doesn’t know how to react so he runs off… at least, that was how it occurred before.
Even though he won’t remember it anymore, that it won’t matter, he fixes this last memory to give Clementine a proper goodbye before a montage of drives, waves and faces cuts in fast and lands on this specific image of him, a medium shot of him (with a very noticeably empty space to his right) covered in sand and a car shell, floating away from a house that is falling on itself in his mind.
This is, sorry to make this sound crass, but the toilet flush of his love, going away forever. He starts this shot looking back, probably looking for Clementine, but there’s nothing left to look back at.
It makes something that won’t matter in just a few seconds really matter. It’s the “I don’t wanna go” moment right before you realize you don’t have a choice anymore.
Bittersweet, but the bitter is what lingers and is left behind. The sweetness is gone now.