The Science of Eternal Sunshine

An interesting article from Slate magazine that discusses the neuroscience of the film.

One of the many rewarding parts of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is the fact that the film contains almost no dialogue that sounds like actual neuroscience. The film, as you may already know, tells the story of two star-crossed lovers whose stars have gotten so crossed that they decide to erase their memories of each other, using the services of a company called Lacuna Inc. Lacuna’s offices have been cunningly art-directed to look like a low-rent plastic surgeon’s, which is precisely the point. Memory erasure, in Eternal Sunshine’s world, is just the next logical step up from breast augmentation and Prozac. When Clementine (Kate Winslet’s character) first decides to shed her memories of Joel (played by Jim Carrey), she does it “on a lark,” the way you might get your forehead Botoxed on a whim. But despite the futurist premise, Sunshine spares us the gratuitous speech explaining How It All Works. There’s no animated “Mr. DNA” à la Jurassic Park* or some hopeless jargon about “hacking into the neocortex.” The closest you get is a nervous conversation between Joel and his doctor: “Is there any risk of brain damage?” The doctor replies, “Technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage. It’s on a par with a night of heavy drinking, nothing you’ll miss.”

Read the rest here.


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