Writing teachers and critics frequently point out that having a story begin with a character waking up in the morning is sloppy storytelling. And yet, every once and awhile, a cliché like this works so perfectly that you don’t even notice. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind opens with Joel (Jim Carrey) waking up in bed. Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman gets away with this and nearly everything else in this film because of one simple conceit: he’s asking us to just go with it, but doesn’t make any promises he’s going to explain anything. Kaufman isn’t too concerned with making us think. He’s more about getting us to relate.
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