Unsurprisingly Kaufman’s writing manages to guide us through a labyrinth of memories, heartbreak and regret with a precision that few other writers can muster. It takes a lot of skill to continue to hold onto your audience’s trust when you’re jumping around in time and memory with such seemingly willful abandon, and yet we always feel safe (just about) in Kaufman’s hands. The film never quite reaches the insightful heights of Adaptation, but it still has a lot to say on human nature, love and regret, with very few false notes along the way.
The two lead cast members are terrific here with Jim Carrey demonstrating just what he can achieve when he isn’t playing Jim Carrey, the man can really deliver and it’s a shame that he too often plays a parody of himself. Few if any films demonstrate his potential better than Eternal. Kate Winslet is an ideal choice for counteracting Carrey here; whilst he is playing an introverted quiet figure, she instead is lively and chaotic and it is a lot of fun to see Winslet in such a role. Both of these actors bring so much charm and fun to their parts that we are often laughing despite ourselves.
I do think that the last third of the film is a little expected, I could see where it was going. But perhaps that’s no bad thing. As we are reaching the climax of the film it is in some respects a relief for the film’s crazed narrative to relax a little. It allows us to connect even closer to the emotional core of the film. Would I have preferred it to have still caught me off guard? Yes. But make no mistake, this is one great film, its expected ending doesn’t stop it from being one of the best films of the last decade.
What is the film’s greatest strength? The assured hand with which Kaufman guides us through the film.
Its greatest weakness? A slight predictability within the third act.
Would I see it again? Absolutely – it’s charming, smart, insightful and most of all very entertaining.
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