We'd had this film sitting next to the DVD player (via LOVEFiLM.com) for several weeks. We obviously thought we'd enjoy it when we put it in our rental queue, but somehow when it came time for us to put a disc in the player, we kept choosing other films. I put it down to a touch of Carey-phobia. Anyway, we finally watched it last weekend (only — it has to be said — because the copy of The Ladykillers we'd ordered was scratched to blazes and wouldn't play in our machine), and really enjoyed it.
The first thing to say is that Jim Carey is thankfully quite low-key in this film, and actually rather good. So even if you have a bit of an aversion to his usual face-pulling routines, this is probably safe to watch. The plot concerns a man who finds out that his girlfriend has paid a company (called 'Lacuna', geddit?) to erase all memory of him from her mind after they've had a row. In grief and retaliation, he does the same for her, but then gets cold feet half way through the process.
The pseudo-science part of the premise is a bit silly (I don't think we'll ever be able to isolate the location of individual memories, and particularly those for complicated things like relationships), but it raises some interesting questions. If our memory of someone could be erased, would we keep on meeting them and falling in love with them again and again? What is memory anyway? Would erasing painful memories ease the pain, or would we still feel hurt and not know why?
The structure of the film takes a bit of concentration to get to grips with, but there are interesting effects to symbolise memories being erased. At several points, our hero and heroine have to run to escape the blankness that is consuming the landscape around them as the memory erasure is progressing. It's also quite a sweet — but not sickly — love story. And it's just won an Oscar, I believe, not that winning an Oscar is necessarily a recommendation in itself.