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Get Serious: Comic Actors in Dramatic Roles
Posted September 27, 2010 to photo album "Get Serious: Comic Actors in Dramatic Roles"
Slide 5: Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Jim Carrey’s physical contortions and facial grimaces––exploited hilariously in such comedies as The Mask, Dumb and Dumber and the TV show In Living Color––have made him one of the great clowns of our time. Indeed his style is so animated that it only took a small stretch for him to slip from human being to cartoon figure, either as the Riddler in Batman Forever or the Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Like the face-painted mimes of Paris, Carrey uses his face to communicate his thoughts and feelings. But in Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Carrey goes in the opposite direction. His face becomes a cipher. Rather than showing us everything, it provides only a small glimpse of the enormous emotional upheavals taking place inside of him. Indeed the face of his character, Joel, becomes a tabula rasa, quite befitting a story about man seeking to erase his memory and feelings. Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly notes, “Carrey has often played timid, stammering nerds, but this is the first time he has eradicated any hint of stylization. He makes Joel a deeply vulnerable ordinary man, too 'nice' for his own good, haunted by dreams of romance he's scarcely bold enough to voice to himself.”