In One’s Mind: Real (2013) and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)

I am still in the mood of watching something with similar theme (or same actors), somehow it’s easier to write the review 😉

These two movies, one from Japan and one from America, somehow have a similarity but also very different.

Exactly a month ago, I have published a post saying that I have a new favorite actor called Satoh Takeru (the kanji is written as Satou but somehow the English translation is often written as Satoh). His acting level is still far from my number one favorite actor BUT I see a potential in him because he keeps getting better and works wholeheartedly all his movies. I am planning to see all his works prior to Rurouni Kenshin; Kyoto Inferno (the movie that turned me into his fan) and Real (リアル〜完全なる首長竜の日〜Riaru Kanzen’naru Shuchou Ryuu no Hi) is one of his latest movies.

And then I read a review comparing Real to Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, I know how famous the movie is but I still haven’t had the chance to see it yet…so I decided to look it up and see it as a pairing review.

Real (リアル〜完全なる首長竜の日〜Riaru Kanzen’naru Shuchou Ryuu no Hi) – 2013

Riaru - Real

Director: Kurosawa Kiyoshi
Starring: Satoh Takeru, Ayase Haruka, Nakatani Miki, Odagiri Joe, Sometani Shota, Horibe Keisuke, Matsushige Yutaka, Koizumi Kyoko
Based on: A Perfect Day for Plesiosaur by Rokuro Inui
Rating: 3 stars

Plesiosaur - realFujita Koichi (Satoh Takeru) and Kazu Atsumi (Ayase Haruka) have been together since childhood. They become lovers when they meet again as grown up. Despite being together for so long, Koichi can’t understand why Atsumi decided to commit suicide and ends up in coma. With the help of sophisticated machine, the doctors help him to enter Atsumi’s mind. He has doubt whether he should go into her mind, whether she still wants to meet him. Atsumi is a mangaka (Manga artist) and she wants him to find a drawing of Plesiosaur that she gave him when they were still in elementary. Koichi does his best to find the drawing if it means it can bring her back from the coma. He keeps coming back into her mind till something unexpected happens.

The tagline (the Japanese one) says everything about the movie. Here’s my rough translation : To save you, no matter how many times, I will enter your mind.

At the beginning, I enjoyed the movie because every visit is similar but different. I couldn’t figure out what happen next but then the attraction disappeared little by little as the movie goes. The images of the gruesome manga that Atsumi draws added the element of suspense and horror. However that wasn’t enough to maintain the excitement. I did enjoy the movie but not up to the level of really liking it. If I do rewatch it in the future, it’s merely because of I want to see Takeru-kun’s cute face.

The movie does have this slow and intense Japanese-style atmosphere but the characters don’t evolved much. I noticed that Takeru-kun and Ayase-san have good chemistry but the script is not good enough to show the up and down emotion between them. I sort of wished that it’ll have great ending but the ending is too childlike, I was like “eh? sore dake?

Kurosawa Kiyoshi made an amazing miniseries called Shokuzai which is one of the best drama series I have ever seen…too bad Real is nothing to be compared to Shokuzai.

After i saw the movie, I went to my fellow Japan lover, Jason and found his more thorough (than mine) review>> here.

Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind – 2004

Eternal Sunshine

Director: Michel Gondry
Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, Tom Wilkinson
Rating: 4 stars

Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) meets an unusual woman named Clementine (Kate Winslet). They instantly attracted to each other. But something happens on Valentine day. Joel brings a beautiful gift for Clementine but she no longer recognizes him and has new boy friend. He later finds out that he has been erased from Clementine’s memory. Because of that, Joel also wants to erase her from his memory. The place to do that is called Lacuna. However, can Joel really erase all the memory he has shared with Clementine?

The thing that I like the most about this movie is the complexity of the characters. Carrey and Winslet are the winning aces of this movie. The others are not that essential and somehow a bit boring. The hide and seek is the best part of it. I really like the ending (not the final one but the twist before the ending). Carrey’s acting is superb, he should play more in serious movies like this. i don’t have to say anything about Winslet as we all know how good she is. Overall, Eternal Sunshine is one of those romantic/love story that I could enjoy without feeling bored.

Although I like Eternal but its complexity is still not as great as Charlie Kaufman’s other movie, Being John Malkovich.


In comparison, Eternal Sunshine is more interesting than Real because of its complexity and well developed characters. Real lacks in both, not because the actors are not good but more to the script. However, Eternal Sunshine is a bit ridiculous when it comes to performing the scientific machine. I find it really ridiculous to have one’s mind being erased that with incompetent technicians. Neuro is not a simple thing. Real shows a more proper equipment with skillful doctors. When it comes to science, Real feels more real.

 Riaru-machineEternal Sunshine - machine

 Overall, I like both movies but Eternal Sunshine is a much better movie than Real.

I was going to ask, have you seen the movies…but somehow I have a feeling the answer is only “Yes, I have seen Eternal Sunshine and never heard of Real” 😉



  1. Thanks for the link! 🙂

    Great idea pairing these two up. I should try something similar!

    Real is a good looking film that is let down by that script with its lack of compelling action. It’s alright but should have been better. Haruka Ayase and Takeru Sato are good actors but they aren’t asked to do anything that pushes them.

    As for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – I saw that in a cinema and was wowed by it. You’re right in highlighting the complex characters. It also explores the power of the memory wipe technique really well!

    1. Can’t believe I haven’t replied your comment yet.

      You’re welcome, as always your review is more thorough than mine 🙂

      It’s not only lack of compelling action but also lack of emotion. I kinda wonder about the book, is it better or not.

  2. You predicted my reply that I haven’t heard of Real haha! The premise sounds actually intriguing like something from Fringe TV show meets Flatliners. You know, I didn’t like Eternal Sunshine, I didn’t get that movie and I don’t know if I’d watch it again to see if it’s better the second time around. It sounds like everyone else who watched it seems to like it alot though haha. 🙂

    1. I have heard Fringe before but haven’t watched it.

      It’s not surprising you don’t like it, I don’t think it’s the kind of movies that everyone will like. I wouldn’t say I like it a lot, I like Being John Malkovich more because that one is a truly twisted movie

  3. I really need to see Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, been hearing so many great things! Btw Nov did you ever get my Twitter DM? In any case, I met an actor during TCFF who looked so much like Cillian, you probably saw his pic on my Twitter feed 🙂

    1. I check my twitter as soon as I read your comment 🙂
      I have been very busy lately. He does look like him.

      Oh, I thought you have seen that movie because it’s so famous.

  4. Actually, the answer is that I haven’t heard of either until now. But then, if it weren’t for you I’d live under a rock.

    Thanks for working so hard to get a comment posted on my blog. The only think I can think of that would cause that is if Askemet thought you were spam. I couldn’t fish you from the filter because it was twenty pages long. If it happens again, let me know.

    1. Huahahaha, it’s part of my hobbies so I know a lot of movies.

      I think your blog think my IP adress is spam…I used other IP and finally worked

  5. It probably does. Normally I fix it by setting up a time when we can both be online and have you post a comment, which I then quickly fish out of the spam filter. If I do it once, it usually fixes the problem for future posts. If I don’t do it quickly, then the avalanche of spam being filtered out bury the comment so I can’t find it.

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