Eternal Sunshine’s narrative is essentially a love story told backwards. It deals with the traditional problem of reverse narrative in a new way. The traditional problem is that if the audience already knows the ending (bitter breakup), then telling the story in reverse asks the audience the question of “is it worth it?” as we watch the story back to the beginning (falling in love). This intellectualizes the experience rather than giving us dramatic action. Eternal Sunshine deals with this problem of intellectualization by giving the protagonist an active role in the reverse narrative. Joel is able to interact with his old memories to try to stop the process of erasing; this attempt to escape is the major external plot of the film. The catharsis of the audience comes with his rediscovery of his love for Clementine as they try to escape together. They fail to escape at the climax of this external plot and his memory is erased. But the lovers meet again by fate and once again fall in love. This fake climax of the main love-story plot is placed at the beginning of the film and again at the end of the film – the audience realizes the despite losing all their memory, the lovers meet and fall in love again. If the film ended there, it would have been a good film, and the central idea would have been “Love happens because of fate”. But the problem would have been that Joel went through this huge journey of discovery and change but that all seems to go to waste if fate was just going to put them together again – he needs to be the one making an active choice that demonstrates his internal change at climax. The real climax of Eternal Sunshine comes out of the reversal at the end, in which the Joel and Clementine discover their bitter past and must choose whether or not to commit despite their past. This resurfaces Joel’s inner journey. He and she choose to commit, completing Joel’s journey of internal change with an external action. The central idea now becomes “Love happens because of fate but it will only result in a happy relationship with open acceptance of each other and the painful compromises that come with love”. This real climax is fueled by true character change, dilemma and choice and that is what makes the film great. The climax completes the audience catharsis experienced through Joel’s rediscovery of love; as a result he wins the girl and we are touched by a great story.