Does Clementine from ‘Eternal Sunshine’ have BPD? (+5 Signs of BPD)

The current article will be discussing if Clementine from ‘Eternal Sunshine’ has BPD. We will also be checking out the different signs of Borderline Personality Disorder which Clementine shows in the movie, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.’

Does Clementine from ‘Eternal Sunshine’ have BPD?

Yes, Clementine from ‘Eternal Sunshine’ has BPD. While this is not properly confirmed in the movie, it is well-understood that Clementine has Borderline Personality Disorder due the many characteristic signs of the disorder that she shows.

Clementine Kruczynski is an extroverted and free-spirited woman who gets into a relationship with Joel Barish, a very introverted personality. While both of these characters are on the poles of socializing, they both commonly have a sensitive mind.

After a vicious fight with Joel, Clementine decides to erase him from her memory through a certain procedure. The signs that Clementine actually has deep-rooted mental health issues are actually seen in the flashbacks that Joel has while undergoing the same procedure.

While it is pretty much understood that Clementine has Borderline Personality Disorder, some fans of the movie who have closely studied the character feel otherwise. Some alternate diagnoses which have been pinned to Clementine are:

  • Depression: In the movie, it is often touted that Clementine actually suffers from depression. Clementine does indeed show many signs of depression, but not all the characteristic signs to have this diagnosis.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Another alternate theory when it comes to Clementine is Bipolar Disorder. This is especially considering the fact that the character’s mood can be seen going up and down throughout the story.

However, Bipolar Disorder is characterized by an extended period of time where the person goes through depression and then a manic phase. Clementine does not portray phases like these in the movie.  

  • Histrionic Personality Disorder: Another commonly discussed theory is that Clementine might actually be suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder. This is mainly due to her impulsive and reckless actions.

The actions definitely grab the attention of everyone else. For instance, she often changes her hair color to very vibrant hues which immediately bring everyone’s eyes to her. She can also be seen putting on displays of extroversion, mainly for the eyes of Joel.

She further can be seen acting without empathy towards Joel, or even being considerate of his feelings. Her moods also frequently change, which further lead some people to assume that Clementine may actually have this particular Personality Disorder.

At the same time, Clementine does not exactly play a lot of games for the sole purpose of attention-seeking, which is the mainstay of Histrionic Personality Disorder. Her actions are certainly due to a cluster B personality disorder, but definitely not BPD.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Some fans of the movie have also expressed that Clementine might be actually suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. They say that it is due to this PTSD that she opts for the procedure in the first place.

According to the fans that stand by this theory, Clementine suffers a lot of trauma in her relationship with Joel, especially when it comes to an end. She is unable to live through this trauma anymore and therefore opts to get her memories of Joel erased.

This is quite characteristic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, where the person finds it difficult to face any situation where they are reminded of the stressor. Along with Clementine, even Joel can be termed as living with PTSD.

Signs of Clementine’s BPD

Clementine from ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ is a beautifully painted character, and her love story with Joel has made many eyes shed tears upon watching the movie. The bubbly and free-spirited character, however, is clearly struggling with many mental health issues.

The most common theory when it comes to Clementine is that she suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. Her actions and behaviors in the movie are mostly because of this. Some signs of Borderline Personality Disorder which Clementine portrays in the movie are:

Her thinking is unpredictable

In the movie, Clementine can be seen shifting in her thoughts randomly. Her thought process, especially when directed towards herself also shifts very frequently. This is outwardly portrayed by her coloring her hair in different hues all the time.

Clementine names her hair colors, ‘red menace’, ‘blue ruin’ and ‘yellow fever’, showing the moods and actions that accompany each color. A distorted self-image is quite common in Borderline Personality Disorder and even characteristic of this condition.

She is portrayed to be quite impulsive

Clementine also shows a lot of recklessness and impulsiveness throughout the movie. At many times, this impulsiveness and recklessness even gets to Joel and hurts their relationship. She is tagged as a very free-spirited character.

But, free-spiritedness can also translate to highly impulsiveness, especially considering the fact that Clementine puts herself in harm’s way at least a couple of times in the entirety of the movie. This fact further points to the presence of a cluster-B personality disorder, mostly BPD.

She indulges in alcohol-abuse

Another sign of mental health issues, particularly Borderline Personality Disorder, which Clementine shows in the movie, is alcohol abuse. She can be seen getting drunk late at night in an irresponsible manner, especially when she breaks into a closed bar.

Her alcohol abuse also leads her to wreck Joel’s car, which shows how damaging her habit can actually be. She also does not realize that her alcohol abuse is getting out of hand, and instead tries to justify her actions, blaming it on her impulsivity.

She has a clear fear of abandonment

Clementine and Joel clearly have a very toxic relationship with each other. They both are highly fearful of the other person leaving them; especially since they both are emotionally dependent on the other one.

In terms of Clementine, this fear of abandonment is quite obvious and follows the usual patterns of someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder. For example, she says that she does not want to be stuck in a relationship where she has to take care of someone else.

At another instant, when Joel tries to break it off with her, Clementine displays her clinginess and her fear that he will truly abandon her. She even tries to make herself look bad intentionally, so that Joel won’t get attached to her; therefore guaranteeing that he won’t abandon her.

This fear of abandonment is quite characteristic of Borderline Personality Disorder and one of the most important signs. This unintentional fear can also be many times misread by the partner as a toxic pattern and can even end single-handedly break up relationships.

Her perceptions of people often change

Clementine changes her perception of Joel many times throughout the movie. Her view of him was always not a steady graph and had its ups and downs, following the BPD relationship cycle stages.

She finds Joel boring at times, but when he decides to end things with her, becomes all the more clingy and idealizes him. This to-and-fro pattern can be seen throughout the movie, leaving Joel confused and hurt most of the time.

The problem is that Joel still loves her and lavishes all his attention on her. In the end when she asks him to come to Montauk, he still does so and meets her there. Due to Joel still sticking with her, Clementine does not actually understand that her actions are in fact quite toxic.


The current article has discussed if Clementine from ‘Eternal Sunshine’ has BPD. We have also checked out the different signs of Borderline Personality Disorder which Clementine shows in the movie, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.’

If you like this article, please post your comments and questions in the space below.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!