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Film Analysis: Memento

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Donald Havard Dr. T. Gould English 111 24 March 2005 Film Analysis: Memento Columbia Tristar Films starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Joe Pantoliano released "Memento" in 2001. The movie was produced by Suzanne and Jennifer Todd, and was directed by Christopher Nolan. Christopher Nolan also wrote the short story and screenplay. This film is about a man named Leonard, played by Guy Pearce, who suffered a major brain injury to the hippocampus that left him with a rare memory disorder called anterograde amnesia. This disorder causes Leonard not to be able to form any new memories. Leonard is now trying to find and kill the person who murdered his wife to avenge his wife's death. Carrie-Anne Moss plays a friend of Leonard, or so he thinks, that assists him in finding the person who killed his wife. Joe Pantoliano plays another friend of Leonard who takes advantage of his memory problem. "Memento" accurately depicts some of the problems associated with a person diagnosed with anterograde amnesia. Leonard, played by Guy Pearce, suffered a brain injury to the hippocampus during a struggle with an attacker that leaves him unable to form new memories. ...read more.


In practice, this means that an individual with amnesia may have good memory for childhood and for the years before the injury, but may remember little or nothing from the years since" ("Anterograde"). Throughout the movie, Leonard recalls information that he remembered before his incident, such as the insurance case he investigated that dealt with another form of anterograde amnesia. Leonard has the ability to carry on normal conversations with people, but after the conversation in over or if he gets distracted for more than a few moments, he forgets what he was doing. This is because "short term memory is generally spared, which means that the individual may be able to carry on a conversation; but as soon as he is distracted, the memory of the conversation fades" ("Anterograde"). In one scene, Leonard is arguing with Carrie-Ann Moss' character about her boyfriend. Moss' character tells Leonard that she is using him to kill her abusive boyfriend. She also calls him a freak and tells him that it doesn't matter because he won't remember anyway, and then leaves the house. ...read more.


Because of Leonard's inability to form new memories, he needed a way to remember things that happened to him on a daily basis. To accomplish this, he took pictures of important things and wrote notes on those pictures. Since he was looking for the murderer of his wife, any fact he knew about the person who killed her got tattooed somewhere on his body. This is an extreme example, but one of the things people with this form of amnesia can do is "use memory aids (such as detailed daily schedules) and other methods to help these people cope with their memory disorder" ("What"). Leonard thought the use of regular notes was inefficient because you would have to remember to bring the notes, as well as look at them. Having the tattoos was also a constant reminder to him about what happened to his wife. Anterograde amnesia is a very serious problem and can have a devastating impact on the victim and the victim's family. Having to rely on notes and other people to remember day to day facts that most people without a memory disorder take for granted is just one of hardships amnesiacs face every day. Almost without fail, this movie depicts how serious having anterograde amnesia can be. ...read more.

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