Memento presents the subject of amnesia, which is a very popular Hollywood topic. In this case the main character, Leonardo, suffers from short-term memory loss due to a head injury. Leonardo’s goal is to find his wife’s murderer, but his condition makes it hard for him to do so. Leonardo fights his condition by writing notes to himself or tattooing his body with the information he gathers about people and places. He actually believes that this strategy is even better than remembering because memory is unreliable. According to Leonardo, "Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They're just an interpretation, they're not a record, and they're irrelevant if you have the facts.” And according to what we know about forgetting, this view is fundamentally accurate. The movie overall depicts memory and its mechanisms correctly, to a degree.
The first aspect that is depicted correctly by the movie is Leonardo’s short-term memory deficit. Leonard’s short-term memory loss is a case of anterograde amnesia. The director successfully depicts many symptoms of anterograde amnesia. Leonard remembers everything before his head injury injury but is unable to form any new episodic or semantic memories. Leonardo could spend hours with a person and an hour later he was not able to recognize that person. He experienced intense grief due to the loss of his wife but then he would forget, and then he would remember again and would feel the need to grieve again. He stated that because he can’t feel time he was in constant grief and was not able to heal. Lastly, Leonardo is depicted as aware of his memory problem, which also makes him able to realize that he needs to make all the notes in order to catch his wife’s killer.
The most famous evidence from literature that supports these illustrations of short-memory loss comes from the patient H.M.. After his operation for the removal of his medial temporal lobe he... [continues]
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