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The Memory Remains or the Remains of Memory?

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 08/21/10 at 10:17 AM CT

Ah amnesia, I had forgotten all about you. Whether through trauma, debilitating disease or just a good knock on the head, Hollywood can never let go of that old cliche of memory loss. It can be used for bad, however, it can also be used for some good. Here are my favorite films that are good to remember that happen to be about people forgetting.

1) Memento - No doubt this had to be the pinnacle for amnesia - in this case a very real phenomena known as anterograde amnesia in which one can form no new short-term memories. Out of things I wish never to get in my life, it would be close to the top. Plus, the idea of starting at the end and working backwards to the start of the story is pure genius in this case. It's a film that stands up to repeat viewings even if you know the outcome. It's especially fun to watch with first-time viewers - just don't spoil the end... er beginning.

2) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - I predict this will be Jim Carrey's crowning achievement. This is both a bitter and sweet story with some great visuals and better characters. In this case memory loss is voluntary - something you don't often come across, but is truly welcome this time around.

3) The Hangover - Not all memory loss has to be about trauma - sometimes it's pharmaceutical. In this case a general dose of roofies (why DON'T they call them floories?) makes an unforgettable bachelor party, well, forgettable. Hilarity ensues as a tiger, a missing tooth, baby, stripper wedding and naked man in the trunk all pop up and no one knows why. Piecing together the puzzle is a fun ride, and one of the most original comedies to come out in awhile.

4) The Bourne Identity - A man wakes up on a boat with no memory, but some super-awesome skills. Unraveling the mystery behind his power is one of the great things about the original Bourne film. Matt Damon may seem like an unconventional choice to play a super spy, but he manages to do a damn fine job kicking ass.

5) Mulholland Dr. - No one messes with the mind quite like David Lynch. In this case a woman shows up after a car accident with no memory and it's up to new arrival Betty Elms to unravel the mystery of her identity. Just when the mystery heats up, the film changes into something very different - and we're left with more questions than answers. Maybe no 100% about memory loss, but it play a significant role in the early goings.

So, am I forgetting anything? I seem to recall other films that deal with this subject, but they escape me at the moment.


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