Memory Lane

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memory loss

In my thirty something old age, I find that I am having more and more trouble remembering things. My friends have basically stopped saying “Remember that time when…” as they know a lengthy story still won’t get me to recall that incident in Australia when we met so-and-so. Maybe I need to take more ginseng or other memory enhancing supplements. Good thing that in today’s modern age, there are iPhone photos, facebook posts and text messages to help piece together memories that otherwise would be lost to me forever. That said, I’m amazed by the things that do manage to stick in my mind. I remember my dad telling me at the age of nine that I weighed less after crying so hard. Of all the things that happened on that one particular day, why was that the little nugget my mind has held on to? I do my part to cement my favorite memories into my head so that they can’t escape. My best friend Charlotte and I had a super secret handshake in high school that we sometimes re-enact to help us remember the funny times. Putting our fingers together in the shape of a round ball reminds us of doing the clock and book for the boys basketball team. Reciting the name (yes, it was a vocal handshake) “Eunice” reminds us of our favorite Cosby Show episode when Claire accused Cliff of liking Eunice Chantilly. Memories are so important and can usually bring a smile to my face. So, I feel terribly bad for the following movie characters who have struggled with memory loss:

Lucy Whitmore – Drew Barrymore played the lovable Lucy Whitmore in 2004’s 50 First Dates. After a car accident, Lucy was diagnosed with an affliction that caused her mind to erase everything that happened after the morning of the accident. For months, she wakes up each day and does the exact same thing, not realizing that time has passed. Her brother (played hilariously and with a lisp by Sean Astin), and father help to keep up the charade by eating birthday cake, watching the same movie and reading the same newspaper every single day. This goes on until Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) shows up and falls in love with her. Spoiler alert: She never gets her memory back, but Henry finds a way to make himself stick.

Jason Bourne – If you ever think you are having a bad day, just picture yourself floating in the ocean with a bullet wound and having no idea how you got there. That’s how 2002’s The Bourne Identity starts, with Bourne (Matt Damon) floating in the water. He begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together, as his very specific skill set leads him to the conclusion that he is, in fact, an assassin who was shot and thrown overboard after a botched attempt to take out a political figure. I love this movie because a) I like looking at Matt Damon and b) there are some fantastic shots of Europe throughout. But I don’t envy anyone in that situation.

Samantha Caine / Charly Baltimore – Samantha Caine, played by the amazing Geena Davis, is a wonderful wife and mom who suffers from amnesia in 1996’s The Long Kiss Goodnight. Charly Baltimore is the person Samantha was before she lost her memory and whose personality — she too was an assassin — starts to come through. My favorite part of this movie is when Samantha is in the kitchen with her family making dinner. Something clicks while she is cutting vegetables and she is all of a sudden aware of her fantastic ability to chop. The family gets very excited, thinking she has recovered something about her past — she must be a chef! — when she suddenly throws her knife against the kitchen wall to kill a bug, 20 feet away. Not necessarily something that Rachael Ray could do. She then teams up with her former partner (played by Samuel L. Jackson) to wreak havoc on the very people who stole her memory and her life in the first place. Believable, no, but amnesia stories hardly ever are. Just ask any character on a soap opera, ever.

Allie Calhoun – Allie (Rachel McAdams) and Noah (Ryan Gosling) had a love story for the ages in 2004’s The Notebook. It was your classic “boy-loves-girl, girls-parents-don’t-think-boy-is-good enough, girl-tries-to-forget-about-boy-but-can’t” love story that is told to a woman in a nursing home by a kind old man. Only later do we learn that the kind old man is Noah and the woman is Allie, who in her old age, has forgotten her very own past. It’s a heart warming scene when after a day of story telling, older Allie does in fact remember and embraces her love, and we realize Noah has told her their love story many times before, just to have the one moment at the end of each day when she remembers. Brings tears to my eyes to think about it. That and, of course, the famous line by Noah in the rain before grabbing Allie and kissing her: “It wasn’t over. It still isn’t over.” Ah.

So that’s my walk down memory lane. We forgot… What movie character who suffers from memory loss is your favorite?

Lucy – 50 First Dates
Jason – The Bourne Identity
Samantha / Charly – The Long Kiss Goodnight
Allie – The Notebook

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