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remember me connection to 50 first dates

Updated on August 18, 2011

this is something i wrote for a degree completion program that i didn't finish in 2010.

Maybe this isn't the most academic association but when I read "Remember Me?" by David Darling, right away I thought of the movie "50 First Dates" (2004). Drew Barrymore's character had suffered a brain injury during a car crash which had effected her short term memory. She could remember her entire life up until the day of the crash, but anything that happened since then she forgets when she goes to sleep at night. Adam Sandler's character meets her in a diner one day, and falls in love, not realizing at first that Barrymore's character would forget ever having met him, their conversation and any of the details of the day they had shared the following morning. This scenario reminded me a lot of the musician with Korsakov's syndrome as well as Jimmie G., the man Oliver Sacks met in 1975, who was still mentally stuck in 1945 shortly after World War II had ended. The following Darling quote really seems to describe the basic emotional response a person afflicted with this particular type of memory loss experiences daily in a succinct way, "To believe with all your heart and mind that it is one time when it is really three decades later is to be in continual peril of confronting horrible, inexplicable inconsistencies. It is like living in an alien world--- a world peopled by strangers who will always remain strange, and by relatives who appear unaccountably aged." The common elements between Barrymore's character in "50 First Dates", the musician with Korsakov's syndrome and Jimmie G., the 49 year old man who still thought he was a 19 year old Navy submarine sailor, is that despite their inability to reconcile current events and past events, they all retained the skills, memories, feelings/emotional responses and inherent personality traits that were key components in what may be considered to be their individual selves. In "50 First Dates", Sandler's character has the challenge of getting Barrymore's character to fall in love with him every day. Barrymore's response was usually favorable although depending on her mood and what Sandler said or did on that particular day, effected the outcome of whether or not she likes or dislikes Sandler before the day starts all over again. The fact that Barrymore kept falling in love with Sandler again and again, is a testament to how despite not being able to remember having met Sandler before, or how she felt about him, generally speaking the emotional responses to interacting with Sandler were in the end remarkably consistent. So though she did not remember meeting him when she woke up in the morning, because she was still the same person with the same likes and dislikes and because he was still the same as well, their overall compatibility ends up winning over her memory loss problem.


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