Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wake up one morning and forget everything about yourself? Pretty scary when you think about it, huh? But for some people, amnesia is very real and for those who suffer from it, it can have a huge impact on their life. Hollywood tends to use this condition and dramatize it to make compelling movies about people who forget who they are. One of my personal favorites is The Bourne Identity.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Jason Bourne is a CIA agent who was once a contract assassin who is found lost at sea with no recollection of who he is. The plot of the movie revolves around him trying to reclaim his memory and find out his true identity, with lots of action scenes mixed in. Bourne's amnesia would be classified as "general amnesia"; however, this is very rare. More common cases of amnesia are retrograde amnesia, losing memories from the past, and anterograde amnesia, being unable to form new memories. In these cases, people do not completely lose everything, as the case with Bourne, but it is quite difficult to recall or create memories.
So Hollywood may have embellished on the realities of amnesia, but in all honesty, who cares. It makes for an exciting movie and it is at least close enough to be somewhat realistic (his traumatizing past may play a role, increasing his chances for general amnesia). Below is one of my personal favorite scenes in the movie that illustrates Bourne's condition.