The movie "50 First Dates" portrays a woman who was involved in a car accident which resulted in the loss of her short term memory, a disorder named anterograde amnesia. The woman is able to remember all past relationships and situations before the accident but each day after the accident never remains in her memory; once she goes to sleep her memory of that day is wiped away resulting in her inability to create and store new memories. Each day, her father and brother reenact the day of the accident, thinking it is better to go through all the work of setting up that same day rather than explain the devastating loss of her memory to her every day.
This form of amnesia can occur from damage done to one of three different parts of the brain: the hippocampus, basal forebrain, or the diencephalon (Myers). The most common damaged is done through the hippocampus which is associated with the medial temporal lobes and plays an important role in storing new information in the memory (Myers). When it is damaged, no new information is able to pass through resulting in the loss of storing new memories (Myers). However, memories from the past are often times safe and the person is able to recall them upon command (Myers).
When a study was done on some amnesia patients, they were taught a skill or task such as playing a board game and then the next day they were asked if they remembered what skill they learned the previous day. Of course the patients had no idea what they had learned the previous day but when the researchers asked them to perform the task or skill, the patients were often times able to do well, showing that a very small portion of memories must have been formed. This was very accurately portrayed in the movie when the man who had been winning the woman's heart over each day came back to the hospital, where the woman had admitted herself, and she didn't know who the man was but she had dreams about him and her art studio was full of pictures that looked similar to the man showing that she had retained some memories of him even if they were very vague. Overall, this movie does a pretty decent job of portraying this form of amnesia as well as how people with the disorder have to live and the circumstances that they have to overcome.
Myers, Catherine."Memory Loss and the Brain".http://www.memorylossonline.com/glossary/anterogradeamnesia.html