Forgetful Lucy

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In the popular movie, 50 First Dates, starring Adam Sandler (as Henry) and Drew Barrymore (as Lucy), memory loss is demonstrated. Lucy suffers brain injuries as a result of a car accident. Henry falls in love with Lucy, just for her to forget who he is the very next day. Demonstrated by her actions and words in the movie, it can be concluded that the accident resulted in damage to her hippocampus. The hippocampus is critical to our memory. She suffers from anterograde amnesia, the inability to encode new memories from her experiences.
50 First Dates accurately portrays the result of memory loss with the presence of amnesia. Unlike other movies, this movie contains more scientifically accurate information, as Lucy never regains her memory. It is a common misconception that you will instantly gain back your memory after such trauma. Some individuals may gain back some memory slowly while others will not at all.
She maintains a daily routine, reliving each and every day the exact same. Her routine consists of picking up the newspaper (which is always from the same date), ordering waffles at the local diner, and painting her room. Similar to Henry Molaison, or more commonly known as H.M., whom we read about in the text, she lives everyday as if it were alone by itself. Whatever pain or happiness she has experienced will be forgotten the next day. However, in H.M.'s case, he had surgery, removing large chunks of his hippocampi, in order to stop his epileptic seizures. Instead, he developed this rare form of anterograde amnesia. It is extremely unlikely that a car accident or any other sort of accident could result in such severe brain damage. This movie portrays a similar condition to H.M.'s, Hollywood just tends to portray the most dramatic of circumstances. H.M. and Lucy's lives have essentially been frozen in time, reliving each day the same, without retaining or learning any new information.
50 First Dates acts as comical relief for this rare form of amnesia as seen in this clip:


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You did a good job deeply analyzing this movie and relating it to the text from class. I have seen this movie several times and I never would have guessed that the amnesia displayed in the movie was scientifically accurate. I think its very surprising that Hollywood actually got their facts right for once. You also did a good job using detail in your blog post.

I love this movie! Good job on relating the text to the movie. I was also surprised to learn that this is a more accurate representation of amnesia than some other movies. I liked that you talked about what part of her brain was affected by the accident and what kind of amnesia she had. It is interesting that you mentioned that a car accident probably could not have caused that kind of damage to one's memory.

I remember seeing this movie a long time ago, and you did a great job relating it to what we have been studying. I never would have guessed that this movie would actually portray information correctly. Its also interesting that they don't have her regain her memory like most movies do to make a better ending. By not doing that it portrays her condition more accurately. It's interesting to know that they are enjoyable movies out there to watch that can also teach you something new at the same time.

Nice job with the blog! One thing that I was curious about is how Lucy remembers what she is doing during the day, but forgets everything she did from the previous day when she goes to sleep at night. Is that possible? I thought that with anterograde amnesia you would forget what you were doing after your short-term memory is up? So that would mean that she forgets meeting Adam Sandler after only a few seconds, instead of when she goes to bed? I wonder if there is anyone in the world who has memory loss when they go to bed at night?

I really like that you used specifics from the book to relate to something we all know in describing anterograde amnesia and the hippocampus. I know when Lucy went to an institution for a while she also met, "30 second Joe" where he forgot everything that happened 30 sec ago (just relating back to the previous comment). If hollywood was still being scientifically correct at this point in the movie, then I'm sure that there are many different types and extremities of amnesia.

I liked the connection you made to the case of Henry Molaison. It made me wonder if the writers of 50 first days named Adam Sandler's character Henry, as a head-nod to H-M. This movie reminds me a little bit of The Notebook, where Allie suffers from Alzheimers. Comparing these two movies I would think that Allie's Alzheimers is different from Lucy's amnesia because Allie is eventually able to remember the memories, while Lucy is not able to make them in the first place. I would be interested in learning more about the difference between these two.

I've seen this movie plenty of times and love it! Before learning about anterograde amnesia, I had no idea that this movie was an accurate portrayal of an actual disorder. You did a great job of adding a lot of detail to your post. Tying in the story of H.M. was really smart and the clip at the end helped lighten the mood after reading such a sad blog.

I remember watching this movie when it came out and found it very sweet. I did think it was totally bogus in premise however. Now that I have learned that these types of maladies are present in some people it takes a different form for me, a bit more true to life. It would be almost impossible to imagine gaining whatever time that was missed by watching a video tape of the life I missed and accepting it. The movie tries to depict this when Sandler's character goofs up a few times and receives a punishing response. The man in the video from lecture became much more agitated and angry in response to his situation. Perhaps the duration of her recollection allows for greater tolerance or that she has more time to cope and understand. It is a interesting albeit sad condition.

Lucy is just experiencing the anterograde amnesia that patients cannot encode new memories from our experience. So Lucy's memory always keep the same--same newspaper, same breakfast, and even same painting. Her father and brother try to make her life normal by hiding the truth. Actually, even they told her that what the real date is and her disease, she would forget all on the next day. This is what the anterograde amnesia looks like.

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This page contains a single entry by polla121 published on February 29, 2012 9:03 PM.

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