50 First Dates
In the movie 50 First Dates, one of the main characters suffers from the severe condition of anterograde amnesia. The movie is about Henry Roth who is a wildlife veterinarian in Hawaii, meeting Lucy Whitmore a woman who has a short-term memory loss from an auto accident a year earlier. Henry meets Lucy at a local cafe and takes her out on a date. Henry falls in love with Lucy, but there is one problem when she awakens in the morning, she can’t remember him or anything that happened that day. Henry must devise a plan to meet Lucy every day and try to get her to fall in love with him again and again.
Lucy Whitmore is the character with anterograde amnesia. Anterograde amnesia is a loss of memory of what happens after the event that caused the amnesia. It is different from retrograde amnesia, where memories prior to the event are forgotten. To a large degree, anterograde amnesia remains a mysterious ailment because the precise mechanism of storing memories is not yet well-understood, although scientists know which regions of the brain are involved. The disease is usually either drug-induced or caused by a traumatic brain injury in which there is usually damage to the hippocampus or surrounding cortices.
In Lucy’s case, the amnesia is from traumatic brain injury. Every day Lucy Whitmore wakes up and can’t remember what happened the day before. She wakes up every day and thinks it’s the day before her accident. Every day Henry has to come up with a new way to make Lucy fall in love with him all over again. Lucy’s disorder greatly affects Henry’s life since every day he is so occupied with trying to get Lucy back. He could spend a whole day with Lucy and she could fall madly in love with him, but the next day she won’t have a clue who he is.
For example, when Lucy wakes up in Henry’s bed one morning she freaks out and goes crazy because she thinks he’s a stranger. Her inability to hold on to short term memory makes it very difficult for her and Henry to be together. Lucy’s father and brother spend everyday reenacting the day before the accident which was her father’s birthday to prevent her from learning the truth about the accident so she doesn’t have a psychological breakdown. They are very overprotective of her and create a safety net over her whole life.
So every day her father and brother repaint the barn which she paints every day, watch The Sixth Sense, and provide her with a copy of the same paper. Her brother and dad spend most of their time keeping Lucy from the truth. Her lack of short term memory and possession of long term memories turn her brother and father’s lives’ into an everyday replay. One time after Henry and Lucy break up he visits Lucy and sees all of her paintings. Obviously, when he comes by she doesn’t recognize him except that he looks like the man she has been painting. All her recent paintings include Henry in them.
That means Henry has helped her somewhat retain some of her short term memories. Lucy’s disease is a very life-changing and sad thing to happen to anybody. When somebody possesses this and they don’t know they have it, they can’t live a real life. Also, the people in their lives have a big burden and a tough task to live with. Henry finally finds a solution, in the end, to help with Lucy’s situation. He makes a tape about their life and how they are in love and every day she wakes up and watches it and learns about her accident. By doing this she is almost able to live a normal life just like everybody else.