Memories aren’t made of this: amnesia at the movies from PubMed Central – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535990
Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:
- What are the most common, real life causes of amnesia?
- How has amnesia been treated in the movies?
- Why is Dory from Finding Nemo considered an accurate portrayal of an amnesiac?
This 2004 article from the British Medical Journal is available full text. It traces the history of amnesia in cinema from 1915 forward. After examining dozens of movies, it found only three that represented amnesia and related memory problems with any real accuracy:
Numerous movies are singled out for their lack of accuracy, including The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and 50 First Dates (2004), and The Bourne Identity (2002). One gets the feeling that author Sallie Baxendale had to restrain herself from laughing during her cinematic researches.
Key takeaways for writers who want to be accurate about Amnesia:
- The most profound amnesic syndromes usually develop as a result of neurosurgery, brain infection, or a stroke.
- Head injuries can made you forget a short period before the accident and the accident itself. It won’t erase your identity.
- Organic amnesia comes with with severe and permanent difficulties in taking in new information.
- Head injuries are NOT a toggle switch. It’s not “One bump to forget and Two to remember.” You’ll just get more brain damage.
This article comes with a filmography, if you care to have an amnesiac film festival. Will it be a memorable experience? Only you can decide.