In the movie 50 first dates, one of the main characters suffers from anterograde amnesia. Henry Roth is a marine life veterinarian playboy at Sea Park on Hawaii. He owns a boat in which he is trying to restore and hopes to use again to complete his dream of studying the walrus. His friends Ula and Alexa and Willy his pet penguin and Jocko the walrus is his workmate. One day he was sailing, and his boat breaking down. While waiting for the coast guard to come and help him with his boat. While Henry was waiting he saw a woman named Lucy and he approaches her, and they hit it off instantly, and she asks him to meet again tomorrow.
When Henry goes back to the café the next day, Lucy shows no memory of ever meeting him. The owner of the restaurant explains to Henry that Lucy and her father were in involved in a car accident, which was caused by a stray cow. It left Lucy with anterograde amnesia, which is called Goldfield Syndrome. It’s a type of amnesia that she is reliving that day of the accident. Her family and friends decided not to tell her about the accident worrying that it would upset her. They all decided that she would relive the day of her accident.
After a few days have passed, Henry asks Lucy to have breakfast with him. When he does he hurt her feelings somehow, and he decides to follow her home and tries to apologize, and that’s where he meets her father and brother and ask Henry to leave. But, Henry does not leave her, he decides to use her conditions against her to meet her again and again, but with different stories as pretending to have car trouble, getting beaten up by his friend Ula, creating a fake roadblock.
One day Lucy founds the truth, that it’s not October 13. How she found out it was a cop writing her a ticket saying that her plates were expired and Lucy argued back saying its October 13, but the cop shows her proof that it’s not October, 13. Her father and brother are forcing to admit their wrongdoing and confess. That’s when Henry comes up with an idea to use videotape explaining to Lucy her accident and their relationship, and she must watch it every morning. She watches the tape and is hurt, but she knows she must come to terms. She spends more time with Henry and goes sees her old friends. Henry asks Lucy on their 50 first date and while out on their date, Henry pops the question to marry him, and she said yes.
Lucy overhears her brother and father and Henry talking about Henry leaving for the Arctic, and that’s when she decided to erase him completely from her life, after learning of his decision not to sail to Bristol Bay, to study the walrus, something that he has been planning for about ten years. A few weeks past, he is getting ready to set sail. Lucy father tells Henry that Lucy is now living at the brain institute and is teaching art classes and that she also sings. While listening to the CD, Henry becomes emotional and annoyed with Lucy father for giving him the CD.
When he goes to see Lucy, Lucy says that she does not remember him, but then she dreams of him every night and paints him every day. Sometime, later, Lucy wakes up and plays the tape marked “Good Morning Lucy”. The video reminds her of her accident and relationship with Henry and their marriage. Lucy then sees that she is on Henry boat, which was finally made it to Alaska. She goes to meet her father and brother and Henry and their daughter, Nicole.
Anterograde amnesia is usually caused when a person has brain damage, most often to the hippocampus region (storing memory). Lucy has permanent brain damage due to a car accident she was involved in and suffered headed trauma. When people have this condition, they are basically stuck in time. When making new memory the brain storages them in the hippocampus region, but the hippocampus is damaged, which is not good because the person cannot restore their save their new memory. In other words, the person doesn’t realize that the memories exist. He or she will perpetually believe that it’s the day when the amnesia started, just like in the film.
So back to the movie – could Barrymore’s character somehow, unconsciously, remember Sandler’s character and her feelings for him? Surprisingly, the answer appears to be yes. Sure, it’s super cheesy and the film is pretty bad, all things considered. But the portrayal of anterograde amnesia is actually not horribly wrong.
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