MEMENTO: If we were movie critics, I’d give it 5 stars

If your school tells you they use transformative learning, they really do.

For the last few meetings, we watched a very very very mind boggling movie. Memento, a very very very mind boggling movie (yes, it needs to be emphasized hence the repetition), was directed by one of the most famous producers and directors in America, Christoper Nolan. Guy Pearce and  Carrie-Anne Moss starred in the movie.


For the first timers out there who has not seen the movie yet, check out this trailer. BEWARE: Prepare your brain!!

The trailer is just a part of it. We recommend you watch it — If you’re prepared for something .

After watching the movie for the first time, we were all baffled. We kept on spitting out ideas and assumptions we think are right. The movie was that intense. Everyone in our group, while discussing the truth behind the movie, kept on pulling hair out of their heads. It was crazy. In the end, we were able to  establish the facts based on our own understandings. But we still had questions.

Before my groupmates and I turn this into a long movie review taken from, we actually want to clear the air by posting it to this vast void in the world of the internet and answer a few things we used as guide questions through out the movie. We used Plato and the 4 noble truths in order to form the questions; Plato’s allegory of the cave, false and true reality, our own mirrors, the truth and the representation of the 4 noble truths.

Let’s get the ball rolling!

The central theme of Plato’s allegory of the cave revolves around people’s perception of reality. In Plato’s allegory of the cave, there are only 2 kinds of people, those that remained in the cave and the one who was able to see life beyond the cave. Those who remained in the cave didn’t question and firmly believed in what they think was real. They believed that the shadows were real and that’s all there is. While on the other hand, the one who was able see life beyond the cave developed a different perspective about reality. He found out that what other’s was seeing is not true but just a shadow. Unlike the others, he based his reality with his 5 senses.

In comparison with this, there are also 2 realities; the objectivist and the subjectivist.


Those who remained in the cave can be considered as a subjectivist. They based their reality with experience. For them, reality depends on the person. While for the objectivist, he based his reality with empirical evidences and can be tested.

How does the mind separate false reality from true reality? The mind separates false reality from true reality through first knowing whether an individual perceives something in an objective way or in a subjective way. True reality for an objectivist’s perspective is something that is scientifically proven. They believe that there is standard Truth for everything and that this “Truth” should be believed and followed by everyone. In a subjectivist’s perspective, what they consider as true reality are the different perceptions of people. What one considers true may count as false for others. For them, different perceptions do not matter as long as what every different individual holds as true remains true for every different individual. The different perceptions however for an objectivist’s perspective is considered as the false reality while the standard “Truth” for a subjectivist’s perspective is what they consider as false reality. So, in order to separate both kinds of realities, one has to know first his/her kind perspective.

In line with the movie (following the objectivist’s perspective), Lenny was able to create false reality through creating scenarios and his own version of the story about how his wife died.



He only created stories that are in his accordance. He did not really consider asking himself whether he is also involved in the killing. He only based his assumptions about what is true through the written things on his body and on his Polaroid photos. However, the mind was able to separate false reality from the true reality in the movie through the help of other people who made him realize and told him what the Truth is; the real story about how his wife died — and in this case, it was he (Lenny) who killed his own wife.

The movie closes with Lenny saying, “We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I’m no different.” Lenny’s “mirrors” were his memory devices. Image

We realized there are so many things we can use to define who we are. Everyone is different from one another and have their own ways of approaching things. I may see a glass as half-empty while another may see it as half full. Someone may see the sky as the color “blue” but someone may see it as “green.” They are all different perspectives and they are all true. Our mirrors to remind us is no different. People do a lot of different things to remind themselves of the little things. Some may jot it down on small sticky notes, keep a planner, write a to-do list, take a photo and pin it on their wall, or maybe even paint it on a canvas, or frame it and hang it on a wall to forever have that memory. Some may even draw conclusions of who they are by seeing the kinds of belongings they have. If you have bookshelves filled with books, it may mean that you are a bookworm. If you have a collection of makeup, pretty and frilly clothes as well a hundred pairs of shoes, you must be a girl. Bottom line is, people do different things to remember. And it doesn’t entirely matter how they do it, as long as it works. I may use sticky notes, she may use a to-do list and they may use photos. The method may vary but it all does the same thing—remind us of what we need to do and who we are.

There is a truth out there. There is a truth in the movie and there is a truth for Lenny.

There is no single truth. For Leonard, he makes up his truths as he goes along. Stating a small t for truth, it means that our knowledge is contextual. It is socially constructed. For instance, in the movie, when Leonard said he will lie for the sake of his happiness, he does not have a concrete basis of what is right or wrong. He relies what he knows based on what he wants to believe in. If we really analyze the movie, it is objective. There is something real out there. There are two facts in the movie no one can alter. First, Leonard’s wife died. Second, Leonard has short term memory loss. This facts are widely accepted by anyone.

Leonard accepts them but still proves that most of the time the truth is subjective.


Truth is subjective because for Leonard, since he has short term memory loss, he forgets easily. His interpretation of truth differs from Teddy’s. There are scenes where he only believe what his minds tell him. The last scene, I believe, really depicts such a subjective point of view. “Do I lie to myself to be happy? In your case Teddy, yes I will.” That line shows how he makes up truth just because Leonard felt stupid after Teddy told him that they found the killer. He burned the photo after then burying the truth. He covered the points in his life because he thinks those memories are meant to be buried and forgotten. To be more specific, Leonard do not remember the part that her wife survived the rape. What he forgot,what he supressed in his memory is that after the r (what he remembered is that her wife died. He delved into the alleged death and rape he forgot her wife died. He created a truth based on what he only remembers and because of the incident. A question might still be pondering in your mind. What has natalie got to do with everything? She has nothing to do with Lenny’s past. She’s part of something out there. She’s part of the continuum. But how is she subjective? because she is one of the truth manipulators. She is part of In the movie, Natalie provoked Lenny by telling him he will never remember anything and still be best friends with him. She told things like his wife was a whore. Lenny, being as helpless as his memory, erupted and punched Natalie. To cut the story short, natalie was able to make Lenny beleieve that Dodd hit him when in fact. It was he. Lenny’s short tterm meory was triggered again in terms of pressure and tense to remember this but failed after hearing the car door slam. Lenny believed in something someone told him based on what he thinks are injuries made by Dodd. For him, this injuries are made Another example would be, the corrupt officer, Teddy a.k.a John G. Assuming Teddy told the truth about the fact that they already killed John G, Lenny still believed what he wants to believe. The real truth was affected when Teddy made Lenny look like an idiot after killing the drug dealer. Therefore, Teddy is also a truth manipulator. Thus, saying “do i lie to myself to be happy? In your case teddy, yes i will” The truth in this movie is what Leonard believes in .

In relation to the four noble truths, the suffering that Lenny experienced was his sickness called “short-term memory loss.” This sickness was caused by his attachment to his wife. However, Lenny’s wife died because of over dosage from a medicine done by himself. But his last memory only reminded him that John G. was the one who killed his wife so he was just creating his own reality. Therefore, he was also creating his own cause of suffering because he kept on searching John G; a John G who might not exist.


After analyzing the events, we believe Leonard was not able to overcome the third and fourth truth which are elimination of cause and pathway leading to the end of suffering. He will only be able to reach the cessation of his suffering when he accepts the fact that he killed his wife and move on.

Memento was really mind boggling. Even after answering the questions, we have to admit, there MIGHT be other possible answers but ours, we think we nailed it.

As for Leonard, lose the tattoos man!

As for Guy Pearce and Christopher Nolan, 5 stars for the both of you!



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