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"MEMENTO"
(2001) (Guy Pearce, Joe Pantoliano) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Heavy Extreme Heavy Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Heavy None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy None Moderate Mild Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: A man must deal with his inability to retain short-term memories as he tries to sort through various clues that may help him find his wife's killer.
PLOT:
Leonard Shelby (GUY PEARCE) is a former insurance investigator turned amateur detective who's searching for the man who raped and murdered his wife some time ago. The only problem is that he was also injured during that attack, leaving him with no short-term memory retention. Although he knows who he is and can recall everything from before the attack, he can't remember anyone he meets or any fact he uncovers for more than a few minutes.

To compensate, he records his meetings and discoveries with Polaroid snapshots, as well as notes written on paper and tattooed on his body. Nevertheless, he's never sure of any new information or people he meets, including Teddy (JOE PANTOLIANO) who claims to be a cop helping him, or Natalie (CARRIE-ANNE MOSS), a barmaid who may or may not have ulterior motives in assisting him in his search.

As he recalls investigating a case from his past involving a man, Sammy Jankis (STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY) who similarly claimed to have no short term memory, Leonard tries to find his wife's killer despite his memory problem, all while we watch the story unfold in reverse chronological order.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might be interested in it (especially due to what should be strong word of mouth), as might anyone who's a fan of someone in the cast.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence, language and some drug content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • GUY PEARCE plays a former insurance investigator turned amateur detective who's trying to find his wife's murderer, all while dealing with no short term memory that prevents him from recalling anyone or anything he doesn't immediately record in some fashion. At the very beginning of the film, we see him shoot and kill someone, and he uses strong profanity.
  • CARRIE-ANNE MOSS plays a barmaid who may or may not have ulterior motives in helping Leonard. She also uses strong profanity.
  • JOE PANTOLIANO plays a man who helps Leonard and claims to be a cop. He also uses strong profanity.
  • STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY plays a man who Leonard once investigated about his claim of not having any short-term memory.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick summary of the content found in this R-rated thriller. Profanity is listed as extreme due to the use of at least 74 "f" words. Other expletives and colorful phrases are also used, as is some brief, but sexually explicit dialogue. Some sex and/or fooling around is implied (we see unmarried couples in bed, but don't see any activity), a man's bare butt is seen in a nonsexual context, as is a woman in her bra and panties.

    Violence consists of several people being shot to death with guns (with bloody results) and brief and partial flashbacks to a wife apparently being raped and killed, along with other non-lethal acts such as people threatening or shooting at others with guns and various instances of fighting or striking others, etc. Some of those scenes may be unsettling or tense for some viewers, and various characters involved in all of that have varying degrees of bad attitudes, some of them rather severe. Some tense family moments involve the strained marriage of two minor characters.

    A few people drink, one minor character appears to snort cocaine, and some imitative behavior is present. Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may want to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listing for more specific examples of what occurs in it.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • One of the facts tattooed onto Leonard's body states "drug dealer" and there are later comments about that again (along with talk of some junkies) as well as drugs being stashed in a car, but we don' t see them.
  • We see a beer bottle on a bedside table in a motel room.
  • We see Leonard holding a bottle of booze. He's surprised to find himself holding it and then states that he doesn't feel drunk (because he's not, and this scene is seen twice).
  • A woman in a bathroom appears to have snorted cocaine or something similar when Leonard walks in.
  • A man drinks in a bar where Natalie serves Leonard what's presumably something alcoholic.
  • Teddy mentions that it's "beer-o'clock" and tells Leonard that he's buying.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a dead and bloody body in a Polaroid photo that also shows blood on the wall and floor near the body. We then see the real thing, but note that the blood is flowing up the wall as the scene progresses in reverse from after the killing to before it.
  • Leonard has a few bloody scrapes on his face.
  • Teddy has some blood in his mouth after being hit.
  • Natalie has a dried cut on her lip and a bruise on her face from where someone hit her.
  • We see a Polaroid of a man with tape covering his mouth and blood from his nose and on his face. We later see the real man.
  • We hear, but don't see someone urinating in a toilet.
  • We briefly see a homemade tattoo needle going into Leonard's skin.
  • Natalie comes in, claiming that her boyfriend beat her (she's a bit bruised and has a bit of blood from her nose and lip).
  • Mad at a woman for antagonizing him, Leonard first grabs her by the face and then eventually punches her, sending her to the floor and bloodying her nose/mouth.
  • Trying to see if his story about not having any short-term memory is true, Natalie gets a stranger and Leonard to spit into a mug, and then hocks up some spit herself to go into the mug. She then waits a moment and then serves it to Leonard who's already forgotten what he just saw and did (and thus drinks from the mug).
  • A pool of blood runs from behind a man's head after he's hit there and lands hard on a bathroom floor.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • To prevent giving away the film's ending, we'll simply say that certain characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes that are discovered as the story unfolds.
  • We learn that a motel clerk is apparently charging Leonard for two rooms, realizing that Leonard will forget discovering that or making such payments, etc. due to his condition.
  • Natalie tells Leonard that she'll pay him if he gets rid of her abusive boyfriend for her, and then purposefully antagonizes him by making disparaging remarks about him and his late wife.
  • Trying to see if his story about not having any short-term memory is true, Natalie gets a stranger and Leonard to spit into a mug, and then hocks up some spit herself to go into the mug. She then waits a moment and then serves it to Leonard who's already forgotten what he just saw and did (and thus drinks from the mug).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may also be tense to some viewers.
  • In a flashback scene, Leonard awakens to hear his wife struggling with someone. He then grabs his gun and races to the bathroom where he finds an assailant over his wife whose face is covered with what looks like the shower curtain. Leonard then shoots this man and goes to help his wife, but is then hit over the head and falls hard to the floor where a pool of blood then runs from behind his head.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handgun: Used to threaten or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "(I) F*cked up," "You f*ck," "What the f*ck is this/that?" "You f*cking quack," "Who the f*ck are you?" "What the f*ck have you gotten me into?" "Who the f*ck is that?" "How the f*ck did you get him up here?" "I f*cking hope not," "F*ck you," "You f*cker," "Great f*cking idea," "You f*cking idiot," "How the f*ck would you know?" "You don't know a f*cking thing," "You f*cking retard," "F*cked" (nonsexual), "Get the f*ck out of here," "What the f*ck are you talking about?" "What the f*ck is wrong with you?" "No conspiracy, just bad f*cking luck," "Bullsh*t," "Sh*thole," "Can't do sh*t," "He beat the sh*t out of me," "You pathetic piece of sh*t," "You're full of sh*t," "Don't be a pr*ck," "What the hell..." "Freak," "That must suck," "Bastard," "Shut up," "Jeez," "Schmuck," "Whore," "Line of crap" and "These are not the kind of people you want to piss off."
  • In a flashback and while angered at suddenly being shocked during a test, Sammy gives "the finger" to those testing them (this is seen a few times).
  • Leonard uses a homemade, makeshift tattoo needle to apply tattoos (of words) to his own body.
  • Leonard knocks on a motel door, waits until he sees she shadow of the person inside cross over the peephole, and then kicks in the door, knowing it will hit the person inside on the face.
  • Trying to see if his story about not having any short-term memory is true, Natalie gets a stranger and Leonard to spit into a mug, and then hocks up some spit herself to go into the mug. She then waits a moment and then serves it to Leonard who's already forgotten what he just saw and did (and thus drinks from the mug).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A few quick images and sudden and loud, but very brief sounds might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 74 "f" words (1 used sexually), 23 "s" words, 2 slang terms for/using male genitals ("c*ck" and "pr*ck"), 1 slang term using female genitals ("c*nt"), 1 crap, 1 hell, 2 uses of "For Christ's sakes" and 1 use each of "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" as exclamations.
  • We also see a few images of Sammy saying the "f" word, but we don't hear them.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Leonard wakes up in bed with Natalie, thus implying that they may have fooled around (although we don't see any such activity or nudity, etc.).
  • While consoling Leonard, Natalie slowly starts taking of his shirt (and then becomes interested in his tattoos).
  • Teddy jokes about Leonard being finished playing with himself (the wrong reason for Leonard being slow to open his motel door for Teddy).
  • We briefly see Leonard's bare butt after he's gotten out of the shower.
  • We briefly see several views of Leonard's former wife in her bra and panties (but nothing explicit).
  • Leonard tells a female "escort" who he's "ordered" that he wants her to wait until he's asleep to slam the door to his bathroom (to wake him up), and for her to place several of his dead wife's objects around the bedroom as if she were using them. The escort looks at him strangely and states, "Whatever gets you off" (but he's not doing this for sexual reasons and nothing sexual is seen, although we do see the two in bed - no nudity - as she gets up to do the door slamming thing.
  • Trying to antagonize Leonard, Natalie says that she's heard his condition can be caused by venereal diseases and then adds that maybe his wife "sucked one too many diseased c*cks and turned you into a f*cking retard."
  • Teddy reminds Leonard about "the guy who cracked your skull and f*cked your wife."
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Although Leonard doesn't really seem to grieve over his wife's death, it certainly has an effect on him.
  • We see a few tension filled scenes between Sammy and his wife who's having a hard time coming to grips with his unique condition. This eventually puts quite the strain on her, ultimately leading to her death (via an insulin overdose).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Short-term memory loss, how some people suffer from that, and what it must be like not being able to recall anything that just happened.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see a dead and bloody person on the floor and then see their murder by gunshot take place in reverse.
  • Leonard grabs Teddy and hits him over the head with his gun. He then holds the gun to his forehead, threatening to shoot him.
  • A person shoots and kills another person.
  • We see a flashback to some researchers testing Sammy and having him pick up some objects, one of which is slightly electrified, and thus shocks him.
  • We see some extremely brief flashes and hear related sounds of Leonard's wife being attacked (this occurs several times during the film).
  • Leonard briefly holds a gun to a man's back as they walk out of a motel.
  • Leonard blasts out of a shower and knocks a man into a wall, repeatedly punches him and then smashes his head against a wall. The other man then pushes Leonard aside who grabs a bottle of liquor and whacks the man over the head with it, knocking him to the floor. He then tapes this man up.
  • A man fires a shot at Leonard as he briefly chases him.
  • Leonard kicks open a door, hitting a man in the face (after waiting to see his shadow cross over the peep hole). We don't see the impact of the door on the man, but do see the man then lying on the floor.
  • A man shoots at Leonard, blowing out a window in his car, and then chases after him.
  • Natalie comes in, claiming that her boyfriend beat her (she's a bit bruised and a tiny bit bloody).
  • Mad at a woman for antagonizing him, Leonard first grabs her by the face and then eventually punches her in the face, sending her to the floor and bloodying her nose/mouth.
  • In a flashback scene, Leonard awakens to hear his wife struggling with someone. He then grabs his gun and races to the bathroom where he finds an assailant over his wife whose face is covered with what looks like the shower curtain. Leonard then shoots this man, but another man apparently slams him into the wall and Leonard falls hard to the floor where a pool of blood then runs from behind his head.
  • A woman kills herself via an overdose of insulin repeatedly but unknowingly administered by someone else.
  • Leonard hits a man over the head with tire iron or crow bar (or something similarly metal). The two then struggle and Leonard then ends up choking/strangling this man.
  • Leonard hits Teddy over the back of the head.



  • Reviewed March 12, 2001 / Posted March 30, 2001

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