A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Memento follows the efforts of a man to avenge the rape and murder of his wife. Throughout the film, Leonard is motivated solely by his desire to find and execute the man he believes killed her. Characters drink, smoke, steal, lie to one another, sell drugs and commit murders. This isn't a film that most viewers will be able to absorb easily: The plot is relayed in a jumbled fashion, as Leonard suffers from short-term memory lost, and the audience primarily relies on him for information. Expect strong language, some blood and fighting, and a dark/mature feel.
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What's the story?
Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) wakes up one night to find his wife missing from their bed. When he goes looking for her, he interrupts a man in the process of sexually assaulting her in the bathroom. Leonard suffers a blow to the head which destroys his short-term memory. The last thing he remembers is his wife dying, and he is bent on revenge. Without a short-term memory to guide him, Leonard relies on Polaroids, notes, and daily tattoos to assist him in closing in on his wife's killer.
Is it any good?
When first released in 2000, MEMENTO made quite a splash; the film's narrative is far from traditional, and the movie is definitely aimed at an audience with a high level of visual literacy. The story is relayed in fragments, echoing Leonard's experience of short-term memory loss.
For many viewers, the film will be something of a head-scratcher, the kind of thing that bears a few repeat viewing and a lot of furrowed brows. Director Christopher Nolan's sparse style plays well here. The plot is complex enough on its own, and the film rests largely on the strong performances of the major characters.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: March 16, 2001
- On DVD or streaming: April 2, 2002
- Cast: Carrie-Anne Moss, Guy Pearce, Joe Pantoliano
- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 116 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, language, and some drug content.
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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