Memento

Movie review by
Carly Kocurek, Common Sense Media
Memento Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Innovative thriller has a mature premise, edgy content.
  • R
  • 2001
  • 116 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 24 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The main character is wholly motivated by vengeance.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters drink, smoke, steal, lie to one another, sell drugs, and commit murders.

Violence

The actions depicted in the film are set into motion by the rape and murder of Leonard's wife. Leonard is motivated solely by his desire to find and execute the man he believes killed her. Blood and fighting are seen.

Sex

Lots of bare-chested shots of the main character, plus one glimpse of his naked rear end.

Language

Many uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "c--t" and more.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The film deals extensively with drug deals, although the only drug use actually shown is a woman who snorted something that was probably cocaine.

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.

Wondering if Memento is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4 and 6-year-old Written byKvothe the Ruh April 1, 2019

Memento

One of the cleverest films of all time. The violence isn't gory and nothing is extreme. Makes you think.
Parent of a 14-year-old Written byThe3WiseBubbies September 3, 2018

Clever and well-crafted

This is a film for adults and yes there is some strong language and mature themes. In many ways it’s contemporary film noir. It’s also a great example of what h... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySmart teen Reviewer June 3, 2019

Great for tweens, but lots of violence

"Memento" is an exciteing thriller made in a style not usually seen. Cursing is present, but not over the top. Drugs and alcohol are talked about a lo... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byEmmy2233 May 20, 2016

Little children will not understand.

I really loved the movie memento. It is complicated though and younger viewers will not understand the movie. There is violence and swearing all throughout the... Continue reading

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 ...

  • Families can talk about Memento's unorthodox storytelling. Did you find the different style here engaging -- or just confusing?

  • Why don't more movies take risks like this one? Can you think other stories -- movies, books, etc. -- that unfold in non-linear ways?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate