Philosophy in Movies: Identity
4522 8.1 8.51. Memento (2000)
I recently watched this for the first time, and I was mesmerized. It's the kind of movie you should go into without knowing anything about the premise or plot, if possible. It's an interesting exploration of identity. Leonard suffers from a neurological condition which has disabled his short term memory. When he falls asleep, or in moments of stress, his memory is wiped clean. When he awakens, he has to start over, with no recollection of what's happened before. In his quest to find his wife's murderer, he leaves himself mementos, photos with notes telling him whom he can trust and messages tattooed on his skin. Since he has no memory of his recent experiences and actions, starting anew each day, does he have a cohesive identity? Is he morally responsible for things he's done? This movie also has wonderful things to say about the varying reliability of memory.
3413 7.4 7.82. Being John Malkovich (1999)
I haven't seen this movie yet, but it's been recommended as a springboard for discussing this topic. A puppeteer discovers a hidden doorway in his office, which turns out to be a portal into actor John Malkovich's mind. If someone else is in your mind, do you still maintain your identity?
1583 7.3 7.63. The Thin Red Line (1998)
I haven't seen this movie yet, but it's been recommended as a springboard for discussing this topic. I don't yet know why. In World War II, a group of young soldiers is brought in to relieve battle-weary Marine units in Guadalcanal. The reasons for this war become increasingly distant until they're merely fighting for survival and the lives of their comrades.
683 7.6 7.84. Open Your Eyes (1997)
A disfigured man needs to have his face completely rebuilt. How does this affect his sense of identity?
2987 6.4 6.95. Vanilla Sky (2001)
This is a remake of Open Your Eyes.
5844 8 8.48. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
373 6 6.29. The Final Cut (2004)
Thanks to the giraffe for recommending this movie, which opens up a world where memory implants are used.
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