In this section of our Colossus Movie Guide for Memento, we answer questions you have about the movie. If you’re curious about plot explanations, meanings, themes, lessons, motifs, symbols, or just confused by something, ask and we’ll do our best to answer.
- Guy Pearce – Leonard Shelby
- Carrie-Anne Moss – Natalie
- Joe Pantoliano – John Edward “Teddy” Gammell
- Mark Boone Junior – Burt
- Russ Fega – Waiter
- Jorja Fox – Catherine Shelby
- Stephen Tobolowsky – Samuel R. “Sammy” Jankis
- Harriet Sansom Harris – Mrs. Jankis
- Thomas Lennon – Doctor
- Callum Keith Rennie – Dodd
Memento | Questions and Answers
Did Leonard really make up the story about Sammy? Or was Teddy lying to him?
The uncertainty surrounding the truth about Sammy Jankis is central to the deeper meaning of Memento. As viewers, we are initially led to believe that Sammy is a separate individual whose tragic story serves as a cautionary tale for Leonard. However, the revelation that Sammy’s story may be Leonard’s own casts a profound doubt on Leonard’s reliability as a narrator and complicates our understanding of his character.
This ambiguity not only reflects the film’s exploration of the unreliability of memory but also raises crucial questions about identity. If Leonard has indeed fabricated Sammy’s story, it suggests that our identities are not fixed entities but rather narratives that we construct and continually revise. In Leonard’s case, the possible fabrication of Sammy’s story is a means of escaping guilt and preserving a version of himself that he can live with.
The confusion surrounding Sammy’s story also serves to implicate the audience in Leonard’s quest for truth. As we grapple with the uncertainty of Leonard’s narrative, we question our own understanding and interpretation of the events. Much like Leonard, we must navigate a complex web of half-truths and deception, reflecting the film’s exploration of memory and truth back onto us as viewers.
Why would Leonard make up the Sammy Jenkins story in the first place?
Leonard’s remembrance of his wife’s insulin overdose is one of the most poignant and complex moments in Memento. His recollection of this event, which supposedly occurred after his injury, contradicts his assertion that he is incapable of forming new memories. This apparent inconsistency suggests that Leonard’s condition might not be as clear-cut as he believes, indicating that he might be suppressing certain memories rather than simply forgetting them.
The creation of the Sammy Jenkins story could be seen as a psychological defense mechanism, a way for Leonard to displace his guilt and create a narrative that absolves him of responsibility for his wife’s death. In this way, the Sammy Jenkins story becomes a manifestation of Leonard’s denial and self-deception.
This aspect of the film raises profound questions about the nature of memory and the role it plays in our identity. It suggests that our memories are not merely passive recordings of past events but active constructions that shape our understanding of ourselves and our past. If Leonard can create a false memory to escape his guilt, it implies that our memories, and hence our identities, are malleable and subject to our desires and fears. This idea further complicates the film’s exploration of memory, identity, and truth, providing a deeper layer of meaning for viewers to unpack.
Who is Dodd and why does Natalie want him dead?
Dodd is a threatening figure in Natalie’s life, which is deeply enmeshed within a criminal underworld. While the film does not explicitly state why Natalie wants Dodd dead, it provides several clues through Natalie’s actions and dialogue.
Natalie’s boyfriend, Jimmy Grantz, was murdered (by Leonard, though she is unaware of this), and Dodd, Jimmy’s associate in their illegal activities, believes Natalie has stolen money that belonged to Jimmy. He is hostile and threatening towards her, which we witness in the scene where he confronts her at her home.
In order to protect herself and potentially divert Dodd’s attention away from her, Natalie manipulates Leonard into believing Dodd is a threat to him. Given Leonard’s condition and his pre-existing inclination to seek and punish those who harm him, he becomes a perfect tool for Natalie to use against Dodd.
So, Natalie’s motive for wanting Dodd out of the picture seems to be a combination of self-preservation and a desire to shift the focus away from her own involvement in Jimmy’s criminal activities. The manipulation of Leonard in this situation further underscores the themes of deception, manipulation, and the subjective nature of truth that pervade Memento.
What questions do you have?
Help improve our Colossus Movie Guide for Memento by leaving your questions in the comments. We’ll answer it there or add it to the article and notify you. Thank you!
Write a response