Thursday, May 1, 2014

Altered Reality

What happens when someone's reality is altered? For example, Drew Barrymore's character in 50 First Dates-- she suffers from amnesia, where she wakes up each morning and relives the same day. Her father and her brother go to extremes, including painting an entire room and printing out copies of the same newspaper, to make sure that she is able to peacefully relive that same day over and over again.

I think before we can delve into this question, we first need to define reality. If we want a dictionary definition: "the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them." So then, does that mean that to live in reality, one must live chronologically? Barrymore is aging physically, but mentally she regresses back to that same day and age, reliving the same events of that day.

It effects her, it effects her future, and it effects the way that she is able to be an active member of society. Without the help of her father and brother she would have extreme difficulty functioning in everyday life. Eventually Adam Sandler's character creates a video addressed to Barrymore telling her about her amnesia, she watches the video each morning and each morning she has a different reaction-- sad or angry.

Since she has different reactions, does that make her more real? She is still a person and her daily encounters are still real, she just can't remember them the next day. If she is consistently going back tot he same day, then she is not able to keep up with the current events of the community or the state or the country, which is why her father and brother print out copies of newspaper from the day she suffered the accident causing amnesia. Essentially, she does not live in reality. She lives "a" reality, just not the same one as everyone else.


  1. I think that the idea of multiple realities is really interesting. The people who are around the character see her reality as a linear time line, but not one that is chronological, one suspended in a time. She sees her reality as a linear time line as well since she has no recolection, not one that is stunted or fragmented, the way spectators may see it. Both perceptions are different, but have the same element in common.

  2. I am curious how she would function if left to her own devices day in and day out. Her family protects her and so she is blissfully ignorant, but if she were to wake up each day and find out in her own ways that she has missed days, weeks, months, etc. how would she react? Would she be able to function in a society that continues to move forward when mentally she does not. Her reality is drastically different than the average person and prevents her from moving on with the rest of the world.

  3. I love the example from 50 First Dates you used (it's one of my favorite movies). I think her different reactions show her "humanness." If she acted the same everyday, would we be suspicious that Drew Barrymore (character Lucy), knew she was being tricked everyday?


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