There is nothing better than sitting in a dark room watching sci-fi and psychological thrillers. What do you say?
But have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you could remember everything or, well, forget everything?
What if it became possible to remove, add or edit memories of humans? Looks like scientists are already on their way to turn this fiction into reality.
History is proof that science fiction sometimes comes true. Yes, we are looking at you, AI.
Although the accuracy of these movies varies, they come very close.
Memory manipulation is an exciting subject, and this topic deeply influences Hollywood movies. There is a good reason why Hollywood is so obsessed with memory loss. The one reason would be the movies are full of voyeurism, exotic illness, and injuries, including psychological ones. This promises a thrilling adventure.
On the other hand, another reason would be that the movies are realistic, in fact, super realistic. They present life in a more surreal way than life itself is.
The movies are like time capsules. They preserve both the original period of release while also preserving the ideas of individual artists.
All these movies have one common message — Memories are an extremely important part of our lives. In fact, without memories, you cease to exist as you are aware of your identity and surroundings.
So, if you are lover or memory manipulation and everything related to it, we welcome you to watch these top Hollywood memory manipulation movies.
Let’s get started.
1. Total Recall
The story revolves around a construction worker Douglas Quaid played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Douglas is troubled by the memories of Mars and a mysterious woman.
Disturbed by his memories, Douglas visits a company called Rekall. Rekall is known for implanting artificial memory into people’s minds.
However, the experiment goes horribly wrong. Quaid starts suspecting that he was indeed a secret agent and that the government implanted the false memory of being a low-level construction worker.
As time goes on, he is unable to determine whether his experiences are reality or the result of memory implantation.
The movie is packed with lots of twists and turns and actions. Sci-fi lovers will definitely enjoy this Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.
Released in 2000, Memento is another masterpiece directed by Christopher Nolan.
The movie is like a memory inside a memory. It’s a complicated, head-spinning yet thrilling adventure.
Memento revolves around Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce), a man whose ability to make new memories gets destroyed when he was struck in the head while confronting people attacking his wife. Leonard killed one of the attackers during the confrontation. However, the last thing he remembers is his wife dying.
Leonard then makes his life a mission to find and kill the second attacker.
Due to the head injury he suffered during the confrontation, Shelby suffers from a rare form of short-term memory loss. He can remember his life of being an insurance agent but cannot remember what happened five minutes ago. This complicates the whole mission of finding the second attacker.
The movie is told in two directions. Both in reverse and chronologically. The first story shows Leonard as an ex-insurance investigator who cannot make new memories and struggles with finding the second attacker.
While the second storyline goes backward in time, revealing more details about his life before the injury each time.
Overall, Memento is a movie that is worth watching.
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American science fiction movie featuring Tom Wilkinson as a doctor-scientist, Dr. Howard Mierzwiak. Howard has developed a unique memory manipulation technique to completely erase the memories of two happy couples, played by Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey.
As his memories are being erased, Joel, aka Jim, re-experiences the memories of Clementine, aka Kate Winslet, and develops regrets. He tries to frantically fight the process by finding hiding places for memories he doesn’t want to let go of. This halts the process of memory-erasing. But, Howard restarts the process. However, Joel manages to keep one memory of their first date on the beach at Montauk.
After forgetting all his memories, Joel decides to go to the beach in Montauk on a whim. There he meets Clementine again, and they fall in love for the 2nd time.
Near the end of the movie, Joel and Clementine receive a record of their memories. The records tell them that they knew each other before and that their relationship was anything but sweet and loving. But, they decided to give it a second try.
The movie shows more than just memory manipulation. It also showcases the story of broken relationships and regrets.
4. The Forgotten
The Forgotten stars Julianne Moore as Telly Paretta. Telly is a grieving mother trying to cope with the death of her nine-year-old son in one of the planes that disappeared.
However, things take a weird turn when her husband, best friend, and doctors tell her that she was just hallucinating and had no son in the first place.
But Telly is hell-bent on proving them wrong. She visits the apartment of Ash Corell to convince him that her son and his daughter played together.
Telly and Ash team up to get their children back. This is where they get to know that this was a part of a darker and bigger experiment.
Telly confronts the alien running an experiment and asks for her son to be returned. However, the alien tells her to forget her son or the experiment will fail. He manipulates her memory again to make her forget her son. However, when she recalls her pregnancy days, she remembers having a son.
Telly keeps trying, and in the end, her motherly love wins and she gets her son back.This is a heart touching movie with a strong message the there is no love greater than mother’s love for her child.
5. Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner is a 1982 classic Sci-fi. It is an adaptation of Phillip K Dick’s 1966 novel ‘Do Android dream of electric sheep?’. The film revolves around the dystopian future of Los Angeles 2019, when the company named Tyrell Corporation manufactured synthetic humans called replicants.
When these replicants escape to the earth to find their original creator, the Blade Runner must pursue and eliminate them.
Blade Runner movie similar to the film, Total Recall, where replicant characters believe their memories are real when in reality, they are not.
The movie highlights how important memories are to shaping individual characters. Hence, the characters in movies are devastated when they get to know that their minds have been manipulated. A manipulation to let them believe things that aren’t authentic.
Inception is a 2010 movie directed by Christopher Nolan, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role. There are rumors that Nolan spent 10 years writing Inception. This is a movie that cannot be explained in a few words. It is immune to spoilers. Even if you know what happens in the end, you wouldn’t know anything unless you watched it in full.
Dom Cobb(Leonardo) is a corporate thief who steals information by filtering through his target’s minds. The movie revolves around a mission where Dom needs to plant an idea into another person’s subconscious through a dream. This theme of implanting an idea in another person’s mind is referred to as ‘inception.’ In exchange for completing this mission, all his criminal record history will be erased.
The movie ends with a shocking surprise. The question all the viewer would have at the end is, is Dom awake or asleep. Is he in reality or a dream? Because in reality, his wife is dead, he may never meet his children, but in the dream, his wife is alive. So, does he permanently enter the subconscious world?
The movie is a total masterpiece and a must-watch for science fiction fans. Inception was one of the highest-grossing movies of 2010, accumulating $860 million worldwide.
7. Vanilla Sky
Vanilla Sky is a Hollywood version of the Spanish movie Abre Los Ojos (meaning Open Your Eyes) released in 1997. It features Tom Cruise in the role of Eduardo Noriega. Eduardo has a particular type of forgetfulness. This makes him forget all the women he went on dates with.
But, Eduardo falls in love with one of the women he dated(Penelope Cruz). However, he is stalked by a vengeful ex-girlfriend, who could not digest that he had forgotten her.
His ex(Cameron Diaz) deliberately kills her while horribly incapacitating Eduardo.
So, he takes the help of memory manipulation to help him know his past and the woman he loved(Penelope Cruz). Only to know that he can’t tell the difference between the woman he wants and the woman who tried to kill him for not wanting her.
In the end, he becomes a victim of forgetfulness, which first made him a victimizer.
So, that was our list of top movies based on memory manipulation. We are sure you will enjoy watching these if you are a memory manipulation and science fiction lover.
Have you watched any from the list before? If not, which one would you like to watch first? Let us know in the comment section below.