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The famous 2000 film that put Christopher Nolan on the map tells the story of a man on the hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife.

The Truth about Memento (SPOILERS!)

Posts: 2512
Much theory's.I think i'm going to see this movie for the 3rd time.It's not my favorite one of Nolan but its fine.
Posts: 41
You are right Magician. I do need to support my 'theory' with evidence. Others have complained about it too.
I'm working on it.

But it's not that easy. I need over 200 screen shots and about 30 pages to explain it all.
I have simplified the frame (as presented in my post 'The true chronoligical story of Memento).
And when I've collected all the evidence and wrote it all down I'll post it.

But please bear in mind: the frame still holds. I'm not being arrogant, it's just the true storty Jonathan and Christopher were talking about while they were driving cross country between Chicago and Los Angeles.

PS: Would you even bother reading 30 pages and over 200 screen shots to get to the true story of Memento? Do I have an audience?
Posts: 362
Location: U.K.
Erwin Fortuin wrote:Do I have an audience?

No.

Most of us can see it for what it is.
Posts: 3861
Well I agree with the conclusion of the magician's theory, though I am not sure if I follow the rest of his post.

I also agree that it is ridiculous to theorize about things that can't be shown through evidence in the film. Edwin, you may think you have evidence, but in reality what you have is a series of random facts that you didn't understand. Instead of shrugging them off as insignificant or looking for the answer within the film, you have decided to try and connect them together with your vast imagination. And the depths of your imagination must be endless because this world you created lacks evidence and common sense.

Edwin, part of me truly believes that you believe every word of your theory and that you truly did spend years piecing it together. If this is the case, I pity you. This is the ultimate case of curiosity killing the cat, for you have honestly wasted hundreds of hours on a worthless theory about a movie. You truly are a remarkable person.

Another part of me, however, imagines you to be an incredibly elaborate and educated troll. In which case, I admire your dedication and time commitment to your craft. I get the satire behind the trolling and appreciate it. There are so many crazy theories about this movie, I will just make an even crazier one and never support always saying that its impossible to explain. It will totally piss off all these stupid fanboys. However though your dedication is admired, your sanity is in question.

In fact whether you are a troll or not, I believe your sanity must be called into question, because for anyone to dedicate this much time and intellect to an imagined theory about a fictional movie clearly needs help. I don't say this to make light of your problem either, I pity you, and as a religious man, I'll keep your sanity in my prayers. Regardless of your intent in these posts, I bid you good luck.
Posts: 6694
Location: The Discount Inn
Erwin Fortuin wrote:Dear AAA,

I'm sorry, but you're completely missing the point. Please see my post 'The true chronological story of Memento' for the true chronological story of Memento. I haven't written the whole story down in words, but I've summarized it in a single frame.

But here here some spoilers:
- Teddy plays three roles:
1. Corrupt cop (he leads Lenny)
2. A victim of Teddy 1 who takes over (he cooperates with Lenny)
3. A victim of Teddy 2 who takes over (Lenny leads him)
- Lenny is sent to a mental hospital three times
1. First time after Catherine (his first wife) takes an OD of the stash she took from a drugdealer Lenny killed for her.
2. Second time after he killed Teddy 3 because he hears him taking a piss in the bathroom
3. Third time after he stangled Natalie (his second wife) in the bathroom under a shower curtain (after having sex).
- Lenny has three rooms in the Discount Inn (which symbolize the three mental hospitals)
- The most important scene of the movie is a single frame in which his five 'friends' are depicted.
- The most interesting scene is not in the movie. It is in the short story by Jonathan Nolan ("The clouds part, the planets get in a neat little line, and everything becomes obvious."). It is the middle part of scene 18 in my frame (the '666' scene). It is when Lenny realizes he's been used al this time (he sees scene 1 to 17 of my frame in one line). The last part of scene 18 is in the movie ("How can I heal if I can't feel time?"). Lenny realizes the only thing that makes him happy is chasing the rapist/murderer of his 'wife'. So he creates his own 'friend'; a foe. He makes up the story of Sammy Jenkis (who was a fraud) as the guy who killed his own wife and now is in a mental hospital. And he (or better said: Christopher Nolan) creates a character who does not exist at all: Dodd. All memories/sounds/feelings of his murders before are in his story so he can justify all these bad memories to himself. He was looking for 'the one that got away'.
- His first John G. is a gay warden from the third mental hospital who rapes him all the time. Lenny can't resist as he is in a straight jacket ("If I could just reach out and touch her side of the bed I could know that it was cold, BUT I CAN'T.")
- In the end he decides to chase a female foe (Jane G.) because some stupid hooker didn't play her part right in his next recreation of a new John G. She doesn't leave as she is supposed to and so she dies. Lenny 'wakes up' over a new body and justifies this new corpse to himself as (from now on) he is chasing a female foe so it's alright he has killed this woman.

If you've studied the movie as I have (for many years) I hope you will understand at least part of my frame. If not, I'm quit happy to answer any questions.


What the hell are you saying? :facepalm: Where in the movie does it hint at Lenny being raped in the mental hospital. You guys are putting to much into it. Sure it's a complex story but not that complicated.The whole truth is revealed from the frame where it gives away that Lenny confused himself with Sammy Jenkis when it shows that Lenny was actually in the mental hospital.

Case Closed :judge:
Posts: 2
I'm years late to this conversation but recently re-watched Memento and so went looking for theories on what "actually happened".
I'm not enamored of the Teddy as owner of Discount Inn theory because I think it raises more questions than it answers, which is usually a bad sign. For instance, why would Teddy jeopardize his high-payoff drug deal scam with a low-payoff plan of renting Leonard multiple rooms and potentially raising suspicion? Why does Burt refer to Teddy as "your [Leonard's] friend" if he's actually Burt's boss?
As for the other theory involving info from the DVD and short story, Nolan has said that the information required for the correct conclusion is all contained in the movie itself.
So here's my theory, I think Leonard suffered more damage to his brain and his memory than is stated in the movie and that he basically assumed the identity of Sammy Jankis, who was the real insurance investigator, probably by reading Sammy’s report or testimony on Leonard’s claim and his life after the injury. This is the purpose of the tattoo “remember Sammy Jankis” – it’s part of Leonard’s process for internalizing Sammy’s story as his own. How specifically he was able to do this with anterograde memory loss is a bit of a puzzle but the insurance investigator’s statements indicate that it should be possible for a person to form certain kinds of memory in a different part of the brain by repetition. So possibly by telling and re-telling the Sammy Jankis story from his copy of whatever report he had (a story which Teddy says evolved over time), Leonard was able to commit it to memory, albeit drastically distorted, and as his own first-person narrative, rather than Sammy’s.
So if Leonard wasn’t an insurance investigator, who was he? I think he’s a former police detective. That’s how he got a copy of the police report from the attack. That’s why he has the evidence board/map on his motel room wall, carries his camera like it’s a shoulder holster, flashes Dodd’s picture like it’s a badge, knows how to jimmy-open Dodd’s motel room door (not to mention the peep hole trick) and is able to fight his way out of the bathroom completely naked. Leonard no longer remembers his past (he’s replaced it with Sammy’s story) but he does these things instinctively – which is less like a former insurance investigator and more like a former cop.
And how does Leonard link up with Teddy? I think Teddy actually is the 2nd attacker Leonard has been looking for and every time he gets close to identifying his John G., Teddy manages to misdirect him and put Leonard on the scent of someone else, usually by manipulating him over the phone.
The delicious irony of this theory is that Leonard does finally get the real John G., even though he ends up manipulating his own memory to do it.
Posts: 238
I WANT MY FUCKING LIFE BACK!! - Leonard

Favourite line
Posts: 2
MikeyInHouston,

I think you are on an interesting track with the confusing of the stories thing. It does make a lot of sense has to how Leonard has all of these skills that don't match up with an insurance sales man's skill set. However, I disagree with you about who Teddy is. You seem to have completely forgotten about Natalie.

It seems to me that Lenny has already gotten the second attacker, and Teddy is a dirty cop helping Lenny hunt down these random John G.'s while making a profit off them, hence him taking out Jimmy, Natalie's boyfriend. Teddy made a profit because Lenny wouldn't remember who Jimmy was and could make off with the money in the car. This explains why Teddy keeps trying to take "Lenny's" car.

Once you watch the movie again, you realize that everything Teddy has to say pans out to be true whereas everything Natalie has to say is false. But Lenny has this mixed up. He believes that Teddy is a liar and Natalie is trustworthy. I believe Natalie set Leonard up to hunt down Teddy because Teddy is the one who put Lenny on the path to kill Jimmy, her boyfriend. Natalie realizes that Lenny honestly does not remember killing Jimmy so she goes after the man she knows will remember his part, aka Teddy. This movie seems to have been directed with the literary theory of narratology in mind, as well as focalization and the unreliable narrator. Once understanding these theories, it clears up a lot of loose ends such as Natalie.
Posts: 2
RonStott - Yes, the movie makes it plain that Natalie points Leonard to Teddy by providing the DMV information and it's clear this serves her own likely desire to kill the man who set up her boyfriend. But Natalie obtains this information via the license plate number Leonard gives her, so she didn't really set up Teddy any more than Leonard did by writing down the plate number to begin with.

It's certainly inaccurate to conclude that everything Teddy says is the truth. Teddy claims to be a cop when it serves him, he claims to be a snitch who works with the cops when he and Leonard are in the tattoo parlor, and he refrains from mentioning that he's a cop when Leonard is talking about what cops do to solve crimes. Teddy tells Leonard that James Grantz was "John G." and soon after tells Leonard that he killed the real John G a long time ago. It is obvious then, that we need to evaluate both Teddy's claims and Leonard's memories for their truthfulness because they conflict among each other. Indeed, this is the point of the mystery presented and the answer cannot be as simple as "everything Teddy says is the truth" due to the contradictions.

A red flag for me regarding Teddy's claim to be a cop is the fact that he doesn't carry a gun even when walking in to situations that are plainly dangerous. He even asks, "Gun? Why would I have a gun?" when he's with Leonard in Dodd's motel room. And, even knowing Leonard's violent bent and that he *does* have a gun, Teddy doesn't bring one even while impersonating a police detective or when he arrives to check on Leonard's handling of Jimmy Grantz. If Teddy had a gun, I think he'd bring it for his own safety and to resolve the situation if anything had gone sideways with Jimmy. But he doesn't bring a gun and I think the reason is that he doesn't have one because he's not really a cop.
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