This is one of my favorite movies, though I wouldn’t call it great (see Favorite vs. Great article). Yeah, I’m a sucker for romantic comedies but what really gets me about 50 First Dates is the concept of being stuck in time. Summarizing the plot won’t ruin the movie, but if you are worried, stop reading this article…Ok, you were warned!
Henry falls in love with Lucy, a woman who has a short term memory problem. Her mind is forever frozen on the day of her car accident and head trauma. Every night, her short term memories resets to the morning of that day. At first, her family and friends try to keep her oblivious to what happened, but it’s really draining on them, and it doesn’t always work. On bad days, her family takes her to the doctor, and he explains what happened. The whole day is wasted.
Love inspires Henry to come up with a better plan. He creates a video for Lucy to quickly update her on what has happened since the accident. She still gets upset, but she is able to get over it quicker and to enjoy the rest of the day. Henry and Lucy can go on dates, and her family and friends don’t have to pretend anymore – a rather ingenious solution. Other stuff happens later, but I’ll let you watch and enjoy the movie.
I am intrigued by what Lucy must feel everyday. It must be confusing, sad, scary, and exciting all at once. Although the video method is efficient, Lucy mentions how it makes her feel like her life is being told to her. Some part of her is still in shock and disbelief. She starts keeping a journal every night, and reading her own thoughts in her own words makes it real.
This is not like waking up from a coma – there you know that you missed out on life. Lucy is actually living life one day at a time – she just doesn’t remember it. It takes a special person to be able to thrive under such condition.