Movie and Book Analysis

Movieand Book Analysis


Thefilm Mementorevolves around Leonard Shelby whose wife has been raped and killed(Memento). The attackers beat him too resulting short memory. Leonardstruggles to live his life again after his wife’s death.Unfortunately, Leonard is unable to retain new information andresorts to taking Polaroid pictures and notes (Memento). He kills oneof his wife’s killers, but the second attacker flees. He explainsto the police about the second attacker, but they are reluctantbecause he is unable to remember the attacker’s name vividly.

Leonardstarts performing an investigation using notes, tattoos, and Polaroidphotographs (Memento). He identifies Teddy, a police officer, as thesecond attacker and kills him in a deserted building. Leonard findsJimmy (also involved in his wife’s death) and kills him in the sameabandoned building and then burns the image on his body.

Relationshipbetween Memento and `Metamorphoses`

Themes,Values, and Morals

Thefilm Mementoand the book Metamorphosis by Ovid are very similar in terms of thethemes used and some of the characters. The first theme in the filmMementois revenge. In the film, Leonard revenges for his wife after she israped and killed (Memento). Similarly, book 5 of Metamorphosisportrays the theme of revenge too. Book V “Phineus seeks revengefor the loss of his bride” resembles the movie Mementosthat revolves around the revenge of a loved one. In the book, Phineusstorms in a session in the royal halls where Danae’s son narratesto other people about events involving the Ethiopians (Kline 229).Phineus shouts

“See,he shouted. See, I come here as an avenger for the carrying off of mybride. Your wings won’t help you escape me, nor even Jupiter,changed to a shower of fool’s gold! (Kline 229).

Theyboth brings out the cultural value that “love makes people do crazythings.”

Thefilm and the book also portray the theme of love. The film Mementorepresents Leonard’s love for his wife. He is willing to start hisinvestigation after the police failed to identify the killers(Memento). Book VII “Medea agonizes over her love for Jason” inMetamorphosis portrays the theme of love (12). Medea is the daughterof the king of Thracian Salmydessus, King Phineus (Ovid 23). Shefalls in love with an Argonaut named Jason. She had loved him for along time and could not overcome the desire any longer. She startsdebating internally about the decision to approach Jason despite thatbeing the wrong decision as it meant betraying her country (Ovid 69).Book VII titled “Jason promises to marry Medea” shows that Medeawould get what she wanted. Therefore, the film and the book createthe cultural value that `if you work hard enough you can achieveanything.” Since Leonard catches his wife’s killers and Medeagets married to Jason.

Thefilm and the book also portray the theme of violence against women.The film Mementointroduces assault against women when Leonard’s wife is raped andmurdered (Memento). Similarly, Metamorphosis portrays the theme ofviolence against women in Book VI “Tereus forces Philomena.” BookIV narrates a story of a woman, Philomena, who was raped by theThracian King. Philomena tries to fight the king, but in vain. Shesays

“Oh,you savage. Oh, what an evil, cruel, thing you have done. Did youcare nothing for my father’s trust, sealed with holy tears, mysister’s affection, my own virginity, your marriage vows? You haveconfounded everything. I have been forced to become my sister’srival. You are joined to both. Now Procne will be my enemy! Why notrob me of life as well, you traitor, so that no crime escapes you? Ifonly you had done it before that impious act. Then my shade wouldhave been free of guilt. Yet, if the gods above witness such things,if the powers of heaven mean anything, if all is not lost, as I am,then one day you will pay me for this! I, without shame, will tellwhat you have done. If I get the chance it will be in front ofeveryone. If I am kept imprisoned in these woods, I will fill thewoods with it, and move the stones, that know of my guilt, to pity.The skies will hear of it, and any god that may be there! (Kline303).

Theking disfigures Philomena eventually as indicated in the book VI“Philomena is mutilated” (Kline 307). The book and the film showthat “you reap what you sow” since Leonard killed the men whokilled his wife while the Thracian King receives punishment from hiswife.

Anothertheme portrayed by the film and the book is betrayal. In the film,Natalie (the bartender) betrays Grantz (her friend) by helpingLeonard catch him since he was involved in Leonard wife’s murder.Book VII “Scylla decides to betray her city of Megara” narrates astory of Scylla, the king’s daughter who sides with the enemy(Kline 375). The betrayal portrayed by both books brings in a lifelesson that we cannot understand people’s action in life since someare good while others are evil.

Thefilm and the book also portray the theme of negligence. The filmMementoshows negligence when Leonard reports about his wife’s secondkiller, but the police fails to take that information. The bookMetamorphosis has several instances of social negligence where thesociety ignores the fact that women suffer. For instance “Tereusforces Philomena” in book VI that portrays the tribulations ofPhilomena (Kline 303). In the book VIII “Scylla, deserted, and ischanged to a bird” nobody does anything to save her. The stories inthe film and the book brings out a life lesson that a society withoutrules cause chaos.


Themovie Mementoand the book Metamorphosis have similar characters. For instance,Leonard in the film Mementorevengesthe death of his wife. The theme brings out the cultural value“revenge is sweet.” Similarly, Book V “Phineus seeks revengefor the loss of his bride” shows Phineus, who is ready to kill hisnephew after losing his bride. He storms the royal hall and says

“See,he shouted. See, I come here as an avenger for the carrying off of mybride. Your wings won’t help you escape me, nor even Jupiter,changed to a shower of fool’s gold! (Kline 229).

Othersimilar characters in the film and the book include the two men whoassaulted Leonard’s wife and Thracian King. Leonard kills three menwho were involved in his wife’s rape and murder (Memento). Theattackers also bring out the cultural value “a thief has fortydays.” Similarly, Book VI “Tereus forces Philomena” and“Philomena is mutilated” portray Tereus (King of Thracian) as aviolent man since he rapes and kills Philomena (Kline 302: 308).


Kline,Antony. Ovid:The Metamorphosis.Burlington: University of Vermont.

Memento.Dir. Christopher Nolan. Perf Guy Pierce, Carrie-Anne Moss, JoePantoliano. Venice International Film, 2000. DVD.