50 First Dates Movie Review & Ethical Dilemma
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It’s not often someone’d fall in love with someone that has retrograde amnesia. Out of all the people in the world, it’s definitely not often that the person would be Henry. I have mixed feelings about the movie; both good and bad. The film is about a woman, Lucy Whitmore, that got in a car accident and received a serious head injury. Retrograde amnesia is a condition where new information cannot be retained, and this happened to Lucy. Her father and brother decided to replay the day of the accident, acting like nothing happened to make sure Lucy stays happy. Lucy went on living her life thinking it’s October 13th everyday, which is a Sunday.
On Sundays, she always visit a restaurant owned by her mother’s friend, Sue, for breakfast. One day, Henry was at the restaurant, and spotted Lucy at a booth making waffle houses. Henry was immediately attracted to Lucy- he sat on the opposite booth, and got her attention by fixing a door in Lucy’s waffle house. They hit off after that and agreed to have breakfast at the same place and time next morning. The morning came, and Henry walked over to Lucy to learn that she doesn’t remember him at all. He then tried to win her over through 50 various dates, some good and bad.
Lucy’s father and brother were upset with Henry at first, but after seeing how happy he made her, they accepted. Henry made a tape explaining what happened for Lucy, and she watches it every morning. She decides to end things with Henry, and of course, he was heartbroken. However, he respected Lucy’s wishes. Later, she was put in an institution and she was teaching art. After a conversation with Lucy’s father, Henry went to visit her after he suspected she had an idea of who he was. Lucy didn’t remember him, but she always dreamed of him and had many paintings/artworks of Henry. They got married, had a kid, and traveled the world.
At first, I enjoyed the ‘dates’ between Henry and Lucy, but I do wonder how Lucy without retrograde amnesia would feel if a person had asked her out for the fiftieth time, refusing any kind of rejection. Is it ethical to take advantage of a disorder for personal gain? No. I was also disturbed by the actions of Lucy’s father and brother – who gave them the decision to replay October 13th on a daily basis? It may not make a difference for Lucy, but she deserved some kind of chance – for example, daily journal/log. That could’ve helped her process her condition better, and continue having a real life.
Some people would say that it’d take a toll on her emotions and mental health, but I think that’s a risk to take. At the beginning of the movie, I felt that the utilitarianism theory wasn’t maximized – the only happy person was Henry. Therefore, I felt that he should’ve backed off and left Lucy alone, even if I disagree with the father and brother’s actions. It’s unfair to a person to wake up extremely confused every morning, and be forced to get to know a stranger and be involved romantically. I felt like Lucy had no control or made her own decisions about what was going on.
But, throughout the movie, it has shown that Henry truly made Lucy happier. It was noticed that she started singing on the days when she saw Henry, so the utilitarianism theory was more successful. Not just one, but two people are happy. Lucy’s happiness also affects her father and brother’s happiness. This makes all the characters’ happiness maximized. The ending showed that Lucy had some kind of collection of Henry, and that represents the love and relationship they have. Henry is really the one that made all of this happen, so his choices certainly have weight.
I believe that Henry’s intentions may be a bit selfish at first, but after the connection they made on their first day, it changed Henry. It gave him a different perspective on women and love, making him pursue a relationship with Lucy. It was like Henry had no values at the beginning; he was lost, but once he met Lucy, it was a different story. If I was Henry, I probably would’ve left Lucy alone after learning she had retrograde amnesia. I’m not a big believer in love at the first sight, and I’d feel like I was giving Lucy no choice but to get to know me.
I’m not comfortable with that idea, but I’d be less opposed to being Lucy’s friend. I’d prefer to be friends with Lucy so we would to get to know each other, and at the same time, I could help her to be aware of what happened, instead of living in pretend with her father and brother. If a romantic relationship cannot be avoided, I’d advise against having children. It’s not about Lucy, it’s about the child. It may affect the child greatly if s/he was raised by a father, with a mother that doesn’t remember her own kid. I’d use the Deontology theory, as I feel this would be wrong to do.
It’s unfair to Lucy, so the right thing for me to do is to back off and let Lucy live her life. I believe it’s ethical because there will be no harm, no lies, and no living in pretend. Yes, I would recommend this movie to people. It gives the viewers a different perspective on uncommon situations like this, and it’s a great way to see where their virtues lie. My opinions and feelings kept changing throughout the film due to many different kinds of factors, so it would encourage a great discussion. I enjoyed it, as it was funny and light, but shining the spotlight on real mental health issues that can happen to anyone.