Critics Consensus

Christopher Nolan skillfully guides the audience through Memento's fractured narrative, seeping his film in existential dread.



Total Count: 173


Audience Score

User Ratings: 380,431
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Movie Info

A man is determined to find justice after the loss of a loved one, even though he is incapable of fully remembering the crime, in this offbeat thriller. Leonard (Guy Pearce) is a man who is struggling to put his life back together after the brutal rape and murder of his wife. But Leonard's problems are different from those of most people in his situation; he was beaten severely by the same man who killed his wife. The most significant manifestation of Leonard's injuries is that his short-term memory has been destroyed; he is incapable of retaining any new information, and must resort to copious note-taking and Polaroid photographs in order to keep track of what happens to him over the course of a day (he's even tattooed himself with a few crucial bits of information he can't get along without). Leonard retains awareness that his wife was brutally murdered, however, and he's convinced that the culprit still walks the streets. Leonard is obsessed with the notion of taking revenge against the man who has ruined his life, and he sets out to find him, getting help from Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss), who appears to be a sympathetic barmaid, and Teddy (Joe Pantoliano), who claims to be Leonard's friend, even though Leonard senses that he cannot be trusted. Writer/director Christopher Nolan adapted Memento from a short story by his brother Jonathan Nolan. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Memento

All Critics (173) | Top Critics (44)

  • I can't remember when a movie has seemed so clever, strangely affecting and slyly funny at the very same time.

    Mar 26, 2014
  • Writer-director Christopher Nolan's second film is one of the most original and ultimately confounding mind games to reach the screen since The Usual Suspects.

    Mar 26, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The young British writer and director Christopher Nolan, who has every intention of putting us through the mill, doubles his fun by running the whole story backward.

    Mar 26, 2014 | Full Review…
  • The astonishing payoff takes the film to another level entirely, unleashing a battery of existential questions that shed new light on everything that precedes it.

    Mar 26, 2014 | Full Review…

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • You have to pay close attention to Memento, the most original thriller to come along in years -- and one of the best.

    Mar 26, 2014 | Full Review…
  • If nothing else, Memento is a savvy comment on the queasy uncertainties of the postmodern condition, in which history goes no further back than yesterday's news.

    Mar 26, 2014 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Memento

  • Aug 29, 2017
    Christopher and Jonathan Nolan make a shocking and enticing story in Memento. From its unconventional formula of storytelling to the shocking revelations, the film is a landmark for the brothers as one of their bests and one cinemas groundbreaking tales. 5/5
    Eugene B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 29, 2016
    One of my favourite movies. Christopher Nolan is a genius. Movie like no other. In my opinion. his best movie so far.
    Marin ? Super Reviewer
  • Mar 31, 2016
    This is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's a movie that's filled with suspense and a lot of well-developed characters. Director Christopher Nolan really shows why he is one of the best and most original and visual directors in Hollywood. The movie is based on a short story by Nolan's brother Jonathan, and these two guys really know how to work together. The acting from Guy Pearce and Carrie Anne-Moss are phenomenal. You always understand where the characters are in their emotions and in their thoughts and that's largely due to the brilliant actors that Nolan's got for this movie. This is truly one of the greatest movies that have ever been produced and it really showed the range of one of our most beloved directors to date.
    Lasse G Super Reviewer
  • Mar 11, 2016
    There will NEVER be another movie like Memento, and that's saying a lot in today's age. Christopher Nolan's debut feature film may require multiple views for some audience members to catch everything, but this craft is well worth the repeat viewing. Guy Pearce gives an underrated performance as a damaged and troubled survivor out for revenge. The supporting cast, especially Pantoliano, is superb as well. All things considered, this is a movie everybody should see. It's never too late to track it down!
    Ben B Super Reviewer

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