Hollywood film about amnesiac H.M. may happen

A Hollywood film may be made about H.M., the famous amnesiac who was unable to form new long-term memories. H.M. was revealed to be Henry Molaison after he died in December. Columbia Pictures and producer Scott Rudin (Revolutionary Road, The Darjeeling Limited) bought the rights to make the biopic. From Variety:
Studio has completed a deal for screen rights to a memoir that just sold to Scribner and which will be written by Dr. Suzanne Corkin, the doctor who worked with Molaison for 45 years.

The plan is to develop a film about H.M. as seen through the eyes of Corkin, a professor of behavioral neuroscience in the Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. Columbia and Rudin also acquired rights to Philip Hilts' "Memory's Ghost: The Nature of Memory and the Strange Tale of Mr. M," a 1996 book written about H.M.
"Columbia, Rudin acquire brain rights"


  1. _Memento_ reminded everyone of the condition, though of course it exaggerated for dramatic effect. It’ll be interesting to see whether they can make a good story out of this without having to resort to fictionalizing it.

  2. As a recipient of a traumatic brain injury some years ago, I can fully understand the mental trauma associated with this problem.
    The emotional pain isn’t suffered by H. M. but by those who know him. The person he was no longer exists, his family and friends are no longer able to relate to him and, in most cases, blame him for it. Of the three phases of memory, immediate – up to 2 or 3 minutes, short term and long term, short term is the most common form of memory loss.
    But it doesn’t stop there. When you seriously consider that your brain involves EVERY FACET of your life, you may be able to understand the many and varied effects a “simple” concussion may have on a persons life.
    Several friends come to mind: the lady in Hawaii who has no vision in the bottom right quadrant; the man who had to learn to walk, talk, eat, hold his bladder and bowels; the lady who has no perception of different horizontal surfaces – i.e. sidewalk and street. The list is long and covers every part of human life from inability to conceive to living death.

    Brain injury and its results are not a subject to be taken lightly.

  3. @Neurolux: The problem with a Phineas Gage movie is there’s no dramatic arc. I mean, you’ve got a guy, he’s a good upstanding man, then he gets hit through the head by a railroad spike and the part of his brain which contains the soul was destroyed. (Yes, I exaggerate.) Where do you go from there, narratively? How do you resolve the conflict? What happens in the movie’s third act to differentiate it from the second? It just doesn’t make a good story.

    Honestly, I’d almost say the same thing about a H.M. movie, but at least in the latter case you can focus on the advances in neurobiology which went on throughout H.M.’s life. I can see a decent story using him as a touchstone for humanizing the history of the field. I don’t recall if H.M.’s memory improved or worsened as he aged, but either way, it makes for a nice parallel for the ongoing march of science.

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