The Boy Who Can't Forget

The Boy Who Can't Forget

2012, Mystery  -   15 Comments
Ratings: 7.45/10 from 84 users.

For many of us, there are moments in our lives that we'd rather forget. But that isn't an option for Aurelien, a 20-year old student who resides in Durham, England. Possessed with the power of near-perfect recall, he can recite specific events from random dates in his past with almost superhuman accuracy. The Boy Who Can't Forget profiles Aurelien and others throughout the world who share his unique gift, and plumbs the mysterious depths of memory in the process.

The filmmakers approach their subjects from both a human and scientific perspective. Those who possess this ability don't subscribe to complex memory retention techniques, nor are they hiding any tricks up their sleeve. For them, remembering which day of the week fell on a particular date twenty years ago, and all the personal activities and world events that correspond to that date, is as easy and natural as breathing.

It's a talent that baffles and astounds members of the scientific community. The film introduces us to one such figure, a professor at the University of California who has spent a great number of years studying the phenomenon, yet continues to struggle in finding a reasonable explanation for it. Another professor from New York University offers his own tantalizing hypothesis by chalking it up to a form of obsessive compulsive disorder, a charge that is vehemently rejected by others in the film.

The film also gives us a sense of what it's like to live with unlimited memories, and how it can serve as more of a curse than a blessing for some. Nature usually offers the comfort of distance from the undesirable moments in our lives, and grants us the ability to cope by allowing those memories to fade in reflection. The film's remarkable subjects are not afforded this luxury, and they live with the oftentimes overwhelming implications of this reality on a daily basis.

How are memories formed and retained? Do we all carry in us the potential for total recall, or is it only bestowed upon a chosen few? By addressing these questions and many more, The Boy Who Can't Forget embarks on a fascinating exploration into the unknown corridors of the human mind.

Directed by: Barnaby Peel

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Bobby Porter
2 years ago

I would love to be able to remember a memory from when I was a boy.. To be able to see things again through the eyes of someone who is not yet mature, and upon remembering those things, I would want to reflect on them as an adult and understand better the boy that I was.. I have memories of being a boy, but each time that I recall them, I change them minutely just through the process of remembering.. For instance, If I remember someone cramming an ice-cream down my shirt. Was it chocolate , was it Vanilla, was it one scoop of was it two. Did it have sprinkles? even the smallest missing detail will cause my adult memory to start filling in the details.. But guess what.. The adult me was never there.. Only the boy's memory counts. And as my adult brain remembers, the actual event morphs. was it my birthday, or the fourth of July? was my shirt blue or green. was I on the sidewalk or in someone's yard? My adult brain wants all the details, so it adds them unconsciously, until my entire boyhood life, becomes a fiction. A memory of a memory, wrapped up in another memory.

5 years ago

I have good memory though I don't remember every single day of my life. The main side effect of having good memory, is that disturbs my sense of time. My memories are soo clear that sometimes I have the notion that things that happened ten years ago, happened just yesterday. Not being able to distance my self from the events is really irritating. So I feel for this lady that experiences the same thing multiplied.

6 years ago

Camille Groves I guess it's about the way they remember things, and what they remember. He mainly remembers the day and the weather and what he was doing, when she clearly remembers more, at the end she says she remembers everything that was said, the way she felt... It sounds emotionally heavier :/

6 years ago

Just commenting on Kendall's response. I myself have this occurence. Things happen and in that moment I remember it being distinctly in my dreams. Kind of like a flashback. I wouldn't call it de ja vu as I specifically remember the "event," in my dream before it was played out in real life.

6 years ago

Sometimes when I'm asleep, I have dreams. But I can't see where I am, I only see outlines of what happens there. I always question my dreams. But sometimes the dreams come true. I never get a specific date or time etheir

Laure Sturdevant
6 years ago

Weird that Gary Marcus has a job as a professor. What kind of scientist thinks s/he can know what drives another person based only on extremely limited personal observation? "I think what drives Jill..." He met her, not studied her. Science based on "I think" isn't science at all, is it?

6 years ago

It's hard for people who don't have these abilities to understand how it all looks in their brain... It's a milestone thing... it's not like these people have all their history on their mind... the only question here is how to put this into use apart from personal use?

Camille Groves
6 years ago

I was wondering why the young man's memories did not bother him while the tortured the lady.

6 years ago

It is a curse to remember everything. Many of those experiences shape who we become and to some, it's just repetitive noise that may eventually lead to insanity.

6 years ago

I get it, because I have something similar. No dates and not every day, but if something comes up to trigger the visions of a memory I can fill in more and more details that others can't remember at all. I'm talking 30-40 years ago.

Frederick Wan
6 years ago

What if when Jesus was on the Cross he played back all the memories of everybody? Then He would have become one with each of us. Therefore when he faced the Judgement for you and me he would have been able to experience exactly what you and I would have experienced. So he paid the price for our sins. Died and rose again still one with all humanity. That means he has shared his perfect righteousness with each of us. So all we have to do is accept this reality.

6 years ago

Is there any benefit in knowing what you had for supper 16 ys ago?/

6 years ago

I do not know what my memory would be like without my intervention, but I consciously forget whatever is repetitive(no need to remember), whatever I do not care to remember. So I don't think I have an unusual memory at all even though when I choose to recall something the recollection if vivid.

6 years ago

Marilu Henner from the T.V. show "Taxi", also has this 'Hyperthemisia'.

Russ Tul
6 years ago

Very interesting documentary. It demonstrates what potential we all have -- yes all of us have it. The trick is how to tap into that potential. For instance, I can easily recall what I had for breakfast and supper any day of the past ten years.