Saturday, 4 November 2017

How do you critique a film when you have memory difficulties?

Completely implausble film, if you understand how memory difficulties manifest.

Most people could not be arsed with the notion of writing out a review of a film they saw especially not just for the fun of it. I probably would a little more, but there's one thing stopping me: lifelong short term memory difficulties. So what can I, or anyone else with this condition, do if they want to actually review films?

I appreciate this is a stupidly narrow and largely unimportant niche, but having lived with the condition from birth and having been a majo film nut since 15, it's something that has always bothered me. So I found myself wondering, who else would be able to advise on this other than me?

Well, thousands of people with psychology backgrounds, maybe, but if I was to see them- which I have many times in the past- it'd be for issues a lot more serious than trying to follow the plot of a film. So I'm going to rely on 'my own meandering experience,' as Baz Luhrmann would say.

The first thing to develop is acceptance. Forgetting pretty much everything every day can be frustrating, but your emotions, when things go wrong, can get the better of you sometimes. Accept that you aren't going to be able to do the same thing as everyone else, and you'll start to find what you CAN do, with a clearer mind. You'll find a little bit of peace, and it'll help in many areas of life, not just film criticism (obviously).

I make a lot of notes throughout life, mostly on my phone, but I find when watching a film that ruins the enjoyment. I'd actually rather forget parts of what's going on than try to keep records. It's just a film. Enjoy what you can of it.

Sleep on it. When the end credits roll, you'll already have ideas about what you want to say. That initial feeling you're left with is important, so maybe a quick note on that with help you later on. But after a sleep, you'll have pondered it a little more, partly while you were awake, and actually partly while you were asleep. Your brain doesn't stop working, and will be processing the days events- including the film viewing.

Check Wikipedia and IDMB. There's probably already a plot synopsis there. When I read it it jogs my memory and describes plot points that went completely over my head while I was watching it.

Download the app. A lot of the time, you'll find people use certain words and you can kind-of guess what they mean from the context, but you'll have heard someone use that word before from somewhere. That's when most people would gauge the word's meaning, but you might not be able to. Tapping it into the dictionary and reading up makes things a lot clearer.

Watch it again, if you can. If you have the same inconsistent ability as me, you'll remember little pieces of the film, and you'll know roughly what happens. But there'll be huge plot points that you missed the first time around.

Don't pander to other people's opinions. There's always a temptation to agree with the majority as you'll assume they're remembering something that you don't. They aren't necessarily. Hey may just have a different taste to you. Remember, whether it's some drunk guy in a pub slating your favourite movie or it's Mark Kermode on Newsnight Review- it's just an opinion, and it may differ to yours.

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