Take the 2-minute tour ×
Movies & TV Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for movie and tv enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I know I'm a little behind, but I just watched the movie Memento and the ending got me thinking a lot. And when I think a lot I usually turn toward the internet to find the vast majority of solutions available and find the right answer. To my concern I feel that there isn't one out there for this movie that fits what I saw of it. I might be missing something, but please fill me in if you have seen the movie several times and want to correct me on how it actually ends.

(Oh and please stop reading and watch this movie if you haven't already because it is fantastic! and ruining it by reading this would break my heart)

The movie ends with what seems to be an open-ended question on who killed his wife, hinting that he in fact killed her. But I feel that the movie in it's entirety holds the solution. Throughout the movie Leonard explains the story of Sammie Jenkins and how his illness is prone to conditional therapy.

I don't know any other way to explain it so I'll just say my theory and explain it after. Leonard is the story of Sammy Jenkins, he got into a car accident, his wife couldn't believe that he was faking it or couldn't live with the fact that he wasn't so she devised the test of insulin. There was no murder, there was no rape.

Q:WHAT? How do you explain him knowing about the incident at his house, his last memory?

That was all conditioned. By people like Teddy taking advantage of his condition. By seeing tattoos that his wife was murdered etc, every time he wakes up. By the reports he dismembered to cause him to want to catch someone. All these things conditioned him to believe that that is why his wife isn't with him anymore. He doesn't even have to think about it when someone asks, he just knows in his memory that she was murdered. Slightly more conclusive proof of him being Sammy that Nolan adds is when he is explaining the story of Sammy in the mental hospital, after the nurse passes by, it quickly changes to Leonard for a split second sitting in the chair instead of Sammy. Sort of like for a split second he remembered that he was actually Sammy.

Q:But if that is true, why doesn't he remember that his wife has Diabetes? That would have happened before the 'car accident' or 'murder/rape'.

That got me for a little bit. The reason he doesn't remember it is because he's trying to piece two puzzles pieces that belong to two different puzzles. The image in his mind of his wife is convoluted with conditioned images of her being raped/murdered. All things that never actually happened. That version never had diabetes. His actual wife did. That version of his memory is stored as Sammy Jenkins wife.

So all this time, Teddy was the one assigned to the case that investigated the murder/suicide of his wife. The pieces left out were the pieces Leonard crossed out because he didn't want to know the truth. He lies to himself to make himself feel better. What's left in the report makes it appear that his wife was murdered. Teddy takes advantage of this and gets him to do things for him for personal reasons.

That's how I interpreted the ending. So my question to you, is there any evidence that the rape/murder actually did happen? Did the rape/murder actually happen or was it a car accident? Is there any proof in the movie? Please fill me in where I might be wrong because no conclusion I've read is close to mine (other than he was Sammy but she lived after the rape).

share|improve this question
Hi. Welcome to Movies & TV. Its kind of hard to know what question you are asking here. –  iandotkelly Oct 29 '13 at 22:59
Hello! Thanks! What is the ending to Memento? I stated what I think it is. I tried googling it and can't really find a solution. –  ModestMonk Oct 29 '13 at 23:01
Hi. Well that question has been asked before .. see movies.stackexchange.com/questions/3234/… - but I don't just want to close your question down, because you've put a lot of work into it. Can you draw any more unique questions out of your work? –  iandotkelly Oct 29 '13 at 23:06
Yeah let me rephrase the opening question. –  ModestMonk Oct 29 '13 at 23:08
I added an ending question. Did the rape/murder actually happen? Is there any proof in the movie? Let me know if that is unique enough. I haven't found a conclusion that touches this subject and I feel it is the accurate ending. –  ModestMonk Oct 29 '13 at 23:24

4 Answers 4

The ending (beginning) is that he realizes he is the killer and sets up Teddy for him to discover later. He did suffer the brain trauma, but could not forgive himself and creates a mystery for him to solve to absolve himself. It sounds like you "got" it, but maybe expect more. The story is fairly straight-forward. The story-telling is confusing and captivating.

Also, dealing with an Unreliable Narrator, there is no reason to believe any of his memories are 100% factual.

share|improve this answer
Okay so I am right in saying that there never was an attack on him or his wife, that never happened? –  ModestMonk Oct 29 '13 at 23:19
The attack happened alright..but she didn't die in the attack..she was only raped I believe –  Travis Oct 29 '13 at 23:22
@ModestMonk Because Sammy Jenkins really got into a car accident, but he isn't Sammy Jenkins, he's Leonard. I think there was really another Sammy Jenkins with a car accident in a case that Leonard once investigated, but that one was a simulant and Leonard used parts of his story to cover his own (this is told by Teddy at the end). –  Napoleon Wilson Oct 29 '13 at 23:42
Unreliable Narrator. All of this comes from him. There may have been a Sammy Jenkins. There may have been a car accident. He has confused the cases. And he is actively in denial and collusion to frame another in the brief moments we've seen him discover his own involvement. –  Meat Trademark Oct 30 '13 at 0:28
His subconscious fabricated false memories out of various fragments because the truth was too much for him to handle. At the end he has the option of writing on himself or something what actually happened but instead writes 'Teddy' (I think). He wants to send himself after, pretty much, the only person who could tell him what actually happened because he never wants to know. –  Stefan Oct 30 '13 at 13:52

Nah, here it is. John said that his wife survived the assault. John said this, not Leonard. Anything Leonard says, you can't really trust, as he explains that he lies to himself to make himself feel better. John explains that Sammie faked his condition for some kind of insurance. They also SHOWED that Leonard had killed his wife by accident. She both tested to see if he was faking and couldn't live with it. The act was a two-in-one. There was also a split second at the end where Sammie is giving the shot and he is quickly replaced with Leonard. Everyone acts as if the ending is hard to figure out. It isn't. The clues are all there. Leonard remembered things differently because he lies to himself so that he isn't unhappy. This is another way of conditioning. He conditioned his memories to show that it wasn't him who killed his own wife. He would rather be a killer than accept that he took away his own love.

share|improve this answer

I have watched the movie once so far. I do not take anything for granted, thus imagine that the director himself had to rid his mind of any preconception, any hint of a "solution" and mingle everything in the right proportions, just to leave us empty handed, but entertained/shocked/bemused/etc.

My answer to Your question would be that there was murder and rape, but it was not the murder and rape of Leonard's wife... BUT:

I have some objections as to 'Teddy' vel John being an undercover or even a crooked cop. It cannot be confirmed that Teddy was the one who provided Lenny with police reports. He refuses to show his badge to Lenny. He has some dirty businesses (e.g. drug dealing) and plainly uses Leonard as his hitman. Splits the drug money, but then tells Lenny to give him the keys to the Jag, where the second half is in the boot. The girl played by Moss quickly learns about Lenny's condition, and as she learns what had happened and checks that Lenny was but a tool in the killing, easily obtains Teddy's documents (remember: undercover policeman's personal documents) to maneuver Lenny into being her tool and to wreak her revenge.

share|improve this answer
This is a poor quality answer as it is just your opinions and speculation. "The girl played by Moss," and "imagine that the director himself had to rid his mind of any preconception" are not things that are in a good answer. I'd suggest looking at the Tour under the help menu above. Hint: since reading the Tour gives you a badge, and you have no badges, it's obvious you have not read it. Please stick around, but realize this is not a typical forum. –  Meat Trademark Mar 2 at 2:50

I believe this movie was meant to have more then one ending. I think it works with the persons mind that is watching it. I see Teddy as a Drug Dealer and plainly tells Lenard he was first on scene and lied saying he was a cop or even if he was a cop why couldn't it have been a dirty cop that killed his wife and he killed that girls boy friend that was connected to teddy and teddy and her boy friend worked for the drug dealer there were 2 guys at the house we never see the guys face he shoots they left the ending open to interpretation very interesting. Teddy tracked him down after killing his wife he was lying about being a Cop in my opinion.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.