Henry Roth is a marine-life veterinarian at Sea Life Park on the island of Hawaii who has a reputation of being a ladies man and targets female tourists and he has no interest in committing to a serious relationship with these ladies. He constantly gives these women excuses as to why he can’t give them his number. He owns an old boat which he plans to use to fulfil his dream. His friend Ula who happens to be his workmate and his closest friend is a marijuana-smoking Islander and Henry’s other friends include his assistant Alexa, whose sexuality and gender is unclear, Willy his pet African penguin and Jocko a walrus from his workplace.
One day Henry’s old boat breaks down while he is sailing at sea. He goes to the Café to wait for the Coast Guard to help bring his boat which happens to be falling apart to shore. While Henry is waiting at the café he sees a beautiful woman named Lucy Whitmore, who makes art with her waffles.
Henry does not approach her instantly and he just assumes that she is a local lady so he chooses not to go and introduce himself to her, but the next day he comes back and he sees Lucy at the café and approaches her and he hit it off instantly and she asks him to meet her again tomorrow morning.
When Henry goes back to the café, Lucy shows no recollection of ever meeting him. The restaurant owner Sue, who was the best friend of Lucy’s late mother, explains to Henry that a year previous, Lucy and her father Marlin went up to the North Shore to pick a pineapple for his birthday.
On the way back, they got into a serious car accident that was caused by a stray cow that left Lucy’s father Marlin with 3 broken ribs and Lucy with loss of her short term memories which is called Goldfield Syndrome in the movie, a type of anterograde amnesia and wakes up every morning thinking it is October 13, 2002. To save her the heartbreak of reliving the accident every day, Marlin and Doug, Lucy’s steroid-addicted lisping brother, relive Marlin’s birthday by doing numerous tasks, including putting out October 13’s Sunday newspaper, re-watching the same Vikings game, and refilling Lucy’s shampoo bottles. Despite Sue’s warning, Henry decides to try and get Lucy to have breakfast with him.
Eventually he does, but it ends poorly when Henry accidentally hurts Lucy’s feelings. He follows her home to apologize where Marlin and Doug instruct Henry to leave Lucy alone. Henry begins devising ways to run into Lucy through the following days such as pretending to have car trouble, creating a fake road block, or by having Ula beat him up. Eventually, Marlin and Doug figure this out due to Lucy singing The Beach Boys “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” on the days when she meets Henry. One day, as Henry is about to sit with Lucy at breakfast, she notices a police officer writing her a ticket for her expired plates. Lucy attempts to argue that they are not yet expired, and takes a newspaper to prove herself, but sees that the date on all the newspapers is not October as she thought, and Marlin and Doug are forced to admit their deception when she confronts them. Henry comes up with an idea to make a video explaining to Lucy her accident and their relationship and play it every morning for her. She watched the tape and is hurt, but eventually comes to her senses and she is able to spend the day by picking up where the tape says she left off.
She spends more time with Henry and goes to see some of her old friends. Henry takes Lucy on 50 first dates and one night as they are out on their date walking on the beach, Lucy asks Henry if he loves her and henry says yes. Henry then asks Lucy if she can marry him and Lucy says yes. Lucy overhear Doug, Marlin and Henry talking and she hears of henrys plasn of leaving for the arctic so Lucy decides to erase Henry completely from her life after learning of his decision not to take a sailing trip to Bristol Bay to study walruses, something he has been planning for the past 10 years. He feels he cannot leave Lucy for the year it will take him. Henry reluctantly helps her destroy her journal entries of their relationship. A few weeks later, Henry is preparing to leave for his sailing trip.
Before he goes, Marlin tells him that Lucy is now living at the brain institute and teaching an art class. He also tells him that she sings. Then, he gives Henry a Beach Boys CD. Listening to the CD, Henry becomes emotional and curses Marlin for giving him the CD and making him feel so emotional. He then remembers that Marlin once told him that Lucy always sings after she meets him. He then realizes that Lucy remembers him and turns around to go home.
She says she does not remember, but then she dreams about him every night and paints pictures of him. They reconcile. Sometime later, Lucy wakes up and plays the tape marked “Good Morning Lucy”. It again reminds her of her accident, but ends with her and Henry’s wedding. From the tape, Henry says to put a jacket on and come have breakfast when she is ready. Lucy then sees that she is on Henry’s boat, which finally made it to Alaska. She goes up on deck and meets Marlin, Henry and their young daughter, Nicole.
Goldfield Syndrome is a non-existent ailment which was created by the writers of the movie but there really is a condition called “anterograde amnesia” which closely matches the situation portrayed in the movie. With anterograde amnesia, it’s usually caused when a person has some kind of brain damage, most often to the hippocampus region (a portion of the brain at least partially responsible for the storage of memory). In the film, Barrymore’s character has permanent brain damage due to a car accident she was involved in and suffered head trauma. When people have this condition, they really are, essentially, “stuck in time.” Their brains are able to encode new memories and store those memories, but the memories are made inaccessible to that person. In other words, the person doesn’t realize that the memories exist.
He or she will perpetually believe that it’s the day when the amnesia started, just like in the movie. Another reality portrayed in the film is that most people who have severe amnesia are forced to live in a hospital setting. There, the patients can be closely monitored and protected. You can imagine how stressful it would be to have a condition such as anterograde amnesia, and how confusing the world might become. Any new invention would scare you, as would your own reflection in the mirror as time continued to pass. One of the movie’s funnier moments, which also happen to be accurate, is the character nicknamed “10 Second Tom.” While Barrymore’s character can remember new events for a total of one day before “resetting,” the character Tom can, of course, only remember new events for 10 seconds.
This is also accurate. The type and extent of brain damage causing anterograde amnesia can vary, which leads to large discrepancies between individuals for how long memories can stick before fading away. It may seem like 10 seconds is ridiculous it is actually very real. Perchance one of the most famous amnesia patients is an English man named Clive Wearing, who could essentially only remember things for 7 seconds. Due to the fact that the movie is a comedy we see the “lighter side” of anterograde amnesia. However, the actual condition is extremely hard on the patient and his or her entire family. In Clive Wearing’s case, his children chose to stop visiting him as he aged, because he did not recognize them or acknowledge any of their past visits. They came to the realization that visits were stressful and unhappy memories for them, but had no long-term effect on their father at all.
Henry Roth first decides that he should give up the relationship, as Lucy can never truly love him. However, after Henry leaves Lucy shows that somewhere in her mind, her feelings for him have “sunk in” because she continually paints pictures of him, even though she doesn’t recognize who he is. While it is an unbelievable ending there is actual validity to this ending. This is because people who have anterograde amnesia, new memories are being encoded and stored in the brain; the problem is that they can’t access those memories. However, amnesia patients can still be affected by these memories, in surprising and interesting ways. In the movie we see Lucy’s character somehow, unconsciously, remembers Henry Roth and her feelings for him. Here the portrayal of anterograde amnesia is actually not wrong.
The movie itself is not about making fun of amnesiacs but it’s about a man who goes out of his way to make a woman fall in love with him every day and helps her family cope with this illness by saying, don’t just have her live the same day over and over. Make her life better. Allow her to grow because she is going to age and she’s going to deal. This movie offers a twist from the typical Hollywood romance where couples are usually in bed barely after a date or two. Henry, because of the newness of each day, is actually unsuccessful in getting Lucy to sleep with him. Instead his real love for her grows his lust for her lessens.
There is one mostly-clothed bed scene but sex is not necessarily inferred even though they do spend the night together. There are many romantic first kisses however and they do help to show the “sex-right-now” scene that more is not necessarily better. Henry seems to grasp this point which would have seemed impossible from early scenes where several women are describing their brief steamy affair with the elusive Henry. The filmmakers manage to turn their idea to its logical conclusion, turning an ending that could have been either laughable or appalling into something so effortlessly heartfelt as to be nearly inspirational.
The movie set was on an island so the flora and fauna of Hawaii don’t upstage the actors. The light summer outfits were suitable for the film and the location. It was a Mise-en-scene set where the palm trees, bright green grass, and crystal blue waters complimented Lucy’s character (smart funny and caring) while Henry’s carefree character ,who would move from woman to woman before he met Lucy, worked well with the wind and the palm trees. The director Peter Segal gets viewers to care enough about the characters that the idiotic plot elements aren’t all that off-putting. If there’s a downside, it’s that, aside from a few notable moments of outrageousness, the comedy is both low-key and limited in its ability to generate laughs.