Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Going through some old assignments, I came across this and don't remember watching the movie, LOL
Introduction to Language Disorders
April 17, 2012
Movie Review and Discussion: The Lookout
The Lookout tells the story of a young man who sustains a traumatic brain injury after a car accident. Over the course of the movie, the audience gets a glimpse into his life before and after the accident and how he changes and participates as the lookout for a team of people that decide to rob a bank. It’s named for the role the main character plays in a bank robbery. It isn’t a movie I would ordinarily watch, but provided a life-like glimpse into the life of a person struggling with the issues surrounding life after a brain injury, since this is not ordinarily something I experience on a daily basis.
The movie opens with the main character writing in his notebook. I remember learning that short term memory is often affected when a person sustains a traumatic brain injury, and this is illustrated when the main character is shown in all aspects of his life writing things down to remember in his note pad. We also talked about the fact that TBI happens more frequently in children and adolescent males due to risk-taking behavior. This was not an exception in the movie, as the accident occurred because the main character was driving fast at night with his lights off. I immediately thought of our discussion about risk-taking behavior and the fact that boys, more likely than girls, are apt to perceive themselves as “untouchable” with several lives. I couldn’t help thinking that the whole thing could have been avoided with a little common sense, but maybe that’s not the right way to think.
In class, we discussed how critical it is for the person that sustained the TBI to have a solid family support network. In the movie, the main character is financially supported by his parents but never really receives full emotional support, which is illustrated in a dinner scene when he becomes confused and agitated by the constant chatter that he is unable to understand. His best friend and roommate points out that maybe it might be better if he didn’t go home for a while. He knows this is the case, but never really wants to break ties for fear of losing the financial support that it comes with. This probably contributes to the decision to join the bank robbing team after a member of the team proclaims “he who holds the money holds the power.”
Another topic we discussed in class is the degree of functioning the affected person recovers after the injury and how it’s related to the functioning before the accident. The main character was a hockey star, athlete, and overall likeable guy before the accident, from what I gathered from the movie. Much of his frustration stems from the fact that he is unable to do what he used to be able to do. He talks about not being able to skate, and not being able to talk to his girlfriend, who is the only other survivor of the accident that night. His return to school was slow too. I couldn’t tell from the movie if he chose not to go back to school or he already graduated, but there are scenes in the movie that show the main character attending classes at a rehabilitation center where he works specifically on the act of sequencing events. He has an extreme amount of difficulty with this task and the task of telling a story in the order that the events happened at the beginning of the movie, but seems to get better with practice and repetition over the course of the movie.
The main character narrates most of the movie, and mentions once that his reading is slow and takes more time than it used to, which is frustrating. I couldn’t imagine not being able to read a menu at a restaurant, as he illustrates in a scene where he meets with one of his post-accident mentors and she asks if he would like to order some food before handing him a menu. He looks at the menu, looks up, puts the menu down, and asks what she is having. When she says that she is just having hot chocolate, he says to the waitress that he will have the same. I imagine that people have to make decisions like this all the time when they sustain a brain injury like this, and that it affects a person’s social life dramatically. There were also scenes where they showed him in a bar, trying to meet people. He writes down a pick-up line he hears someone else use, and then uses it later with another girl but it doesn’t quite sound the same or have the same affect. I’d imagine before the accident, picking up a girl in a bar would have been a piece of cake for this character. I’m sure this contributes to the frustration over simple communication situations like this one.
Another scene of note takes place in the kitchen. The main character is about to cook dinner, turns on the burner of the stove, and goes to find a can of something and forgot where he put the can opener. He finds the can opener, and realizes that he doesn’t know how to use it, and then realizes a few seconds later that this is not actually a can opener but another kitchen device used for another purpose all together. Meanwhile, the main character is getting frustrated and the stove is still on and the scene ends with him on the floor asleep discovered by his roommate, who knows how long later. I can only imagine what it must be like living with such memory loss. It must be exhausting always trying to re-learn and remember things and processes of daily living all over again.
We discussed in class how adolescents with TBI are grieving “major losses” and that is exactly what I saw throughout this movie. The main character is grieving the loss of a life he thought was possible but realizes will never be the same. He’s grieving the bank job he is unable to get and instead has to work as a janitor due to his communication problems. He is grieving the intimacy he can’t achieve due to his impulsiveness and lack of a verbal filter. He’s grieving the hockey he used to play and the friends he used to have. He starts to realize that he has made progress, but like we discussed, until he perceives it as true success and not just told that by the adults in his life, it will never truly be believed.
I can only conclude by saying that decision making is important and that if I ever have children they are going to understand that what they do today affects tomorrow.