A young American man wakes up naked in a Montreal parking lot, with no memory of what who he is or how he got there. All he remembers about himself is that he is gay. So begins "Amnesia: The James Brighton Enigma" (Canadian 2005), a fictional story based on real life events.
The first thing that the young man eventually remembers is what he believes his name to be: James Brighton. He remembers other isolated things, such as some music he likes, expresses a familiarity with television broadcasting equipment, and easily picked up French as a second language when sent to a class. But he still claims not to remember where he is from, or how he got to that parking lot in Montreal. He is diagnosed with a rare type of amnesia, likely associated with a severe mental or emotional shock of some kind, but all therapies fail in trying to find out more. He turns for help to a staffer from the local gay helpline, as well as a doctoral student who has taken an interest in his case. He appears on a tabloid TV show broadcast throughout the United States, hoping that will provide leads as to who he really might be. When some calls come in, they suggest that James isn't who he claims to be at all, and perhaps faked his amnesia in order to force a new start away from legal problems in the US. What is likely his real life comes back to him gradually, in flashbacks, but we are never quite sure if that is the truth either.
An interesting approach to an amnesia story, with kind of a Lifetime / Movie of the Week vibe, though the acting is a bit better than that genre. The writer puts an interesting hook on the old "I am so much more than just a gay man"-tirade by introducing us to someone who doesn't know anything about himself *except* that he is a gay man, and raising related issues of how important identity is to one's wellbeing.
The film is paced well except for the last half hour or so, when characters seem to appear without any real introduction, and disappear just as quickly, making it difficult to follow what is happening. I was also confused trying to follow the dialogue which alternates in English and French (for which subtitles are provided), sometimes in the same sentence. Despite its faults, this is a worthy effort, and I give it four stars out of five. DVD has only chapter stops, photo gallery and a trailer; a director commentary and more background info on the real case (which is provided on the film's website) would have been nice. Not rated, but would only be a PG-13 for gay content.