"Who am I" in the movies

I’m doing a workshop this weekend for a small group of mostly teenagers and I’m looking to show some film clips where a character has a real “who am I?” moment. A personal awakening, maybe with a nice monologue. The final scene of The Truman Show where Truman speaks to The Creator is a good example. Any ideas? No parameters really, just nothing with a hard R rating please.

Perhaps not immediately helpful as it isn’t out on disk until the end of this month, but the end of Thor: The Dark World. Thor is speaking to Odin, and talking about how he thought he wanted to be king, but he realizes now that what he wants is to be Batman.

Jackie Chan’s - Who am I? - quite literally fits the OP from title to several scenes within the movie.

A little short for your purposes, but there’s Army of Darkness:

Ash: Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun.

In Wall Street Charlie Sheen 's Bud Fox awakens one night, gazes out onto the Manhattan skyline from his balcony and asks himself the “Who am I?” line.

All of Momento

Who am I? I’m Jeaaaaaaan Valjean! (ok, in the movie he doesn’t sing it with as much oomph as the stage version. boo.)

Oh yeah, also … Am I “a Man or a Muppet?” A Muppet or a man?

I had actually thought about the Les Mis scene already, but the Muppet Movie song is an amusing idea. I’ll probably actually use that to break up a couple more serious scenes - don’t wanna get too heavy for the kids. :wink:

Oh, and I meant to say it’s next weekend, not this weekend, so please keep 'em coming.

“What Kind of Fool am I?” from Stop the World, I Want to Get Off

The movie Lawrence of Arabia doesn’t have a “Who am I?” moment, but Lawrence is perpetually asked that – most directly when, coming upon the Suez Canal, dressed in his Bedouin robes and covered with sand, a British soldier on a motorcycle shouts “Who are you?” twice. You can take it literally, but it’s also, significantly, a direct asking of the important question about Lawrence. There’s no answer, because it’s not clear Lawrence ever answered it. Besides being his British officer self and his Bedouin fighter self, Lawrence later called himself Ross and T.E. Shaw (The play that arguably inspired the film, which starred Alec Guiness as Lawrence, was entitled Ross, not “Lawrence”, and was asking the same question.)

TV show, not movie, but Susan Ivanova has a great “Who am I?” speech on Babylon 5.

Three immediately came to mind…well, two and a half.

The solid one is: Bridge on the River Kawi…Both Alec Guinness and Sessue Hayakawa have one of those. Hayakawa’s comes about half way through…when he contemplates Hari Kari…Guinness’s comes near the end when he sees Holden’s characters crawling towards him with the knife.

The second and may the not full one is the Muppet Movie where Kermit tries to figure out why he went through the whole movie to get where he was.

The other not full one is The Man Who Would Be King and I am not really sure whether Caine’s character or Connery’s character has the moment. It comes as Connery is about to step on the bridge. Maybe as he stands on the bridge, but it’s there for sure.

MANY of Philip Dick’s works are about this very subject: Who am I? How do I know who I am? Is it just because of my memories? If so, how do I know my memories are real?

Numerous movies have been made from Dick stories or novels, including Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall. For most of the movie, Arnold’s character thinks he’s a good guy who’s been trying to help the people of Mars. Over time, he learns…

This movie is so old, I oughtn’t bother with a spoiler box, but I will.

[spoiler] He’s NOT a good guy. He finds out to his horror that he’s actually a bad guy who had phony memories and a phony identity planted in his brain so he could get deep undercover among the Martian resistance movement without being detected by their psychic leader. He passes for a good guy among them because he actually BELIEVES he is one!

At that point, he has to decide… does he want to be the scummy character he truly is, or the good person he thought he was?

As the psychic says, “A man is defined by his actions, not by his memories.”


Richard Gere’s*** Somersby (based on the earlier, supposedly superior French film The Return of Martin Guerre***) is an interesting take on this question.

For much of the movie, we’re unsure if the Confederate soldier who has come home from the Civil War really is Jack Somersby. He LOOKS just like Jack Somersby, but he’s very different in personality. He’s… kinder. More thoughtful. More decent.

Is it just that the war changed him, or is he actually someone completely different?

The answer is…

He’s NOT Jack Somersby. He’s an impostor who looked a lot like Somersby and stole his identity.

But he learns to love Somersby’s wife, family, friends and town, and ultimately decides he’d rather die as the respected, loved Jack Somersby than live as the cowardly fraud he really is.

There are two Disney cartoons that come to mind. One is ***Toy Story ***and one is ***Bolt. ***

In Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear doesn’t know he’s a toy! He thinks he’s really a heroic astronaut fighting evil throughout the galaxy. It’s heartbreaking for his to discover that he isn’t real. Remember the scene where he tries to prove he really can fly?

In Bolt, the title character is a dog who’s a character on a TV show. He’s supposed to be a dog with super powers, and everyone involved with the show tries hard to maintain that illusion. Bolt thinks he really is a heroic super dog, and once he’s out of a studio setting, he can’t understand why his powers no longer work.

He has to figure out who he is and what he’s good for, if he’s not really a crimefighting hero.

Another Philip Dick movie: Blade Runner

Some newer models of replicants (androids) have been implanted with false memories of childhoods and families they never really had.

The replicant Rachael (Sean Young) thinks she’s human. She tries to convince replicant hunter Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) that she is human by telling him about her life. He already KNOWS all the details, because he was informed of her programming.

The whole movie is a big reflection on the “Who am I” question.

This is the first thing that came to my mind. (Pity me.)

Angel Heart.

“I know who I am! I know who I am!”

He didn’t until the end. He had just realized that he had killed another man and stolen his soul in order to get out of a contract with Devil.

Sorry for the nitpick, but it’s hara kiri, belly cutting.

I suspect that she didn’t really have any doubts.