Leonard Shelby is an interesting knife-edge case. In one sense, Leonard is the exact opposite of what existentialism stands for. Leonard, who has suffered severe short term memory loss after a hard blow to the head as he tried to stop a burglar from brutally raping and murdering his wife, has come to totally define himself by his mission to take vengeance on the man responsible for this hideous crime. Of course this sort of "essentialism", where an individual denies one's own freedom to define who he or she is and insists they are compelled to follow a certain path, is what Sartre coined as "living in Bad Faith". What makes Leonard's case such an interesting example though is it seems to test the boundaries of existentialism. Leonard is incapable of creating new memories, essentially robbing him of the ability to change his perception of himself, an ability that is vital to the understanding of freedom from the existentialist's point of view. However, even in this extreme case, we see how prevalent freedom of choice really is. In the film's final scene, Leonard has a moment of clarity where the truth of his life is fully revealed to him. At this juncture, Leonard has a choice to either help himself remember the truth, or go down the road of self-deception. Leonard ultimately chooses the path of self-deception, rationalising the decision with the line, "We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are." Despite the fact that Leonard has forever sentenced himself to a world of reflective illusion, he can never get away from the fact that at that moment, he had a choice to make, and it is this decision that qualifies Leonard Shelby as an existential warrior.
A film fanatic at a very young age, starting with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies and gradually moving up to more sophisticated fare, at around the age of ten he became inexplicably obsessed with all things Oscar. With the incredibly trivial power of being able to chronologically name every Best Picture winner from memory, his lifelong goal is to see every Oscar nominated film, in every major category, in the history of the Academy Awards.