Theories to Explain the Movie We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew

First, let’s set the expectations. You arrived wondering what the heck happened with this movie. And by the end? I promise you that you will be bringing us your own theories to explain the movie We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew… I absolutely promise you.

Hahahahahaha. Oh my gosh. I am my new best friend. Why? Because I added a bit of functionality on the site that lets readers post movies that we all might like here. (To find that feature, and add a movie, there is a red tab at the bottom of this screen… just click that, and voila! Brave new vistas have just opened to you.) And the other day? Mike (who is my other new best friend) posted the movie suggestion: We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew. And holy hot damn! hahahaha. Man I loved this movie. I loved absolutely everything about this movie. The fact that there were only three actors. The fact that it was a closed box movie (an expansive box, but closed box all the same.) The tone. The dialogue. The mystery. The holy crap what is going on here – that lasted almost the entire movie. No, that is not true. It lasted every single minute the movie was running… including the credits. Better yet? The movie has like a 14% audience score right now. And can I say this right now?

I LOVE LOVING MOVIES MOST PEOPLE HATE! 

My friends actually are weary of the movies that I love, because often times, the general audience at large can’t stand them because they are so confusing or non-mainstream. Why do normal? We did that already! I’ve got an idea!! Let’s do different now for a change! hahaha.

Ok, so what is this mind blowing movie, entitled We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew, all about? Well, it’s a simple concept really. Two people, walking through the woods of a post apocalyptic forest are constantly on the move. Constantly searching for other people, and constantly searching for the silver ridge. They have no knowledge of a before. They only remember this struggling life that they have had. When they suddenly come to two buildings that emerged out of nowhere. The buildings might be perfectly safe and the perfect solution to their nomadic life up until that point. Only problem? The building isn’t what it might seem. And it may or may not be inhabited by something not 100% friendly. That is literally all I can say without obliterating this movie for you.

I’m going to put the trailer right here. But if I were you, and if you haven’t seen the movie… DO NOT WATCH IT. Just head over to your Amazon Prime account, and hit play and thank me for it later.

So that happened. Ok. So from here on out, I’m going to pop the lid off this movie, and it’s going to get all kinds of crazy spoilery from here on out.

<– HERE BE SPOIL DRAGONS –>

Detailed We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew Movie Walkthrough

First, let’s start with the cast, shall we? There are no names in this movie. There is Man. There is Woman. And there is Man found in the Pool. Not exactly succinct… but it’ll have to do for now. So Man is played by Aaron Stanford, of the 12 Monkeys television show. (Nothing else he’s done matters, I adored that show.) And Woman is played by Louisa Krause, of Donald Cried, which I totally flipped for. And finally, Man from the Pool is played by Doug Jones, who has been monsters in about a billion movies, but his most recent and well known role would be The Shape of Water.

The movie opens with a quote from Woman.  It’s carefully worded… “Will you tell me something?” Does she mean, tell me a truth? Tell me something I don’t know? Tell me of our home? Tell me a fictional story… a total bedtime story for keeping from going completely out of my mind here. The quote was so carefully worded and so ambiguous, that I re-wound it three times and listened over and over again. Or better yet? Could it be that the woman has asked to have this entire movie, this entire story – as it were – told to her while she is sitting by the fire. And with this movie, absolutely nothing is off the table… anything could be right side up.

The Movie Begins With The First Unforgivable Lie. (If you capitalize the first letter of each word it makes it look more important. Like a subheading.) And that first unforgivable lie is the fact that Man has been telling Woman for years now, that they need to keep moving in order to find the other people, the place with the beds, and the sheets, and the food, and oh the water. They are heading to something called the Silver Ridge. But this has all been a lie. Why? In order to keep them moving. Give them something worth moving for. And when Woman finds out? She’s none too pleased. None too pleased at all.

But suddenly, out of nowhere there are the two towers, and suddenly, Man has no need to move on anymore. Man has no need to chase after his self constructed lie anymore. And so he sheds the lie, and stops with the hiking.

The Problem Of The Two Towers

These towers are strange in pretty much every way. There is plenty of water. There is plenty of food. And the gathering and collecting of these items were so insignificant, it isn’t even given a mention. There is a kitchen. Working faucets. The location is obviously a location of a bygone era. A dusty location of a once hopping metropolis. And yet, there are no roads to it. There is no sign of the forest’s reclamation of the rest of the city. It is just there, as if dropped to the earth by God himself. And when things are this easy, they are this easy for a reason. There usually is a deeper lesson to learn here. A deeper story to be gleaned from. It’s as if the author is queuing as to what is and isn’t important, and here? It’s as if Thomas Woodrow, the screenplay author and director, is saying water gathering? No. Food gathering? Nope. But a morality tale? Yeah… it’s got a good beat, and heck, you might even be able to dance to it.

The Man From the Pool

The opening of the movie is 100% about Man and Woman’s acclimation to the Two Towers. They come in, find a room they prefer, the find the food, the water. They learn to eat with forks and act somewhat civilized. Though everything comes to them through a shade darkly. Eventually Man help’s Woman heal her ankle (it should be said that the tech that he uses to heal her broken bone is so über that it has to be pretty significantly far into the future. Though the tech of the towers is closer to our reality, though decidedly not) and they learn the ins and outs of the place. And one day, while Man is exploring, he finds a pool. And at the bottom of the pool is a man. A very tall and lanky man. He’s obviously alive. But he doesn’t tell Woman about him. He just cordons off the second building, and keeps his existence to himself. And That Would Be Man’s Second Unforgivable Lie.

But soon? Woman sees the sandbags, and she realizes its hiding something, and just walks on the ground between the buildings and discovers the Man from the Pool herself. Soon she is posing him, cleaning him, and dressing him. But most importantly, she is talking to him and telling him everything. Telling him the stories that Man has told her. And when Woman asks Man about what is in the other building he says nothing. And when she says, “I just want us to be honest.” he responds with, “I didn’t see anything.”

You think I am making too much of his lies to her? Their silos. Their recalcitrance and their sedimentary layers of silence? Nope. I’m not, because that is what this movie is 100% about.

And while Man and Woman attempt to continue to build a life together in this new place, they continue to slip further and further away. Playing pool together? “I remember this game. I’m starting to remember more from before. I believe I was good at it. it was called pool, or billions, pool I believe.” But ultimately they slip to their own portions of the building. Man to his recordings, and his music, and his messing with the electrical. (Which, is interesting, because he’s able to turn the power on. From where? From what? How? But that is besides the point.) And then there is Woman, who has taking to painting the walls of one of the rooms. Like paintings of people, and civilization, and buildings. And the man in the pool has only exacerbated the distance that is already there.

Ultimately, when Woman shows Man her heart… her paintings he comes completely and totally unglued. Why? Because he is certain that the people? The civilizations? All of it, all the things from her memories? It’s all false. It’s all a lie. And even though they have memories of something else, that something else is dead, or was implanted. And she is chasing a false dream, and is just leading herself on now. And he won’t have it. Later though, he realizes he did EXACTLY the wrong thing. And though he tries to apologize, they are millions of miles apart now.

Slowly The Catatonic Begins To Move

And as Man, and as Woman, continue to visit the Man from the Pool he slowly begins to move of his own accord. Mainly for Woman. But its clear to them both that Man from the Pool is awakening. And time is slipping away from them. They can’t seem to sense time’s passage anymore. (Strangely similar to Welcome the Stranger in almost every way. But we’ll get back to that comparison later on.) And wait, the music is doing something to them. And the walls of the building aren’t quite right too. Something is wrong here Houston… do you read me? Something is definitely wrong here. And it all seems to be correllating with the Man from the Pool’s beginning movement.

And just like that, Man from the Pool begins moving… and moving in earnest. So much so that he screams long and loud in one of the freakishly scary scenes I’ve ever seen. And what does he do when he starts moving? He begins seducing Woman. They dress in all black, and cufflinks, pearls and he takes her to a hidden location of the buildings and they dance. Man sees Woman go over to Man from the Pool, and realizes what’s about to happen. So he heads to the pool as quickly as he can. But he takes her to the hidden area of the buildings and can’t find them. And that is when he realizes that when looking through mirrors, he can see that the walls really aren’t there. Or they lose their solidity? Not 100% clear on this point. But it’s through the mirrors that he is able to back his way into where they are dancing. But to get there, he broke a shard of mirror deep into his arm and his horribly hurt and losing a lot of blood.

As they continue dancing, the Man found in the Pool becomes more and more fierce, and more and more unrelenting with Woman. And eventually she yells as loud as she can, and he falls, and tumbles back down and into the pool.

The Ending of We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew Explained

I won’t to point out one thing that I intentionally skipped over a moment ago. Woman actually actively locked Man in his room with the tapes. She actively shut him down when she headed to the Man found in the Pool. And when she got to him she said, “I just don’t want to ever hear his lying voice anymore.” And with that? That was the prime mover to make him start moving, unlocking him, if you will. It is her willful and violent act of walking away from Man that makes Man from the Pool move.

Now, if you’ve seen the movie, The One I Love (if you haven’t, WHAT THE HECK?!), or as I mentioned earlier, Welcome the Stranger (Another head trip movie), and others like it (like Caught, The Wildling, or even 10×10) you’ll know that We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew fits in this wild niche of small budget, small cast, closed box, movies, that pushes the boundaries of our definition of what is reality. In The One I Love we see one couple, debating and arguing with another copy of themselves as they try and figure out what is real and worth fighting for in their relationship. In Welcome the Stranger watch a man play in a weird out of body tug of war between two women with differing goals and differing agendas for his mind. And here in We’ve Forgotten? We see one couple tug-of-warring with an evil manifestation, attempting to tear them apart.

And when Woman decides to cast him off, he rolls back down into his catatonic state. Then Man and Woman turn the power off to the building, pack their things and move on.

BUT WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED MAN!?!? 

Right? Because, if you got into this movie at all, it’s because you know that the thing that you are literally watching, isn’t the thing that is literally happening. It literally cannot be. Why can’t it be you ask? Well, for starters, the Man found in the Pool? Yes, there are catatonic people in the world today, but not ones that don’t get fed, or don’t go to the bathroom somehow. So he can’t literally be real. And the buildings? There was no infrastructure there. No roads. No city in ruins. It was just two buildings sitting in a forest? That isn’t a thing. All the customers walked on foot to get there? And what about the support infrastructure for those buildings? The water? The Sewage? Where was the food coming from? So if the Man found in the Pool is some version of fake, and the buildings are some version of fake… then what is going on here? Well, why don’t I just lay out a pile of possibilities and discuss them.

We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew Explained – Theory #1

Theory one is the literal theory. What if a catatonic man could survive somehow in the future? And what if buildings could be built in the forest and built upon an infrastructure that could support itself forever? Then what we have is a sad dystopian tale about a couple that collide with the Man found in the Pool and that’s that. It was probably just one of a million chaotic moments in their life they were lucky to have survived. Along with mountain lions, and cliffs, and frostbite… the Man found in the Pool was just another potentially horrific end to their sad lives.

We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew Explained – Theory #2

What if I was right at the outset? What if the two towers were just a story that Man tells to Woman while at the camp fire one night? And what if her mind just goes loose as he’s telling it? Filling in details. Filling in the gaps of the story as he tells it? Then that would mean that it is an interesting morality tale, sort of, a harbinger of risks and a tale that warns them against the walls that their survival has imposed upon them. But just an interesting story. And that’s about it.

This isn’t that far fetched of a theory. We know that in the future, there are constellations that are different from ours, and one of the most interesting ones is the Two Towers constellation. Did Man just use the stars he was seeing in the sky as a roadmap for the story he told Woman? Was he trying to warn her of their distance? Maybe? Or maybe the telling was a collaborative effort?

We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew Explained – Theory #3

Theory three could be a million sub-theories, but I’m going to keep it simple, and confined to just one. What if We’ve Forgotten is actually a morality tale? It isn’t real at all. (Maybe it’s a dream, maybe it’s catatonic man adrift, maybe its literally nothing but Man’s daydream. Heck? Maybe it’s my daydream) But at the end of the day, what if it’s just a story to warn you of something? A cautionary tale? But warning us of what?

Well, we know that as the movie progresses, Man and Woman make just about every single wrong turn possible along the way. But each of these wrong turns are things that we make each day. With our spouses, significant others, we choose daily to not tell that story, or share that thought. Personally, my brain runs at 400 million miles a second all day every day. And the number of moments I have with my wife are very very few. So of those moments that we share, am I choosing to listen? Am I choosing to share something that happened at work? Am I showing her my latest society 6 design or asking about her latest hobby or joy? But in this movie, Man builds a silo among his recordings. And Woman builds a silo among her art. And instead of sharing these thoughts together, they use the catatonic man in the pool as a personal therapist. Why? Because the stress of life is easier to diffuse with the Man found in the Pool than with each other.

Which, I have to say from personal experience, is real life to a T. Sure, I’ve never met a catatonic guy that lives in the bottom of a pool, but I have a library card. I have a Netflix subscription. I have a drug addiction. (ok, I don’t have that last one, but you get my larger point.) Instead of talking with your significant other, and working through the complexities of communication, I say, “Yup… pretty boring day honey.” When in fact I thought I might lose my job there for 15 minutes. Right? So the movie is a morality play about the walls that come between us in our relationships and keep us from strengthening our ties with our loved ones. Personally, this is the theory that makes the most sense to me. But unfortunately, Thomas Woodrow weighed in and thinks he knows better because he wrote the dang thing! hahaha Which brings us to Theory #4.

We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew Explained – Theory #4

Theory #3 and theory #4 are almost exactly the same thing, but for a significant key detail. So same as #3, we have a morality tale happening here. A story we should all learn from, but instead of a cautionary tale of against avoiding the difficulties of communication, instead it is a reminder that we should all avoid looking for the greener grass elsewhere. Don’t believe me? Here. Why don’t we have Mr. Smarty Pants Thomas Woodrow explain it to us since it’s “his” movie, yadda yadda yadda!

“I really wanted to pose questions for the audience more than give anybody answers, because my experience of life is asking questions and not having answers. I hate it when movies or stories try to give me answers they don’t really have or haven’t earned. But if there’s anything I, myself, have tried to embrace as I’ve worked through making this film, it’s probably a kind of affirmation or gratitude for the way things are and what we have. We can always imagine a “better” version of our circumstances, our partners, our lives, but in doing so we’re in a way negating what they actually are. Which is usually more fascinating and beautiful than what we can merely imagine.”

So there you have it. There are the 4 theories that seem to make the most sense to me. I mean, what are your Theories to Explain the Movie We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Knew? You got something better than the 4 I have here? I want to hear them! Share them in the the comments below.

Related Posts

2 Responses

  1. Mike

    So here is an exercise for anyone with too much time on their hands… Something I noticed immediately from the opening credits was the sort of alien writing the words began as then morphed or more accurately maybe, were translated into English letters. There was also this same alien writing in the movie, on the reel to reel tape deck and on the magazine covers in the room. So maybe someone can use the opening credits to figure out the “code” then translate what it says on the covers… Ready set go!
    Link to an interview with Doug Jones aka man in the pool. In this interview Doug gives a few possible explanations.
    http://wickedhorror.com/features/interviews/exclusive-interview-doug-jones-talks-weve-forgotten-ever-knew/

    Reply
  2. sara

    I loved this film! Wow. I had NO clue what happened after it was over, but I loved it immediately just because Doug Jones is so incredible to watch. The way he can emote with his face and body, silently, is unbelievable. Now that I’ve had a chance to ruminate on the actual story, I have some thoughts…

    Personally, I like to think of movies like this both literally and metaphorically, even though it seems (from what the director said) that this film was meant to be mostly-to-completely metaphorical. But once art is released to the world, it’s out of the maker’s hands, right? So I can choose to believe whatever I want! :p

    First off, as far as metaphors go, I think your idea that this is a morality tale is right on point. I think it’s all about how we communicate and connect with other people, our partners or loved ones in particular. What we choose to tell them or keep from them and why. How sometimes we may have the best intentions in keeping a secret, but how that doesn’t undo the damage or the distance it puts between us. And later, how partners sometimes make a choice to live a lie in order to stay together. It also made me ruminate a bit on what the “easy” choice really is.

    But as far as a literal story goes… that’s where things get dicey, because it’s SO open-ended. I read the interview linked in the comment above, and Doug Jones says something about the two towers, or even his character, being a portal to another dimension, which adds an interesting wrinkle. It makes sense to me that the two towers would be some sort of portal, because of the way time moves strangely inside them (i.e. how the woman intricately painted that entire room and didn’t remember doing it, and even the man in the pool himself seeming frozen… perhaps in time?). I think maybe the man in the pool is some sort of alien or otherworldly being, and that he presents some sort of a test for humans… to what end, I don’t know. But I would love to know what would have happened if the woman had kept dancing with the man!

    Finally, I think there must be a cyclical aspect to it. It seems notable that the man in the pool ended up in the exact same position he was in when the couple originally found him. Maybe it has to do with that fog in the woods? Maybe it’s a memory-wiping fog and they’ve been here before? I don’t know, but I like thinking about it!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.