Forgotten Love has represented one of the most exciting movies released on Netflix in the second half of 2023. Based on a famous Polish book, the film tells the fascinating story of Rafal Wilczur, a brilliant surgeon who loses his memory and starts a second life, reuniting by chance with his daughter. The plot is pretty complicated, and the ending leaves many questions unanswered. Also, viewers have been curious to know if there was a true story behind it, and the book is factually inspired by two real cases mentioned by the author. Everything will be explained in this article.
You can watch the official trailer for Forgotten Love here on Youtube.
Forgotten Love plot & ending explained: who tried to kill Rafal?
The plot of Forgotten Love follows the life of Dr. Rafal Wilczur, a brilliant surgeon living in Poland with his wife and his little daughter. Rafal is a passionate doctor who provides help also for poor people who don’t have insurance. However, his wife shows signs of depression at home, and one day, she leaves with her daughter. Rafal tries to find her, but he gets attacked by a group of bandits. We see an enigmatic scene: while Rafal gets beaten, his colleague, Dr. Jerzy Dobraniecki, arrives; he watches Rafal lose consciousness and leaves without helping him. From that, we understand he wanted him out of the game so he could become the Chief Surgeon in the clinic.
As Forgotten Love has explained, according to the newspaper, Rafal is believed dead, although his body was never found. His wife will start a new life elsewhere, and his daughter will grow up. Years later, we discover that Rafal is still alive: he completely loses his memory and doesn’t remember who he is. But he can still use all his exceptional medical skills and help people out of his natural passion. We slowly discover that Marysia is his daughter: she grew up believing her father committed suicide, but at the ending of Forgotten Love, she understands that Rafal is her biological father.
The interesting part of the plot in Forgotten Love is that Rafal still doesn’t remember what happened to him years before, but that doesn’t exclude that one day he will. This scares Dr. Dobraniecki: if Rafal regains his memory, he can accuse him of complicity or failure to assist, causing a scandal (he’s a renowned doctor). That’s why Dobraniecki asks his lover, Zoska, to call him immediately if he shows signs he’s regaining memory. Also, at the trial, Dobraniecki proposes to take Rafal under his custody and treat his memory: he’s probably more interested in preventing him from ever regaining his memory again so his reputation will be safe.
The plot and the ending of Forgotten Love have explained the story of a character who reunites with his destiny: Marysia will officially recognize Rafal as her father, and society will identify him as Dr. Rafal Wilczur, reconnecting with his true story. At the ending of Forgotten Love, Rafal will marry Zoska, and Marysia gets married to Count Leszek Czynski.
Will Rafal Wilczur ever regain his memory? Forgotten Love is based on the book Znachor (The Quack) by Polish author Tadeusz Dołęga-Mostowicz: in that book, Rafal Wilczur doesn’t manage to get his memory back. However, the novel was so successful in Poland that the writer decided to work on a sequel. The following novel is titled Professor Wilczur, and yes, in that book, Rafal Wilczur regains his memory and tries to get back to his former job in the clinic.
Is there a true story behind the book?
The events depicted by Forgotten Love are so fascinating that people wonder if there is a true story inspiring the book and the movie. The author of the book, Tadeusz Dołęga-Mostowicz, had the chance to explain it: the character of Rafal Wilczur is fictional, born from his fantasy, but two real-life events inspired him for this story.
Around 1936, the writer visited Radotki, a small village in east-central Poland. There, he met a mysterious man called Różycki: he worked in a water mill, but his knowledge of medicine and herbalism allowed him to receive patients from the village. It is said that many people preferred to be treated by him instead of real doctors. Różycki became the main inspiration for Rafal Wilczur and his novel Znachor – The Quack.
Another source was an article that the Polish newspaper ABC published one year before: the piece of news was about a doctor, Dr. Ferdynand Dolani, who regularly graduated in medicine in Brussels. However, he moved to Poland and concealed his medical degree, practicing as a quack. He believed in the ethical duty of helping others, and since most people were losing faith in real doctors, he preferred to act as a quack.
So the movie Forgotten Love, and the book it’s based on, is not a true story, but the author who wrote it got his inspiration from two real stories he discovered in those years.