'Back to the Future' Writer Bob Gale Speaks Up to Clarify Apparent Plot Hole
Why didn't George and Lorraine McFly recognize Marty?
Published Apr 24, 2020Back to the Future is a classic 1985 comedy about a time-travelling teen's romantic encounter with his own mother. Any movie about incestuous time travelling is sure to present some logical conundrums, and now co-writer Bob Gale has spoken up to clarify an apparent plot hole.
The debate began with Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn, who tweeted that Back to the Future is a "perfect film" despite one possible lapse in logic: "why don't Mom and Dad remember Marty?"
This began a discussion about whether George and Lorraine McFly should recognize their teenage son as the same person they met two decades earlier. Even actor Chris Pratt weighed in, tweeting, "When Marty returns to present day 1985, it could have been years since his parents would have perhaps originally noted the uncanny resemblance between their son and that kid from high school 20 years previous."
Gale subsequently attempted to clear things up in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, pointing out that George and Lorraine only knew Marty for eight days back when they were 17.
Gale said, "But I would ask anyone to think back on their own high school days and ask themselves how well they remember a kid who might have been at their school for even a semester. Or someone you went out with just one time. If you had no photo reference, after 25 years, you'd probably have just a hazy recollection."
He continued that, even if the parents had noted a similarity, "I'd bet most of us could look through our high school yearbooks and find photos of our teenaged classmates that bear some resemblance to our children."
Honestly, that sounds like a pretty reasonable explanation, so it's probably time to stop worrying about this plot detail and go back to being weirded out by the film in general.