Roger: Your smile reminded me of...
Mimi: I always remind people of. Who is she?
— "Light My Candle," RENT
Old and often used stock phrase with several different variations.
Variant 1: "You remind me of myself"
The first and most commonly used variant is someone telling another person that the other person reminds them of themselves, especially if they add "When I was younger
" onto the end of it. In particular The Hero
may say it to a character like a sidekick
, a Hero-Worshipper
or a Non-Action Guy
who just showed some pluck and Got Dangerous
, an Innocent Bystander
who actually helped out, etc. Most commonly used to show that even if a character is outside the Competence Zone
currently, they have potential they may yet fulfill, or that they may grow up to be just like the hero and take up the call
This is often used to set up a Not So Different
scenario, and often either Sympathy for the Devil
(from the hero to the villain) or Sympathy for the Hero
(from the villain to hero). It's also a good way to show a possibility for a villain finding redemption.
It's worth noting that this variant often tends to be parodied or subverted. For example an Anti-Hero
or Deadpan Snarker
may wind up telling someone that it's the bad parts of themselves or the bits about themselves that they loathe that the person is bringing to mind. There are also times when it's said with the implication that the person they're saying it to is a Naïve Newcomer
who is overly idealistic just like they were at that age, but will have to learn cynicism, just like the person speaking. Many a Broken Pedestal
has said it this way.
Variant 2: "You remind me of him"
The other variant is the speaker saying that someone reminds them of X, with X possibly being anything from their father or mother, their mentor, a legendary hero, etc. A frequently response to Tell Me About My Father
, which is practically guaranteed to provoke a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming
. A nastier, more villainish version may include pushing the Relative Button
with this, or to turn it into a way to Reminisce About Your Victims
or ask the ever popular question "Would You Like to Know How They Died?
Variant 3: "You remind me of her"
A character with a deceased Love Interest
or failed romance runs into someone who causes a Flashback Echo
of his/her former love. The character will often look startled, then say "Sorry, for a moment you reminded me of someone I once knew". The two easily form a connection, foreshadowing a possible future relationship
, though one haunted by the tragic end of the previous romance
In the last two variants, you get extra points if you do a Wrong Name Outburst
Examples (You remind me of me)
- A Storm of Swords: When Ser Jaime Lannister talks to Ser Loras Tyrell, he realizes that the young man is basically a mirror image of himself when he was at that age.
- Miranda Priestly tells this to Andy at the end of The Devil Wears Prada, which only reinforces Andy's decision to quit.
- Michael implies this to a teenage client he helped on an episode of Burn Notice, complete with the show ending with the two of them leaning against his car in the exact same pose.
- Both Evan Edrok and Ha Jinsung from Tower of God are reminded of themselves when they first meet protagonist Baam. Evan sees the innocent, naive hopeful child he used to be who knew exactly what he wanted; Jinsung sees someone who lost everything he wished for.
- Doc Holiday did the Anti-Hero version in Tombstone, saying that Johnny Ringo reminds me him of him, which just means that now Doc really hates Ringo.
- Parodied/subverted in an episode of I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC, when Wolverine tells the Comedian how the Comedian reminds him of himself, then immediately remembers all the things that are different about them and it turns into a Not So Similar moment instead.
Maybe you ain't so bad after all, Blake. In fact, you kinda remind me of myself at your age. Except, y'know, I'm a mutant. And I've got ethics. And I'm not a psychopath... (or a rapist...) You know what, maybe you remind me of someone else...
- Sarevok uses this line in Baldur's Gate, during his appearance in Throne of Bhaal:
Sarevok: You remind me of myself...before I was slaughtered and cast into the Abyss. Think of that before you burn your bridges.
- When Green Lantern, Black Canary and Arsenal teamed up in the events leading to the post-Infinite Crisis. pre-New 52 JLA, Green Lantern thinks how Black Canary thinks it's because Arsenal reminds him of a younger Green Arrow — and that, the reality of it is, that Arsenal reminds him of his own younger self.
- Real Genius:
Chris: You see, Mitch, I used to be you. And lately I've been missing me, so I asked Dr. Hathaway if I could room with me again and he said sure.
- An inversion of the trope shows up in Road to Perdition, when Sullivan admits to one of his sons that it was the son that didn't remind him of himself that he loved more.
- In Chris Roberson's Warhammer 40,000 Blood Ravens novel Dawn of War II, the two boys they find in the hive remind Thaddeus of himself at that age — partly because he came from the same sort of hive, and partly because they fit the aspirant profile. (When he suggests that they might become Blood Ravens and kill xenos such as killed their mother, they are quite eager to be like him.)
- In the Ciaphas Cain novel Cain's Last Stand, one of Cain's students reminds him of himself. Amusingly (and not at all surprisingly, given his own character), this leads him to view absolutely everything Donal says and does with considerable suspicion.
- Interestingly enough, said student turns out to be quite the model commissar, offering to stay behind (and certainly die) in order to buy time for the others to escape. When he does survive, (but is brain washed) he prefers to commit suicide after being temporarily freed rather than lose his free will again. Should Cain's assessment be on the mark, it would seem to shine a light on Cain's own character.
- In Futurama, Zapp Brannigan, king of Metaphorgotten, says this of Fry: "You remind me of a younger me. Not much younger, mind you. Perhaps even a little older."
- The G-Man to Adrian Shepard at the end of Half-Life: Opposing Force.
I admit I have a fascination with those who adapt and survive against all odds — they rather remind me of myself.
- Agent 47 cites this as a reason for taking Victoria away from the ICA in Hitman Absolution. Despite (apparently) being a sociopath, 47 went up against his employers because he didn't want the girl to end up like him.
- The Three Musketeers (1993). "You, boy, are arrogant, hot-tempered, and entirely too bold. I like that, you remind me of me."
- In the first episode of Community, Pierce means it as a compliment when he tells Jeff that Jeff reminds him of younger version of himself, but since Pierce is, putting it gently, a complete tool, Jeff doesn't take it as one.
- Subverted on The Simpsons when Homer gets a job writing fortune cookie fortunes and presents his work to the other writers, one of whom is (for some reason) Woody Allen
Woody Allen: My god, he's like a young me!
Fortune Cookie Writer: Are you crazy? Yung Mi was a hack compared to this guy.
- In Next To Normal, Natalie tells Henry "you remind me of me...and how fucked up I can be" to explain why their relationship is struggling.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation ("Tapestry")
Picard: [about his time as an ensign] I was a different person in those days — arrogant, undisciplined; with far too much ego, but too little wisdom. [pause] I was more like you.
Q: Then you must have been far more interesting. Pity you had to change.
- Wall Street
Gordon Gekko: You could've been one of the great ones Buddy. I looked at you and saw myself. Why?
Bud Fox: [getting up] I don't know. I guess I realized that I'm just Bud Fox.
- In Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising, Flak of Black Hole says to Max of Orange Star:
Flak: You remind me of me. Except…I'm me.
- In Pearl Harbor, Alec Baldwin's character (Col. James Doolittle) tells Ben Affleck's character (Rafe McCawley) that McCawley reminded him of a younger version of himself (Doolittle). Crosses over to Actor Allusion, since Affleck played a younger version of the same character as Baldwin (Jack Ryan).
- In Final Fantasy X, Auron states indirectly to Tidus that he reminds him of himself. "I was just a boy. A boy about your age actually. I wanted to change the world too, but I changed nothing." See also below ("You remind me of him").
- In the original The Mysterious Benedict Society book, Mr. Curtain tells Reynie that he reminds him of himself as a child. This can hardly be pleasing for Reynie, as Mr. Curtain is the Big Bad of the series.
- In Assassins Creed II, when Ezio comes home after spending the night at his girlfriend's place (and getting chased out by her angry father), his father Giovanni initially appears to berate him for this... before bursting into laughter and mentioning this variant of the trope.
- Referenced in The IT Crowd
- "God I miss Jen. She reminded me of me at her age. (beat) I mean, when I was her age, she reminded me of her age. (beat) She reminded me of my age at her age. (beat) When I was her age, she was reminded of me?"
Examples (You remind me of him)
Examples (You remind me of her)
- Gunslinger Girl. Victor Hilshire has an immediate flashback to his former Love Interest Rachelle Belleut (the doctor who died saving Triela's life) when he meets Roberta Guellfi, a prosecutor his fratello has been assigned to bodyguard. Triela too feels a compunction to protect her, because she subconsciously reminds her of the woman in her dreams that she mistakenly assumes is her mother.
- Buckaroo Banzai. Buckaroo Banzai goes to see Penny Priddy while she's in jail.
Penny Priddy: What do you want from me?
Buckaroo: Oh, you remind me of someone I once knew long ago (his wife, who died before the movie started).
- Abarat. Candy reminds Carion of Princess Bon. A lot.
- Inverted in JAG as a way of dealing with You Look Familiar; Mac is the one asking Harm if she really reminds him so much of Diane.
- Arkraptor from Tower of God says this about Miseng, who reminded him of his daughter.
- RENT, as per the page quote.
- After she blows away a sentry drone, John Connor tells Kate that she reminds him of his mother in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. The Rifftrax commentary identifies this as one of the worst ways to compliment a woman, second only to "You remind me of my dad."
- Witch Hunter Robin reminds several characters of her mother.
- Feiling's Day In The Limelight has her helping out a Jerk with a Heart of Gold old man. You later learn that he has a granddaughter who looks
similar exactly like her.
- Several characters suspect that Nagi's initial attraction to Hayate is that he reminds her of her mother, who died when she was still young.
- Konata's dad makes an, ah, disturbing comment regarding how similar she is to her mother.
Soujirou: "But you know, you feel more and more like Kanata when I hold you. It makes my heart race!"
Kanata and Konata: "Don't just blurt out risque statements!"
- Vertigo: (Of course, as it happens she is.)
- The only reason Oskar's grandparents got together in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is because his grandmother reminded his grandfather of Anna, her sister and his first love.
- CSI NY : Mac tells Reed that he reminds him of his mother, Mac's late wife Claire.
- This causes the tragic events of Lolita, when Humbert Humbert becomes instantly smitten with 11-year old Dolores Haze because she reminds him of his first love, 12 year-old Annabell who was killed by typhus before they had a chance to consummate their relationship.
- In Snow White & the Huntsman, the Huntsman remarks that Snow White reminds him of his deceased wife, just as brave, just as compassionate, etc.