A title like "Remember Me" is automatically mysterious. Who is making that statement? Who is it directed at? Why is it being made? It is something a character is requesting, or is it actually a theme that carries all throughout? Is it both? I wouldn't be asking these questions if it weren't for the ending of this film, which, I admit, I have no idea how to feel about. I do know that it will divide audiences. Some will see it as powerful while others will see it as emotionally manipulative, perhaps even offensive. Everyone will agree that it comes completely out of left field. At least, it might seem that way at first; I too was caught off guard, but as I thought back on how the film progressed, I quickly realized that hints - some of them not at all subtle - were being given to us.
All I can say with certainty is that everything leading up to the ending is enjoyable, if a little routine. The main character is Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson), a moody, rebellious, bitter twenty-one year on the verge of turning twenty-two. Is this something to celebrate? Not with the life he has leading. He lives in a dingy New York apartment. He takes all his college classes on an auditing basis. He has no prospects. He picks fights with the wrong people. He smokes too much. He often lands in jail. He hates his father, Charles (Pierce Brosnan), whose cold, distant workaholic tendencies may have played a part in the suicide of Michael, Tyler's brother. Michael, of course, was only twenty-two years old.
In due time, Tyler starts dating a college student named Ally Craig (Emilie de Ravin), who has her own emotional baggage to contend with. Part of it stems from her father, an NYPD officer named Neil (Chris Cooper), a broken man who we know is decent deep down. He's immensely overprotective of Ally. Why? He has his reasons, other than the fact that he's her father. If she forgets to call home after just one night away, he'll call everyone he knows down at his precinct and demand they help track her down. If he had his way, she wouldn't have a boyfriend, nor would she be allowed to grow up. Be that as it may, Tyler and Ally really do seem to have a good thing going, despite the fact that it all started under false pretenses.
Meanwhile, Tyler remains devoted to his eleven-year-old sister, Caroline (Ruby Jerins), a gifted artist who has a tendency to space out in the middle of class. She's often made fun of. Eventually, she learns just how mean other kids can be. This generates even more friction between Tyler and his father, who frequently thinks business meetings are more important than family gatherings, specifically an art show Caroline was lucky enough to be a part of. But is Charles really the hard-hearted monster he seems to be? Or is he still grieving the death of his other son? Tragedy can make us do things we ordinarily wouldn't do. For Charles, overworking might be easier than actually allowing himself to feel. All he knows is that he more than adequately provides for his family, financially speaking. And Tyler? He has no responsibilities at all. How can he when he believes that life ends at age twenty-two?
While hardly groundbreaking in terms of story, "Remember Me" does have emotional resonance. It helps that the performances are strong. I responded best to the scenes featuring Pattinson and Jerins; all too often, the chemistry between child actors and adult actors is overlooked, and this is a shame because it's sometimes the most believable aspect of a film. This isn't to suggest that there isn't chemistry between the adults. Indeed, Pattinson and de Ravin are always charming, humorous, and poignant whenever they appear together. And Pattinson and Brosnon are convincing as a quarrelling father and son. The only casting choice I question is Tate Ellington, although it had nothing to do with his performance; his character - Aiden Hall, Tyler's roommate - was completely unnecessary, and, quite frankly, annoying.
I've now established that this movie opens on a good but unoriginal premise. This brings me back to what I started this review with: The ending. Was it earned? Honestly, I have no idea. On the one hand, it's a contrived scene that's in service of an already contrived plot, which is more than a little unfair. On the other hand, it depicts a very real event, and it correctly reinforces the idea that it's pointless to put all your energy into hating those closest to you. Both are equally valid points. Ultimately, I can recommend "Remember Me" only on the basis of its opening and middle sections, which were well done in spite of a very traditional premise. As far as the ending is concerned, I'm afraid you're on your own. Hopefully, I'll be able to make up my mind the next time around.
Overall, the acting in this movie is pretty compelling. It really tugs a lot of emotional strings. The plot goes from one tragedy to the next, until the surprising finale. Robert Pattinson is the only exception - he seemed like he was trying too hard. The dialogue often sounded too forced, particularly during the confrontational scenes. I kept thinking, who really talks like that? Nonetheless, it's an entertaining movie if you like dramas and pretty well done.
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Rebel Without a CausemeetsOrdinary Peoplein postmillennial Manhattan, resulting inHollywoodlanddirector Allen Coulter'sRemember Me.Twilight's tousle-haired Robert Pattinson plays Tyler, a chain-smoking New York University student with a substantial chip on his shoulder. Drifting through life devoid of ambition, he lost his older brother to suicide, his parents are divorced, and his father, Charles (Pierce Brosnan), spends more time in the boardroom than with his kids (Lena Olin plays Tyler's mother). Tyler takes refuge in his friendships with wisecracking roommate Aidan (Tate Ellington) and artistic younger sister Caroline (Ruby Jerins). One night, he and Aidan enter a scuffle outside a club, and Sergeant Craig (Chris Cooper) takes him in for mouthing off, even though he was trying to break things up. When Aidan discovers that they go to school with Craig's daughter, Ally (Lost's Emilie de Ravin), he dares his pal to date and dump the Queens coed to get back at Craig. Game for anything, Tyler gives it a try, and Ally takes the bait, but he puts all thoughts of revenge aside when he finds himself falling in love. Ten years before, Ally lost her mother (Martha Plimpton in an unbilled cameo), and she understands him better than most anyone else, but the timing is off, and the events of 9/11 will change the lives of both families forever. The descent toward melodrama at the end threatens to derail Coulter's delicate project, but he sets things right in ...