“Remember Me” is not for the pre-teen crowd that flock to see Robert Pattinson in the “Twilight” films, though Summit’s marketing campaign wants you to think so. It’s a darker, more mature look at love and family, albeit a fairly melodramatic one.
The film opens when young Ally witnesses her mother’s murder in a subway mugging. The action then jumps ahead 10 years when Ally (Emilie de Ravin) is in college. Her rebellious classmate Tyler (Robert Pattinson) has also been affected by a personal tragedy — the suicide of his older brother.
One night, Tyler gets involved in a fight outside a bar that results in an altercation between him and Ally’s father (Chris Cooper).
Tyler’s roommate Aidan (Tate Ellington) sees Ally with her father one day and suggests that Tyler date Ally and dump her as a way to get back at her father. But of course, nothing goes according to plan, and Tyler really falls in love with Ally, her free spirit and enthusiasm for living in the moment reinvigorating him.
The romance between Tyler and Ally is just one aspect at the center of “Remember Me.” Ally’s relationship with her father and Tyler’s relationship with his family play just as important of a role. After the death of Ally’s mother, her father is fiercely protective and can’t come to grips with her growing up and becoming independent, a battle that strains their relationship.
Tyler’s father (Pierce Brosnan) is a workaholic who, while he has provided for the family monetarily, has been largely absent personally. Tyler’s sister Caroline (Ruby Jerins) is a socially-awkward budding artist who just wants their father to pay attention to her. Tyler’s intense loyalty to his little sister drives him to become angrier and angrier at his father’s neglect.
This movie doesn’t feel like it’s meant to be a blockbuster success, although I’m sure Summit wouldn’t complain if Pattinson’s new teen idol status earns it some extra dough. Instead, it feels like part thoughtful indie, part “Love Story” or Nicholas Sparks melodrama. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but overall “Remember Me” is an engaging film.
This isn’t the movie for Pattinson to show audiences whether he has versatility and staying power beyond “Twilight” — his upcoming “Bel Ami” and “Water for Elephants” should be better suited to that — but it does show he has potential. It’s nice to see him go beyond Edward Cullen, even if Tyler can be equally brooding at times.
He gives a good performance with the material he’s given to work with, as does de Ravin, best known for her work on “Lost.” They’re both such likable leads that it’s easy to care about their characters, and they both exude a certain charm that reels you into them. They definitely have a strong screen presence, and they have good chemistry as a couple.
The veteran supporting players are equally strong. Brosnan and Cooper shine in their scenes, Brosnan oblivious and narcissistic and Cooper powerful and pained.
But the real standout of the film is Jerins as Caroline, who glows with a maturity and wisdom beyond her years in every scene she’s in. The slightest twitch of her face or lilt in her voice is enough to make you laugh or break your heart. She also brings out the best in Pattinson, who, while he does have good chemistry with de Ravin, shines the most in his scenes with Jerins.
The only performer who was a bit off was Ellington as Aidan, who was fun and goofy sometimes and a bit too obnoxious the rest of the time. He is so overzealous, saying every line and making every gesture with so much energy that he comes across like Tigger on speed.
Allen Coulter does well in the director’s chair, but Will Fetters’ script is the aspect of the film with the most weaknesses. If the somber tone and dialogue leading up to the film’s climactic end were less drenched in melodrama, the movie may have been more effective overall.
But I do applaud Fetters for taking a huge risk in the film’s last 10 minutes. It may or may not have worked depending on your view of the scene’s execution, but it’s refreshing that Fetters attempted to go there rather than playing it predictably safe.
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Now I’m going to do something I don’t usually do in reviews — I’m going to give away the ending. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen the film and doesn’t want to know, but I don’t feel like I can give a complete and honest review of this movie without addressing the ending, which most people have probably heard by now is controversial.
So, if you haven’t seen “Remember Me” and you do not want to know the ending, DO NOT CLICK HERE.
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Follow Alexa Milan on Twitter at http://twitter.com/alexamilan.