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'Remember Me': Less Than Memorable

March 15, 2010
By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Allen Coulter is best known for the cable television standouts “Six Feet Under” and “The Sopranos.” The director explores even darker themes in the current big-screen release “Remember Me.”

Robert Pattinson is both a producer and lead actor in the movie, and there’s a pretty obvious effort to capitalize on the momentum of the wildly popular "Twilight." Included throughout the flick are plenty of the trademark brooding, passion, and angry outbursts that typify Pattinson’s James Dean-like character.

In “Remember Me,” Pattinson plays Tyler, a chain-smoking, sullen young man who works in a bookstore. Tyler is consumed with bitterness toward his power-wielding lawyer dad who is played with frigid aloofness by Pierce Brosnan.

Tyler is traumatized by his older brother's suicide. At one point the young man is arrested and roughed up by a police officer, who is played by Chris Cooper. On a dare from his roommate, and the chance to get back at the officer, Tyler begins a relationship with Ally (Emilie de Ravin of “Lost”), the cop’s daughter.

The two fall hopelessly in love as expected; that is until Ally discovers that their romance began with a lie. They eventually get back together, also as expected.

Tyler’s big brother protective relationship with his sweet, mildly eccentric younger sister provides some of the most enjoyable and heart-warming scenes in the film. Tyler rescues Caroline, played by Ruby Jerins, from some “Carrie”-like cruelty at the hands of her fellow classmates and also helps facilitate the healing of some of the daddy-daughter psychological scars.

In viewing “Remember Me,” be prepared to be emotionally manipulated by what writer Will Fetters has done with the screenplay’s conclusion. The movie uses, as a lowly plot device, the most serious attack on the America’s continental soil.

In an apparent attempt to gain word-of-mouth publicity and possibly generate some much sought-after controversy, the Sept. 11 tragedy is used to provide a surprise ending twist to what is essentially a mediocre screenplay.

However, the gravity of the attack and rawness of our collective wounds make the movie entertainment aspects of the 9/11 inclusion in the plotline unacceptable and unseemly. In addition, the ending doesn’t suit the storyline and appears to be tacked on for effect.

All of this apparently hasn't helped “Remember Me” in its opening weekend. The film came in fourth with only $8.3 million in ticket sales.

One positive element that could come from the film is that, through the inclusion of the twin towers tragedy, viewers may be reminded that we do indeed have fallen heroes and beloved family members and friends that we are forever sworn to remember.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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