It’s rare for a movie to completely derail in the final five minutes, but that’s exactly what happens to director Allen Coulter and screenwriter Will Fetters’ romantic drama Remember Me.
The movie opens in 1991 on a New York subway platform where two muggers shoot a woman to death in front of her 11-year-old daughter. Cut to ten years later, where we meet Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson), a college-age trust-fund slacker who audits classes at NYU and works at a bookstore. One night he sees someone get attacked in an alley, and he’s compelled to fight off the attacker. When the cops show up, Tyler lips off to Sgt. Neil Craig (Chris Cooper), prompting the officer -- who has anger management issues -- to land a few fierce blows on Tyler’s pretty face. A few days later, Tyler’s best friend discovers that Craig’s daughter, Ally (Emilie de Ravin), goes to their same college, and promptly convinces Tyler that he should date her and then dump her to get revenge. Tyler starts the plan, but soon finds he genuinely loves the blue-collar girl, not only because she is beautiful, smart, and funny, but also because they each lost loved ones at a young age. He then does his best to cover up the deceitful reason they got together in the first place.
So far this description makes Remember Me sound like an undistinguished run-of-the-mill love story, and while Tyler and Ally’s relationship is the spine of the movie, it’s chock-full of numerous other subplots. Tyler’s tween sister, Caroline (Ruby Jerins), is something of an art prodigy, and Tyler spends much of the movie trying to convince his emotionally distant, obscenely wealthy father (Pierce Brosnan) to attend her first exhibit; Sgt. Craig still mourns the murder of his wife ten years earlier; and Tyler is one week away from turning 22, the same age his late older brother, Michael, was when he committed suicide.
Because of all his emotional trauma, it’s easy to see why Tyler might brood, and if nothing else Robert Pattinson is exceedingly skilled at brooding. As Edward in the Twilight movies, Pattinson became a teen hearthrob in a role that required him to do nothing but that, and those movies wouldn’t be the massive hits they are if he couldn’t skillfully mine the territory that Montgomery Clift and James Dean made popular 50 years ago -- he, too, simultaneously exudes vulnerability and masculinity. He does his best to anchor a film full of scenes that threaten to explode into emotional outbursts at any moment -- but the characters occasionally go so ridiculously over the top that it’s impossible to give yourself over to the film. To be fair, it works in fits and starts; individual scenes hold together, but they don’t build on each other, and because the story never gains any real momentum, most every scene feels like a setup for something later.
And as it turns out, what the movie has been building up to is a final scene so remarkably wrongheaded, an event so thoroughly unnecessary and unearned, that it destroys the movie. While it would be unfair to divulge the nature of how this story resolves, it’s safe to say that the only two plausible reactions are explosive laughter or offended shock. So rarely does a film sabotage itself this thoroughly, and it’s almost worth recommending Remember Me just to study how freakishly misguided a denoumount Will Fetters has concocted. If you do, you certainly will remember it.
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- Released: 2010
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: It’s rare for a movie to completely derail in the final five minutes, but that’s exactly what happens to director Allen Coulter and screenwriter Will Fetters’ romantic drama Remember Me. The movie opens in 1991 on a New York subway platform where two m… (more)