Below you’ll find Laura’s (Pel’s) review of Remember Me.
There are certain actors that I’ll go and see a movie that they are in because I’m that much of a fan. Remember Me didn’t draw me in on actor love, despite the fact that I’ve been drooling of Pierce Brosnan since I was 14 and saw the Manions of America. I mean I’m fine with Robert Pattinson being Edward Cullen, but I wouldn’t consider myself a Rob fangirl. I haven’t seen Little Ashes or How To Be. I didn’t get the fuss when he was in Harry Potter, and to a large extent I don’t relate to the fuss now. I’m not really a squee and giggle kind of girl, I think I skipped that stage at age 12. I was interested in Remember Me based on the trailer that ran in front of New Moon. Honestly, I wasn’t that interested before I saw that trailer, but the character relationships I saw in the Remember Me trailer got me interested.
I went into the movie knowing nothing other than the clips that all of you have seen. Without giving away the plot, the movie opens in spring 1991 and then after a scene that sets the backstory for Emilie De Ravin’s character, is a transition and the words “10 years later”. Now this is the first of several markers that make you keenly aware that the story is set in 2001 in New York City.
As a New Yorker, I was impressed how much this film lived and breathed New York. Hollywood frequently gets the city wrong with anachronisms like people heading uptown on 5th Avenue, or Monica’s apartment in Friends is gargantuan in size. There was such an attention to detail, the hanging’s on the walls of Tyler’s (Rob’s) apartment and in Ally’s (Emilie’s) house. The fact that Ally’s mother was a nurse who married a cop is so New York. That Tyler is drinking coffee out of a blue cup with the Grecian figures on it is so New York. The fact that they are eating Bialys is so New York! They haven’t white washed the city. They showed it off at it’s unrefined best from the Queens suburbs ( Fresh Meadows, Whitestone, or Elmhurst area I think), to yuppie Brooklyn, and then to the grimy student apartment in The Village by NYU. Bingo, it’s authentic New York. It’s not Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese New York, but another angle truly captured. This adds a level of plausibility and reality to the story.
The movie itself is old-fashioned, character driven storytelling, and that’s a good thing. What’s really nice is that each actor has added beyond the cliche of who they could have played. Robert Pattinson has noted that there is a bit of the James Dean Rebel Without a Cause and the Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caufield in his portrayal of Tyler, but it has a depth and variety that goes beyond disaffected youth and angry young man. The same is true with newcomer Tate Ellington. he plays the likable yet unlikeable best friend. You don’t know if you want to hug him or smack him.
Chemistry makes every movie. You have a love story without chemistry and it’s all over. The media has made a lot about the relationship between Rob Pattinson and Emilie DeRavin’s characters. I assure you, it does sizzle. However, there’s another love story in the movie that to me was more compelling. It’s the story of the relationship between Tyler and is little sister, Caroline, played by Ruby Jerins of Nurse Jackie fame. By far it’s the strongest bond between two people in the movie. Three scenes in and you are absolutely convinced that Tyler would walk through fire to help his little sister. The scenes involving Caroline and Tyler story arc are among the best including a confrontation scene with their father played by Pierce Brosnan that’s been seen briefly on the trailer. Tyler asks his father ‘Why aren’t you riveted?” Believe me, at that point the entire audience is riveted.
Now for the timing. As I said, you realize within the first five minutes of the movie that it is set in New York City in 2001. You are constantly reminded of the year in so many ways, such as movies that the characters are seeing and discussion of Roger Clemmens playing for the Yankees. So when the family takes a trip Labor Day weekend to the Hamptons and comes back on the Long Island Rail Road on the Monday, you mentally begin your eight day countdown. When the story got to that following Tuesday and with that postcard perfect bright blue sky, I was fidgety with a lump in my stomach. By the time a key character was standing in front of the big red Marine Midland Bank cube looking across the street I was clutching the arms of my chair and clawing at the wood.
For many reasons I have purposefully never seen a film made about 9/11. It took me over a year after 9/11 before I couldn’t go anywhere near Ground Zero. Where the action then leads and how the character’s lives are then affected I won’t spoil. I will say this, I had I seen airplanes crashing, people running in terror down staircases, or making that last phone call I would have vaulted over my seat probably still clutching the armrest where I would have beat someone senseless in the lobby with it.
I once I realized I wasn’t going to see anything gratuitously graphic and my blood pressure came down I was OK with how the movie came to it’s conclusion. It would have been easy to do a myriad of cliches, but the movie doesn’t go there. It goes for subtle and suggestive and that makes it real. It’s not a showy ending—but it’s the right ending, because life goes on.