×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Remember Me

Fate sticks its foot out to trip all the characters in all the worst ways in "Remember Me."

With:
Tyler Hawkins - Robert Pattinson Ally Craig - Emilie de Ravin Sgt. Neil Craig - Chris Cooper Diane Hirsch - Lena Olin Aidan Hall - Tate Ellington Caroline Hawkins - Ruby Jerins Charles Hawkins - Pierce Brosnan Janine - Kate Burton Les Hirsch - Gregory Jbara

Fate sticks its foot out to trip all the characters in all the worst ways in “Remember Me,” a grave romantic drama with grandiose thematic intentions. Framed in a portentous manner with a calamitous ending that will only come as a surprise to those who haven’t been paying attention, the modestly scaled film delivers some moving and affecting moments amid a preponderance of scenes of frequently annoying people behaving badly. It is precisely the young female fans of star Robert Pattinson who will react most wrenchingly to this doomed romance, which should enjoy a short but sweet B.O. life.

Pattinson is in heavy James Dean mode here as a reckless, unwashed, chain-smoking, intensely confused pretty boy named Tyler who, as Dean did in “East of Eden” and “Rebel Without a Cause,” has major father issues. Turning his back, at least for the moment, on his family’s wealth — dad Charles (Pierce Brosnan) is a mighty Wall Street lawyer, while classy mom Diane (Lena Olin) has remarried and is raising precocious 11-year-old artist Caroline (Ruby Jerins) — Tyler rooms with crude low-life Aidan (Tate Ellington) while occasionally attending NYU classes between drinking bouts.

On a dare, Tyler hits on hot little classmate Ally (Emilie de Ravin), a working-class Queens lass who’s the only daughter of a cop (Chris Cooper) who recently threw Tyler in jail after a drunken brawl outside a nightclub. As revealed in the mortifying opening scene, Ally, as a little girl, witnessed her mother’s murder on an elevated subway platform; she and Tyler are thus able to morbidly bond over lost loved ones, since his own older brother committed suicide on his 22nd birthday — and Tyler’s 22nd is just around the corner.

As if this weren’t enough ominous emotional baggage for one movie, there’s plenty more, from the pain little Caroline feels from being ignored by her absent father to the story’s overarching historical setting; suffice it to say that the action, as announced at the outset, is set in 2001.

Debuting screenwriter Will Fetters structures the drama so that Tyler’s and Ally’s love affair, mostly conducted in the former’s squalid apartment, might seem like an escape from, and potential purgative of, the jagged emotions that plague them both. Unfortunately, the romance never feels intense or deep enough to fully serve this purpose; director Allen Coulter would have achieved a significantly greater connection had he been able to sweep the viewer up in the heady feeling of two wounded people falling hopelessly in love for the first time and trying, but failing, to prevent the other forces in their lives from gnawing away at their fleeting happiness.

This atmosphere of temporary escape never translates into desired privileged moments, partly because the lovers must share their nest with Aidan, one of the most gratingly obnoxious roommates ever invented. Whenever he turns up, you just want him to get lost, and matters aren’t helped by Ellington, who adamantly delivers most of his inane remarks at the top of his voice, as if that’s the only way he can get anyone to listen to him. It’s painful.

Then there’s the matter of Pattinson’s opaqueness. No one could deny that the actor is very watchable, but he’s also either incapable of or coy about letting anyone get inside what he’s feeling. One needs to palpably feel Tyler’s turmoil, which at times, particularly when his father disappoints Caroline most callously, nearly eats him alive. Tyler and Ally once or twice become physically rambunctious but never get carried away, resulting in less-than-fulsome viewer investment in their relationship.

Best known for her six seasons on “Lost,” de Ravin registers well with an agreeably assertive screen presence. Beautiful in some shots and almost ordinary-looking in others, the diminutive Aussie thesp has a chameleonlike presence that calls to mind a cross between Julie Christie and Samantha Morton. Cooper nails the fear and frustration of a limited man who’s already lost one significant woman in his life and senses he’s about to lose another. Brosnan concisely registers the frosty and seemingly unthawable outer layer of a downtown titan.

Even if you know, or think you know, what’s coming at the end, the emotional undertow is hard to resist and is of a piece with the picture’s articulated philosophical position about doing all one can during one’s brief moment on earth. Gotham locations are evocatively but unostentatiously used, Marcelo Zarvos’ fine score stirs added emotional turbulence, and tech contributions are more than solid.

Popular on Variety

Remember Me

Production: A Summit Entertainment release of an Underground Films production. Produced by Nicholas Osborne, Trevor Engelson. Executive producers, Carol Cuddy, Robert Pattinson. Directed by Allen Coulter. Screenplay, Will Fetters.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color), Jonathan Freeman; editor, Andrew Mondshein; music, Marcelo Zarvos; music supervisor, Alexandra Patsavas; production designer, Scott P. Murphy; art director, Katya DeBear; set decorator, Diane Lederman; costume designer, Susan Lyall; sound (DTS/Dolby Digital), Ken Ishii; supervising sound editor, Dave Paterson; re-recording mixers, Reilly Steele, Paterson; visual effects supervisor, Aaron Weintraub; digital visual effects, Mr. X; associate producer, Michael Lannan; assistant director, Joseph Reidy; casting, Joanna Colbert, Richard Mento. Reviewed at Aidikoff screening room, Beverly Hills, March 4, 2010. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 113 MIN.

With: Tyler Hawkins - Robert Pattinson Ally Craig - Emilie de Ravin Sgt. Neil Craig - Chris Cooper Diane Hirsch - Lena Olin Aidan Hall - Tate Ellington Caroline Hawkins - Ruby Jerins Charles Hawkins - Pierce Brosnan Janine - Kate Burton Les Hirsch - Gregory Jbara

More Film

  • Benjamin Wallfisch - scoring session, Abbey

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch Signs With Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch has signed with the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency (GSA) for worldwide representation, in partnership with London-based agency COOL Music Ltd. A top composer, whose scoring credits include “It Chapter Two,” Shazam!” Hellboy,” “Hidden Figures” and “Hostile Planet,” among others, Wallfisch has worked on over 75 feature films and is a member of the BAFTA [...]

  • The Moneychanger

    Toronto Film Review: ‘The Moneychanger’

    Uruguayan auteur Federico Veiroj (“The Apostate,” “Belmonte”) broadens his usual intimate dramatic scope to diminishing returns for his fifth feature, “The Moneychanger,” . Adapted from a novella by compatriot Juan Enrique Gruber, the period (mid-1950s to mid-1970s) tale centers on the eponymous character, an amoral currency exchanger, who winds up laundering some of the dirtiest [...]

  • Send Me to the Clouds

    Film Review: ‘Send Me to the Clouds’

    The social and economic pressures felt by China’s “leftover women” — referring to those older than 26 and unmarried — are examined in “Send Me to the Clouds,” a rewarding dramedy about a 30-ish journalist seeking financial reward and sexual fulfillment after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Bold by mainland standards for presenting a positive [...]

  • Jamie Bell Without Remorse

    Jamie Bell Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jamie Bell is in final negotiations to join Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel “Without Remorse.” Stefano Sollima, who most recently helmed “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” is directing from a script by “Sicaro” screenwriter Taylor Sheridan. As previously announced, Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known [...]

  • Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter,

    'Downton Abbey' Movie Sequel? Producers Tease That They Have 'Some Ideas'

    “Downton Abbey” holds the record as the most-nominated international show at the Emmy Awards with 69 nominations and 15 wins — and now, it stands a chance to nab an Oscar. More than three years after the beloved series signed off the air following six critically-acclaimed seasons, “Downton Abbey” is making its big-screen debut. “It [...]

  • Todd Phillips Joaquin Phoenix Joker Movie

    What's Woker Than 'Joker'? Film Critics Made Everything Political at Fall Festivals

    “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” asks Joaquin Phoenix, playing a deranged incel version of the DC supervillain in “Joker,” the unconventional comic book movie that’s sucked up much of the air from the fall festival circuit. Like an aggro caricature of the “involuntary celibates” who troll message boards online, [...]

  • Running Against the Wind

    Young Africans' Dreams Are Focus of Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda Oscar Picks

    Films about young Africans trying to fulfill their dreams in the face of war, poverty, tradition and other forms of adversity have been submitted for Oscar consideration by three East African nations. The selections by Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda to compete in the international feature film category reflect the relative youth of filmmaking in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content