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Defending “Remember Me”

*Yes, Thar Be Spoilers Here*

I watched Remember Me last Friday with my mom, and was all prepared to write a review, which I started to type up. Then I deleted it, and was like – screw it. Let people come to this movie on their own.

And now…after reading this article bashing it as nasty Twilight garbage, I’m going to HAVE to defend it. Mostly because it has nothing to do with Twilight, aside from having RPattz as one it’s leads. And because the author of the article and several commenters didn’t bother to watch the film before making up their minds. 

I, like many others, was quite prepared for this movie to suck, knowing that Pattinson has been such a weak actor in Twilight.

So – I had zero expectations when I entered the theatre, aside from a morbid curiosity to watch Edward Cullen woo Claire from Lost.You know – the same expectations that millions of other women had when purchasing a ticket to this flick – as this was the main marketing drive behind the trailers, TV spots, etc.

But it was more than that – I didn’t expect to be engaged by the characters, moved by their relationships with one another…and mostly I didn’t expect it to be genuine or feel as real as the script and acting allowed it. For example – the way Allie (Claire, Emilie de Ravin, whatever) enters her townhouse and always drops the keys on the table. That’s the signal to her over-protective father that she’s arrived home safely. The film doesn’t have to cut to a close-up of the keys. It’s just done so perfunctorily and naturally…the small slice of life details in this film are what caught my attention. It doesn’t have to aim for a deep and profound message – it actually resembles something akin to real life. And manages to make that captivating.

The film was notably plot-lite and heavy on the romance, but the love story played very little into the other dynamics happening – the commentary on family and dealing with loss, as well as how we take time with our loved ones for granted.

But even with the romance added – it felt relatable…and never overly cheesy. There was no boom-box moment. In fact, the characters spend most of the movie with bruises and bloody lips, getting physically assaulted by their fathers and one scene features Allie vomiting while Tyler/Robert Patts holds her hair back. So romantic!

Sure, the ending could have been more boldly alluded to from the first opening scenes of the movie so we knew that 9/11 would play a key role…but then it would have felt cheap.

We don’t have any signs leading up to the sudden/accidental deaths of our loved  ones. And what was 9/11 if not a shock to our nation?

In looking back – the surprise ending was not really all that surprising, in fact – my husband picked up on it after the title card read Ten Years Later following a scene taking place in 1991 – hence, the film is taking place in NYC in the summer of 2001. Or perhaps all it would take is to notice that the two towers are still standing in the opening shot of the New York City skyline.

Other hints: Bush on the television, American Pie 2 in theatres. I knew something was a bit off about these things…but didn’t bother to spend much time pondering them as I was wrapped up in the relationships on-screen.

Apparently – people (myself included) need to be beaten over the head with context in order to pick up on where are movies are heading anymore. Apparently – if it’s not in the trailer, we can’t fathom it could take place in the movie.

We’ve gotten complacent with having the entire movie spelled out for us before we hit the theatres. Take for instance, another romance film Letters to Juliet which had it’s trailer run in the Remember Me previews.

There is no need to see this tripe in theatres – you know the female lead breaks up with the fiance and ends up with the blonde British dude. And the old lady *probably* dies. Right? There is a meet-cute, there is some kind of drama where it seems like the woman/man is lying – but they’re not! They eventually get together in the end because it’s twu luv.

Predictable – with almost no attempt to conceal it’s entire plot from the audience.

While Remember Me fashioned quite a bit of these elements together – a meet-cute, the betrayal (which really was a betrayal), and the reconciliation…it also had much more meaty substance than the average romantic drama.

No – I’m not a rabid Twilight fan. I’m quite tempered about my indulgence in Sparkle-fest, and I geek out over way nerdier fare.

I was prepared to really loathe and contempt the movie. I’ve SEEN what crap the two hot-young-leads have been in.

But this wasn’t shitty. This was a reasonably sound romantic drama indicating that Pattinson is developing his acting skills, and showcasing the talents of Ruby Jerins and Tate Ellington. It looks like Emilie de Ravin and RPattz might having some staying power outside of their franchise runs.

My real main complaint, after giving it some serious thought…is that neither Ravin, Pierce Brosnan or Lena Olin managed to transform their accents into that of a believable New Yorker.

And I’ll agree – the final 10 minutes following the “Surprise Ending” scene were completely unneccessary. They could have ended it quite gracefully with Pattinson staring out the window of one of the two towers, finishing off his monologue.

Link Love:

A New Yorker’s Perspective on the flick.

A Balancing Opinion.

Newsweek Article I just read, which made me tear up.

Perhaps I’m not as angered about the use of 9/11 in this movie because I’ve been reading a comic book series Ex Machina in which the main character re-routes the second plane and saves Tower Two…only to become the mayor of New York. The book isn’t entirely focused on the WTC attack, but it definitely uses it as a back-drop. In much the same manner Remember Me uses it.

The frustrated cries of audience emotional manipulation are valid – but to what extent? All movies seek to manipulate you emotionally. That cannot be your only arrow to sling at a film.

I guess my final thought – is it wrong to reference American tragedy in film?  

Or is it only wrong if you add a romantic element to it ala Pearl Harbor, Titanic and Remember Me?

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About tinyheroes

Mindy Crouchley is a 33 year old woman with a degree in English and Technical Writing from Portland State University. She has accumulated three+ years experience in the Marketing and Communications field - with an emphasis on creating digital media content. She has been reading comic books since she was 10 years old. She currently lives in outer southeast Portland with her spouse Dan Robertson, her baby girl, and their dog - Jabba the pug. She spends her free time devouring books, crafting cosplay, video gaming, attending comic cons, writing stories/screenplays, attending book to film adaptation club meetings, volunteering, and watching copious amounts of TV and movies.

7 responses to “Defending “Remember Me””

  1. Erin says :

    You know, I liked it alot. It was more a life lesson then a movie about love. To me it was saying dont take life for granted, you never know what is going to happen. Like Allie eating dessert before dinner so if something happens she didn’t miss out on the good stuff. I was totally shocked by the end, did not see it coming at all. Now that you point out all of the obvious signs, I never even thought about the meaning of any of them. Even when the teacher put the date on the board I had to think about it for a minute. I liked the message and Robert Pattinson was way better than I thought he would be.

    • tinyheroes says :

      I thought so too – for me the love story was not the main focus. I don’t even think RPattz was the main focus, so much as the character that connected both of the families and sort of helped them through their suffering.

      Dan was really critical of the final ten minutes following the big reveal sequence with him in the second tower. He didn’t think we needed to see the reaction shots or know what happened to the characters following 9/11. I do have to agree on that end – it would have been much more poignant without the images that followed.

      To me – it fit well with the context of the story – about appreciating the time you have on the earth and making sure to stay connected with the people who mean the most to you. Was really surprised by all the acting as well. Wasn’t his little sister awesome for a child actress?

  2. Jen says :

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who quite enjoyed this movie! I had a feeling I probably would going in, but I ended up liking it a lot more, probably because I didn’t know all of the details about the characters’ dark issues. I had heard that 9/11 played a part and when I figured out what was happening I was seriously devastated. Just when things were looking up! I guess it’s my own fault for getting so empathetically involved in these things.

    • tinyheroes says :

      It’s good that you had a little more forewarning. I feel that with a different marketing plan – the twist ending wouldn’t have gone over so poorly with many folks.

      But there was obviously purpose to keeping it concealed…I’m just not convinced in the end it was the smartest move for this film.

      I’m hoping people will “remember” this movie for the performances, which deserve some praise.

  3. Carrie says :

    I really liked the movie. Sure, I thought that some of the story could have used more fleshing out, but most movies do. The family drama, which is what I thought stood out the most in this film, is what gave it rooting value and helped to care about the characters.

  4. tuesdaymidnight says :

    Great review! I loved all the slice of life details, too. I definitely noticed the communication with keys. I also thought the interaction between Tyler and his little sister was really well done. There were inside jokes between them that the viewer wasn’t fully in on, and that made it that much more believable to me.

    Even though the romance was central, for me, the most powerful scenes (well, other than the sex scenes) of the movie dealt with the various family dynamics.

    Though I did figure out early on that 9/11 would play a role in the plot, I didn’t know what that role would be. I guess I just really liked how unformulaic the movie was on the whole. I’m glad I gave it a chance, too.

    • tinyheroes says :

      The girl who played Caroline was my favorite of the entire cast – she had such poise and sincerity for a young actress. I felt like her scenes with Rob were some of the most genuine of the film, and for me, the movie was more about the familial love story between Tyler/Rob and his sister.

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