Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Spoilers under the cut
The new romantic melodrama "Remember Me, starring Robert Pattinson ("Twilight"), was probably made under the assumption that every generation needs its own version of the classic "Rebel Without a Cause," a movie that launched a whole cycle of melodramas about misunderstood but sensitive, lost and directionless youth.
As scripted by Will Fetters and directed by Allen Coulter, "Remember Me" is not nearly as good or compelling as Nicholas Ray's cultish 1955 youth drama, and Robert Pattinson, with all due respect, is not James Dean in looks, charisma, or stature.
However, as far as youth melodramas are concerned, the film is well acted, particularly by the vet cast (Chris Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, Lena Olin) and, quite encouragingly, Pattinson shows greater sensitivity and range as a dramatic actor that he had not revealed in his "Twilight-New Moon" pictures.
Unlike the "Twilight" series, "Remember Me" is not exactly a critics-proof film, as far as commercial success is concerned, but it should generate good numbers at the opening weekend, despite mixed to negative reviews. Though not made for the same target audience, the movie faces competition from Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," which had a bonanza opening last weekend
Set in the summer of 2001, "Remember Me" is a mildly engaging, occasionally touching tale about the power of love, the strength of family ties, and the importance of living fully and passionately, treasuring every day of one's life.
Pattinson (also credited as exec-producer here) plays Tyler, a rebellious young man in New York City who has had a strained relationship with his divorced father (Pierce Brosnan) ever since tragedy separated their family. His rapport with his mother (Lena Olin) is slightly better and more meaningful. Clearly, "something" is missing from his life.
Just like Dean's Jimmy Stark in "Rebel Without a Cause," Tyler suffers from perpetual melancholy and disaffection. An outsider-outcast, Tyler doesn't think anyone could possibly understand what he is feeling or going through--until the day he meets Ally (Emilie de Ravin) through an unusual twist of fate.
Opposites attract and tragedy unites. Initially, Tyler and Alley share only one thing in common, a damaging tragedy in their lives from which neither has fully recovered. Tyler is a rich boy from Park Avenue, but his brother's suicide has had an almost fatal effect on his life and he is now a lost soul. His company consists of his younger sister (Ruby Jerins), whom he admires, and his roommate Aidan (Tate Ellington), a wild spirit, who enlivens life with his humor, outings to the bars, and parties.
In contrast Ally (Emilie de Ravin) is from a working class family in Queens. She resides with her father cop (Chris Cooper), a man who has not recovered from his wife's murder. Ally is just as bruised as Tyler, even if she doesn't show her pain and sadness as overtly as he does.
Predictably, love happens when it is the least expected; Tyler says it's the last thing on his mind. Right after meeting, Ally's spirit unexpectedly begins to heal and inspire him. In short, he falls hard for her. Through their love, Tyler begins to regain his lost sense of happiness and meaning in his life. This being a schmaltzy meller, though, hidden secrets are getting out of the closets and tragedy threatens to strike, and the circumstances that had brought them together now threaten to tear them apart.
In moments, the tone of the film is right, establishing a proper sense of sadness and loss. Having lived in New York, I was particularly touched by the conclusion of the story, which ends on the momentous day of September 11, 2001.