Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Manny The Movie Guy Reviews 'Remember Me' - Minor Spoilers

Confession Time – I was never a fan of Robert Pattinson. I am basing that assessment on the actor’s most famous role to date, the lovelorn vampire Edward in the “Twilight” films. I thought he delivered wooden performances in both movies.

But after watching Pattinson in the new film “Remember Me,” I can now honestly say, I’m intrigued by this actor. He carried the movie from its shaky start to its heart wrenching conclusion.

Unlike his “Twilight” co-star, Taylor Lautner, Pattinson is making brave career choices. While Lautner will soon be busy working on standard thrillers like “Abduction” or sure-fire blockbusters like “Stretch Armstrong,” Pattinson will bury himself in art-house films like “Bel Ami” and “”Water for Elephants.”

Taking a cue from Johnny Depp, Pattinson peppers his resume with iconic roles such as Edward, and memorable characters like the one he played in “Remember Me.” He stars as Tyler, a rebel with a cause who has serious daddy issues.

His father, Charles Hawkins (played perfectly by Pierce Brosnan), is a rich, powerful businessman who spends most of his time in the office and less with his family. After a tragedy separated the Hawkins, Tyler and his sister Caroline (the amazing Ruby Jerins), divide their time between their dad, and their newly-married mother (the underused Lena Olin).

Set in New York City in the summer of 2001, tragedy is at the center of “Remember Me.” In an unusual twist of fate, Tyler meets Ally (“Lost’s” Emilie de Ravin). She’s Tyler’s NYU classmate who’s also trying to cope with a tragic experience. Her father, played by Chris Cooper, is a protective cop from Queens who will do anything to keep his only daughter safe from harm.

In its simplest form, “Remember Me” features clichéd narrative about two lovers from opposite sides of the tracks. He’s from a wealthy family while she’s from a blue-collar background. But what sets this film apart is its unforeseen climax that you will remember for years to come.

Yes, the ending is commendable and director Allen Coulter (“Hollywoodland”) and screenwriter Will Fetters knew that their payoff would be talked about that all the necessary blocks were built around the finale, and gosh darn it, it worked! I just wished the filmmakers reached their conclusion quicker.

To be honest, the film could have benefited from some cuts. If the filmmakers excised unnecessary laborious scenes, especially the slow-building romantic angle in the beginning, “Remember Me” would have been a perfect movie.

One word of advice if you’re planning to see “Remember Me,” please avoid blogs, reviews, and reports revealing the film’s arc. You will enjoy the movie better if you walk into the theater without knowing anything about it.

But warts and all, I am recommending “Remember Me.” First, because of the 11-year-old actress Jerins, who stole acting thunder from Pattinson. There’s a scene in the film where her character experiences a tragedy while attending a pajama birthday party. In the hands of a less qualified actress, the scene would have been kitschy and corny, but Jerins showed deep understanding of her character.

Jerins is the heart of the film, and her scenes with Pattinson are vibrant and alive. As for Pattinson? It’s a pleasure to see the actor sans luminous vampire make-up. Pattinson blends well with all of his co-stars in the film. He’s a stubborn rebel when he’s around his dad, a loving boyfriend with Ally, and a caring older brother with his sister.

I’m also recommending “Remember Me” for its beautiful portrait of New York. The city becomes one of the film’s main characters. It’s a source of inspiration to some, and a hub of volatility to others.

As a whole, “Remember Me” is a heartwarming love story told against an unforgettable backdrop. It’s about loss, love, and redemption. Some people may find “Remember Me” too earnest, I call it profound. Trust me, the title will make so much sense after you’ve seen the film.


Jerins is the heart of the film, and her scenes with Pattinson are vibrant and alive.

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