Beware of major "Remember Me" spoilers below.
From Paul Greengrass' nerve-jangling "United 93" to Adam Sandler's maudlin drama "Reign Over Me," the events of September 11, 2001, have served as both the main event and the trauma-infused context for a string of Hollywood films. The latest cinematic exploration of 9/11 comes during Robert Pattinson's romantic drama "Remember Me."
At the end of what appears to be a commonplace love story between two young New Yorkers — played by Pattinson and "Lost" star Emilie de Ravin — the audience learns that the events of the film are actually set almost one decade in the past. Pattinson's character travels up to his father's office, which we suddenly realize is housed in the World Trade Center and that he's gone to meet his dad on the morning of September 11. He is killed as the planes collide with the towers.
It's a controversial ending, no doubt, one fraught with issues of emotional and historical memory, the exigencies of narrative storytelling and the potential exploitation of 21st-century America's defining trauma. These are all matters that weighed heavily on the minds of Pattinson and his co-stars, as well as director Allen Coulter. MTV News spoke with each of them to get their personal take on the ending of "Remember Me" and why each felt 9/11 was so integral to the story at large. Here is what they had to say.
Robert Pattinson: "When I first read the script, it seemed so much a part of it. As soon as I read it, I felt immediately connected to it. If it was edited down in any way, I don't think it would be the same thing. I always feel there's some kind of power to the script. I wanted to keep that in the movie."
Emilie de Ravin: "For me, it was handled so beautifully, but it was also just such a surprise to me the first time I read it. I think I've cried every time I read this script and seen this film — so I might have to walk out when we're watching it! But it's such an important part of history and I think everyone's going to have a completely different opinion because everyone has a different experience, whether they were involved or know somebody involved. Everyone remembers exactly where they were when they heard about it."
Pierce Brosnan: "Will Fetters, the writer — this young man really drew up a beautiful story about this significant, emotional time in all our history and all our life, one which the generations will reverberate from. That bright blue morning of 9/11 is indelibly etched in our hearts. So this young writer took a love story and painted the story up against the backdrop of 9/11. The movie is a simple movie, but it makes you appreciate the moment of life and time.
Chris Cooper: "I had some concern about the portion of this film that is a bit of a surprise and I hoped that it would be handled tastefully — as tastefully as it could be. I must say after I saw it, I don't know how you could handle it anymore tastefully but still get the idea across of the loss. I think the strongest thing in the film is the idea of loss. My character and my daughter [de Ravin], early in the film we've encountered heavy loss and we learn more about Robert Pattinson and what is going on with his family and what they have lost. I just think it's a theme throughout."
Director Allen Coulter: "The fact is that, from the very beginning, this is a story about what we call 'the bolt from the blue' — the unexpected event that alters the trajectory of your life. We start with a very personal story, and as the story unfolds that very notion is enlarged upon and goes from the personal to the universal. We felt we were trying to humanize that kind of event."