With Robert Pattinson, Pierce Brosnan, Emilie de Ravin. Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language and smoking. 113 minutes.
This review will not spoil the ending of REMEMBER ME – the ending spoils the movie enough. There are hints all the way as to what’s coming, if you happen to notice them, but what spends most of its running time as a worthy drama with interesting characters ends on a manipulative and unearned ending. If you leave ten minutes before, you’ll probably come up with a better end for the film than its makers did.
The story focuses on two people in their early 20s, each carrying the weight of a tragic death. Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson, showing more of a range than in the “Twilight” movies) is drifting through his early 20s in New York. He adores his younger sister, Caroline (Ruby Jerins), but has a rough time with his successful but distant father, Charles (Pierce Brosnan). One night, in attempting to break up a fight, he ends up arrested. Sgt. Craig (Chris Cooper) the cop who brings him in, roughs him up a bit, and Tyler’s buddy Aidan (Tate Ellington) suggests he get even by dating the cop’s college age daughter Ally (Emilie de Ravin from “Lost”).
We’ve seen in the film’s prologue that as a child Ally witnessed the murder of her mother. What happened to Tyler’s older brother is only slowly revealed. However, what starts out as a dare becomes true love as these two similar souls connect. Both are carrying scars, both have complex relationships with their fathers, and both need the love and stability the other can offer.
Pattinson and de Ravin are strong as the romantic leads. If the point of the story was that the path of true love is never smooth, this would be head-and-shoulders above the recent “Dear John.” Cooper and Brosnan offer two different takes on men facing their own struggles as fathers, although one wishes there was more of Lena Olin as Brosnan’s remarried ex-wife. As the best friend, Ellington offers some comic relief without turning the role into a cartoon, and offers one of the most enjoyable performances of the movie. In fact, all of them come across as real people struggling with their problems.
Then, alas, comes the ending. For some it will be a surprise, although it has been well-telegraphed throughout. Without giving anything away, the ending is a cheap trick that essentially negates everything that has come before without offering us any real insights into the characters or where they go from here. (And, no, no one wakes up and declares it was all a dream.)
Director Allen Coulter has done some solid work on TV and previously directed “Hollywoodland,” but he should have made first time screenwriter Will Fetters go back to the word processor and re-work the third act, because in a matter of minutes “Remember Me” goes from something that might have been memorable to a wholly unnecessary disappointment.•••
Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books, the most recent being I’ll Have What She’s Having: Behind The Scenes Of The Great Romantic Comedies. He teaches film at Suffolk University and lives in Brookline.