“Remember Me” breaks the vampire out of his coffin

Robert Pattinson shines — not sparkles — as the very human Tyler Hawkins in “Remember Me.” Photo courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes.

by SuzsPetals

(Reprinted with permission from the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor)

“Remember Me” is a poignant little film never intending to be major box office fodder, much less to bump a giant like “Alice in Wonderland” out of first place. So why all the scrutiny and pressure?

It happens to be the indy drama Robert Pattinson chose to shoot between New Moon and Eclipse; Twilight Saga movies two and three for the uninformed or uninterested. I personally am way more informed and interested than I care to admit, but that’s a story for another time. Pattinson plays the intense and devoted vampire Edward in the Twilight series, and the critics have been rubbing their hands in anticipation of skewering his ability to do anything that involves less pancake make-up.

Directed by Allen Coulter — best known for his work on cable shows like “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos” — “Remember Me” is the story of two young people who have been broken and altered by tragedies in their individual lives. Ally, played by Emilie de Ravin, has risen above her loss but is still shackled to an overprotective father who’s not ready for her to grow up. Pattinson plays Tyler Hawkins, whose personal tragedy still haunts him, manifesting itself in anger, sexy brooding and reckless behavior.

The rest of the cast is skillfully filled out with the likes of Chris Cooper as Ally’s cop dad, Pierce Brosnan as Tyler’s rich and repressed father, and Ruby Jerins as Tyler’s adored little sister Caroline. The strained relationship between Tyler and Charles Hawkins is almost as gripping as the blossoming love story in the film. I don’t think I exhaled once during their climactic confrontation scene, and I was almost as invested in them working things out as I was the lovers. Brosnan fans will relish his significant supporting role.

Caroline is the little dinghy, being tossed around on the family’s sea of grief and Tyler protects and loves her with such ferocity I left the theater yearning for a big brother. Jerins is a child actress we will probably see mature on-screen, such is the depth and vulnerability of her performance.

Lena Olin — who kicked ass literally and figuratively on the series “Alias” — is visibly fragile as Tyler and Caroline’s mother. A lesser-known standout in this film is Tate Ellington who plays Tyler’s roommate Aidan. His character alternates between obnoxious and endearing, providing a buffer and comic relief where needed.

The centerpiece of this story is the relationship between Tyler and Ally, and although it’s built on a shaky foundation, the chemistry and evolution is both believable and watchable. Their passion and humor evoke memories of being 20-something when everyone is brave with the knowledge they have their whole lives ahead of them. Emilie de Ravin, who is best known for her role on “Lost,” does a lovely job conveying Ally’s old soul wrapped in a free spirit who helps Tyler knock down his walls.

And it’s Tyler who the characters seem to orbit around. Pattinson infuses the half-hearted college student with all of the flaws and attitude you would expect a rich, intelligent, yet damaged young man to have. He plays Tyler with honesty and emotion, and I found it hard to look away. Okay, I admit I may be biased, but I’m still convinced the critics can find someone else to hang their one-trick-pony expectations on. I hear Zac Efron is available.

The ending of this movie was somewhat spoiled for me in a press interview (thanks a lot, Matt Lauer) and it has been described as controversial in many reviews. I have no desire to ruin it for anyone, but I definitely had mixed feelings. The filmmakers obviously wished to convey the message to live each moment fully and I got that. But after such an authentic story of intertwining lives, they awkwardly tried to tie up each package with a pat bow that didn’t feel as real.

This may have normally been a movie I’d wait to see on DVD, but I’m glad I enjoyed it on the big screen. It had no impressive CGI, no epic battle scenes, just people learningto live and love in a complicated, unpredictable world. Oh, and it had Robert Pattinson.

The romantic drama is rated PG-13 for some violence, sexual content, language and smoking.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 17forverlisa
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 07:47:10

    Suz,

    I have been on vacation and came down with bronchitis on the tail end of the trip. Unfortunately, I still feel like crap. I am so behind on blogging and don’t even know where to begin to get caught up.

    Then I got your email post alert about Remember Me. I have come to respect you and your writing ability, so this one couldn’t wait. You did not disappoint. There isn’t one single point that I would argue. You reviewed it beautifully.

    I hope to get a blog post up soon about the movie. Would you mind if I link back to your article?

    Thanks!

    Lisa

    Reply

  2. dangrdafne
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 12:43:59

    Excellent review. It’s funny, somewhere in the middle of the movie, I turned to my husband and asked “When is the last time we saw a drama in a movie theater?” I couldn’t remember but it was quite refreshing.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and at first hated the ending when I first realized what it would be (I did not know before going into the theater and I missed all the signs for it during the movie). However after watching the movie to the end, I went back to loving the movie.

    It was nice to see Rob in something different and I appreciated what he brought to Tyler. I loved the roommate and his comic relief. I thought Emilie was well cast against Rob and all the other actors were very good in their roles too.

    I would like to see it again, if nothing else but to try and catch the signs for the ending as I missed them all the first time around.

    Reply

    • suzspetals
      Mar 17, 2010 @ 13:32:05

      Thanks for the positive review of my review, D. I just read an excellent interview with the screenwriter about this movie and it reinforced why I liked it so much. Yes, I was pissed and disappointed at the end but wasn’t that how we felt ‘that’ day? Go check it out at Robsessed if you’re interested. I’m going to see it again in a less crowded theater so I can see/think more too.

      Reply

  3. sparkle for twilight
    Mar 19, 2010 @ 09:13:48

    I read a couple other people were ticked off my Matt Lauer’s spoiler too! I agree with everything you wrote (when I saw Lena Olin, all I thought about was Alias too). I think the movie got some really great reviews in unexpected places, like someone sent me the link to Roger Ebert’s review which I read after I saw the movie to avoid spoilers. Honestly, I wasn’t that pumped to see the movie but knew I would eventually–I am glad too that I saw it in the theater. I may even see it again (though that has more to do with the fact my mom wants to see it and I fibbed and told her I hadn’t gone already).

    Reply

    • suzspetals
      Mar 19, 2010 @ 09:17:15

      Thanks for reading. I think too much, so if someone even drops a comment about a movie I work it over and over, distracting myself from the film. This happened with the Sixth Sense too. So now that I know it’s coming I’m going to see RM again next week and enjoy the acting and romance and get out of my head:) Enjoy it with your mom.

      Reply

  4. Heidi
    Mar 24, 2010 @ 14:02:13

    Thanks for letting me post this review on HeidiTown too!

    I wholeheartedly agree with your assertions. Rob Pattinson really surprised me with his depth, and it took me less than 10 minutes to forget he also plays the famous vampire, what’s-his-name.

    Jerins was amazing as the little sister Caroline – she is definitely one to watch for in the future.
    The one character I didn’t feel connected to was Ally. I wasn’t totally impressed with the casting of the girl from “Alias.” But she did okay.

    You are right about Brosnan, he was outstanding in this role. If you’ve never rented
    “The Matador,” with Brosnan, you should. The man can act.

    I also agree with you about the ending. I too will refrain from giving it away here, but I felt it was a bit overly dramatic after what was, as you so aptly described, “an authentic story of intertwining lives.”

    I think this one is definitely worth a matinee price, maybe full price if you can find a theater without a bunch of disrespectful teenager girls only there to ogle Pattinson.

    Reply

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