Post-Movie Coffee: Remember Me ***Spoiler Warning***   8 comments

***Spoiler Warning***

The idea for this series has been swimming around in my head for a while, but it never insisted on hitting the written page until now. Last week, Robert Pattinson’s Remember Me hit the screen. Before its release, public concern focused on how Pattinson would deal with a mainstream starring role that didn’t have him grimacing every time the tasty-smelling Bella Swan walked by. Once people saw the film and its controversial ending, however, the dialogue flipped. In what has to be one of the lowest scores for a decent movie, the film has suffered a 26% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with critiques flinging words like ridiculous, manipulative, overwrought, shamelessly exploitative, insignificant, trivializing, vile, cheap, and unforgivable.

And for the first time in a very long time, I completely disagree with popular critical opinion.

Read the rest after the jump

Remember Me focuses on the hot-headed but well-meaning life of Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson), and his romance with the good girl Ally Craig (Emilie de Ravin). The story is nothing new. Both have suffered terrible tragedy in their past — Ally’s mom was killed in front of her at a young age, while Tyler’s brother killed himself — and they play out the timeless tale of the misunderstood bad guy and that rare girl who recognizes his noble motivations. All the typical characterizations are there: bad-dad Charles Hawkins (Pierce Brosnan), the overprotective pop Sgt. Neil Craig (Chris Cooper), the slutty and immature best man-friend Aidan Hall (Tate Ellington), and the smarter-than-her-years younger sister Caroline Hawkins (Ruby Jerins).

While the characters are all too familiar, how their lives play out is not. Usually a drama uses character twists that you may or may not buy into — the bad guy goes good, the good guy goes bad. In Remember Me, it’s all grey, where even the most stereotypical aspects are given real rationale. Young Caroline is an art prodigy, but this rare talent isn’t just a cinematic device bubbling up out of nowhere — you can see how she’s developed her talent as a desperate way to earn her father’s attention and approval. That dad Charles, meanwhile, fills out every truly despicable bad father moment, but when faced with severe trauma, when his familial awkwardness is replaced by the instinctual drive to protect his family, he becomes real. The realism in these characterizations makes them familiar not because we’ve seen them so many times before, but because they become like people we’ve encountered through our lives, rather than just people on a screen.

That’s compounded by a strict decision not to wallow in pain. Save the shocking death of Ally’s mother in the beginning of the film, Allen Coulter chooses to back off the ten-tissue drama where we see people sob and fall apart. The knife is not stuck in and twisted. There is always emotion, but he knows you don’t have to show it to make an impact. When Caroline walks into that party of jerky little girls, your gut knows what will happen, but instead of lingering, we only see the aftermath. And of course, when Tyler bikes to his dad’s office, finally finding the humanity in the man he’s hated, we don’t see why this moment is both beautiful and devastating first-hand.

The ending… With hints that you either recognize from the get-go, or smack your head in exasperation afterward, Tyler is waiting for Charles in his World Trade Center office. Caroline’s teacher has written the date on the board — September 11, 2001. You don’t need to see the explosion; you know what happens. The camera pans out from the towers, and then we’re shown a brief montage of each character dealing with the tragedy. Neil tries to help with the disaster; Caroline walks out of the school and realizes her brother or dad will never again be there to get her or drop her off; Charles realizes that he is losing another son, just as he got him back. The shots linger long enough to pay tribute without hungrily eating up each character’s pain. And when it ends with Ally taking that subway ride she never got to take a decade before, it’s the right time.

I can understand why many viewers are angered. September 11 is the gut-wrenching tragedy people of today live with. The film taps into our collective experience, which recalls our own pain while making these people real. The story gains a semblance of reality much more worthy than if the obviously doomed Tyler got killed in an accident, shot, or any other typical deadly device. The film is about 9/11 in that many normal, regular people were lost in those towers, who had lives much like our own. They weren’t heroes or demons, just people who died much too soon. Situated as it is, we’re reminded of our own loved ones and people we lost, how each person in that tower had a story, and simply that at any time, this can all be taken away — whether by an act that affects one, or an act that affects the world.

To frame this as a 9/11 story in marketing or presentation would make this film’s meaning cease to exist. Every action and reaction would be a means to an ever-looming end, rather than a real life simply snuffed out without warning by a terrible tragedy. That day is so big, so heavy, that no real story — where heroism is no more than humanity — could hold up to the pressure. And as we sit here almost ten years later, it’s nice to stop thinking about the spectacle and what came after, and to imagine the stories that were lost.

Obviously, I’m in the minority, so I’d love to hear what you think below. Did you like it? If you didn’t, how would you have changed the film, or how could the same story be made in a way that you appreciate?

Cinematical via RPLife

Posted March 19, 2010 by natalienw in Remember Me, Robert Pattinson

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8 responses to “Post-Movie Coffee: Remember Me ***Spoiler Warning***

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  1. Very well said… I feel the same way. This movie touched me in a way that no other movie has ever done. I don’t understand the critics and bad reviews. They just don’t get it! I brought my husband, two sons (19 & 20) and one of their girlfriends. They also were deeply moved by it.

  2. So well said. But we, as Rob’s loyal supporters, should be absolutely OUTRAGED that this wonderful movie is getting such a backlash now. What the hell happened? Before the movie came out all you could read were positive reviews from everybody, journalists, critics, TV personalities.

    Then the movie came out and all of a sudden you’ve got this horrendous criticism towards it and its ending. I just don’t understand it at all. I had such high hopes for this movie and I really thought that this would finally shut up all the naysayers who couldn’t see past “Edward Cullen”.

    I am just baffled by all this hatred now spewing out of these critics. That’s why I stopped reading them. They don’t have to like it. What’s important is that the average person going to see it likes it. It’s too bad that these idiots have obviously influenced the movie goers and they are staying away.

    What disturbs me even more is the fact that some of Rob’s fans are staying away from this movie. They don’t seem to want to support any of his other work. I say “shame on you” to all those people. They are not fans of his. They can’t differentiate between a real person and a fictional character.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Twilight and the character of Edward Cullen. I never knew who Rob was until I saw the Twilight DVD a year ago. But I decided to get to know the man behind this character and I now own 95% of his previous work and have enjoyed most of them.

    If you don’t see “Remember Me” (or his other work) you will never, ever know what a truly talented young man Rob is. You have no idea what you are missing.

    Off my soapbox for now…not that anyone is going to read this anyway…

  3. Thank you for stating what so many people are feeling but didn’t know how to put into words. This movie touched and moved me in a way no other movie has done since. . .well, I can’t remember when. The story and the characters are just so real; the ending is heartbreaking, yes, but life is often sad, isn’t it? I’ve seen RM several times and, after reading so many negative reviews, asked my sister and her husband to go see it so I could get their feedback. They’re impartial viewers, as they knew nothing about Rob Pattinson or what Remember Me is about. They loved it! I asked them if they were offended by the way the movie ended, and they said absolutely not, that it was a beautiful story and a tribute to everyone who died on 9/11, as well as to their survivors. I had pushed that day into the background of my consciousness to where it had little to no relevance to my life. Remember Me, even tho’ a fictional story, put a personal face on that day for me, and frankly, I’m grateful for the nudge.

  4. The movie was great, I agree 100% with the first three posts!!

  5. Thank you for that brilliant summation of the movie. I have seen this movie twice. I saw Remember Me with a friend when it opened on Friday and yesterday, which was Thursday by myself. I am in the group that admires Robert Pattinson’s career growth. When I saw him jump out of tree in Harry Potter, I informed my friends that this guy is going to be a star. At that time I had no idea how big of a star he would become. However, with that being said, the critics are focusing on Robert’s Edward Cullenesque brooding or James Dean imitation and the ending. Robert gave a good performance as Tyler Hawkins, he showed his pathos and he also smiled, which we rarely see in his Twilight Saga movies. Was he perfect, no, but he was by no means what so many critics are stating. BTW, if you have not viewed Rebel Without a Cause or East of Eden, even Giant with James Dean, do so, as much as I love East of Eden, James Dean in some of those scenes goes way over the top, so to critize Robert for the lack of James Dean’s mastery brooding techniques is insane. The ending I knew because of some spoilers however, it still was very moving and I don’t know how inoffensive you could of done that scene. It was tasteful and it does show how life can surprise you when you think you have it all figured out. This movie is cathartic. It is not a feel good movie, so I can understand why people would not necessarily want to view this movie, but you should not stay away because of what critics have deemed as distasteful or offensive. Judge for yourself. You still may not like the movie, but at least you know it is because you made the decision.

  6. I really don’t understand how critics can give this movie a low grade. I was watching The View the other day when Rob and Emilie were both on. Barbara Walters is a regular hostess on it. She thought Rob was “wonderful” in Remember Me. She mentioned that he was like “James Dean” in the movie. It is such a wonderful praise coming from Ms. Walters. I saw the movie was impressed with Tyler/Caroline relationship. Caroline (Ruby Jerins) was brilliant in her performance as Tyler’s little sister. I was only surprised by the tragic ending. If I listened to the critics, I would never had seen this movie. I made a decision years ago to make my own decision whether I believe a movie is worth viewing. Oh, just one last thing, the entire cast was awesome in it.

  7. Loving everyone’s comments. I’m not reading any more reviews. Like some of you have said, we have to make up our own minds. But if you don’t go see it, then you have no idea what you’re missing. Don’t let the critics influence you. Love it or not, at least you will decide.

  8. Thank you for eloquently putting into words the summation I have in my head. I cry just reading it because Yes these characters are now someone I know and had a vested interest in seeing them thru ….. I felt as though I actually shared a part of their lives and saw who they truly were. Real people, everyday life people just like my family. Their emotional rollercoaster was my ride as well. Every cast member (including Tate) contributed to the whole brilliantly. I believe the presentation of the tragic moments was done so gently and yet shockingly. I saw it Friday with friends and again on Saturday alone just so I could absorb it all with details and become engrossed with the story. A story that represents to me all the stories that we don’t know but now have somehow surfaced thru this movie. I commend all involved for “taking the risk” to put it out there and let human beings decide for themselves what their idea of entertainment really is. Sometimes it is more than just that. Sometimes we crave substance and meaning that are relevant and real. I am taking all of my children, and grandchildren, and co-workers to see this even if I pay for them all myself as I feel it is that much of an impact to our daily lives and also want them to see a different aspect to the 9/11 American tragedy. I cry whenever I read comments and talk about this movie as I am so touched. Rob did such an excellent job of just “being Tyler” who we endeared ourselves to and now somehow actually miss his presence and feel his family’s and friends loss. I think Rob said it well when he said it is stunning and heartwarming at the same time. Tyler saw everything falling into place as it should be. Acceptance can be a profound state to be in sometimes. Can’t wait to own it on DVD and I hope they provide alot of extra special features on it. I love hearing Rob talk about his endeavors and he is actually very articulate and intelligent. Everyone loves Rob for Rob not Edward Cullen. I hope he gets to a point in his life where he sees that. I pray he is not swallowed up by this massive Hollywood whole and that he never forgets “how to be” just Rob. He seems so exhausted lately. Stopping now or will never stop. Again, love this review and the things pointed out that help others understand it better. Thanks.

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