The True Meaning of Remember Me   40 comments

With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 right around the corner I thought it would be a good opportunity to look back on Remember Me and what critics failed to notice or chose to ignore. 

When  Remember Me was released, critics were up in arms over the ending of the film, which ends with the main character, Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson), dying in the Twin Towers. Critics ranted that it was a cheap way to end the movie and simply means to an end. It hit a nerve and caused a strong emotional reaction. They believed that 9/11 was used simply to end the movie. What they failed to realize was that the entire story was based on September 11th. That the ending was the reason for the entire film and that the premise of the movie was built around the ending and not the other way around. Maybe it was too soon, maybe the critics weren’t ready to be hit in the face with a surprise 9/11 ending. 

Remember Me was about September 11th, it always had been.  Fetters has long said that the main reason he wrote the script to Remember Me was because of the way 9/11 impacted him. The entire point of the movie was to put a name and a face on the people who died during those awful last moments of the Twin Towers. Instead of making them a statistic, Will Fetters humanized them and gave them a voice . 

What happened in the Twin Towers that day was horrific and had a direct impact on many. However many others watched  the scenes unravelling before them, from afar, in total shock and abject horror. These people saw the events unfold, but had no connection to people in the World Trade Center or the Tower themselves. They saw it as a horrible tragedy, as a whole, a specific incident that affected many lives. They understood the scope of the event and catastrophe, however how could they truly understand how it was for those who lived it? Those who lost someone? This is where Remember Me comes in. Remember Me gave those people a name. When you give a character a voice and make him real to viewers, only then can they truly understand the impact it had on those who were directly affected. Will Fetters managed to do this brilliantly. 

Remember Me will always be about September 11th 2001 and a testament to those who died that faithful sunny September morning. I hope that one day, the critics will come to realize it. 

40 responses to “The True Meaning of Remember Me

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  1. Pingback: The True Meaning of Robert Pattinson’s “Remember Me”. // Robert Pattinson UK

  2. Nicely said, I thought at the time many of the detractors were people partly jealous of Robert Pattinson’s success & ability to put together such a project & partly those who wanted to get up their high horse opposing anything regarding 9/11 that did not directly involve victimes or their loved ones in effort to portray how those directly impacted were people, people with issues, doubts, fears, heartaches, resentments, misunderstandings- just people, people who were loved & lost.

    • Nicely said as well. I believe that it might have been too soon to have a surprise 9/11 ending. That the critics had emotions running high on the subject and could not see past the ending to what the movie was truly about.

    • 9/11 affected the world. I live in Britain and can still remember it bringing people together over here too. People got talking on public transport and everyone was left feeling so vulnerable. After all we seen America as untouchable. 9/11 exposed us.

      Rob will get good and bad criticism all through his career. Because he is beautiful, popular and intelligent. Jealousy is an ugly thing.

      I don’t think Rob will ever let his fans down, He will never play anything insincere. He works too hard. The Rob “army” will always support him.

  3. I agree. Too many don’t want to recognize the scope of Rob’s acting. He played it beautifully and no matter how many times I watch I’m reduced to tears.

  4. When I watched this movie, I had NO idea how it would end. When it dawned on me what was actually happening, I was devastated. I absolutely adored Tyler. I cried the rest of the day after seeing it, and bawled most of the night. It really shocked me. I was so drawn to Tyler and what a sweet guy he was. Of course I attribute my emotions in this to what a truly talented and introspective actor Rob really is.

    • The script was even more of a killer than the movie. They switched one MAJOR thing about the script which I believe they should have kept in. It sidetracks you so much that you get hit square in the face. I cried my way through the last 10 pages of the script.

  5. Perfectly stated. Don’t know why they didn’t get it. Brilliant film!

  6. No movie has ever had such a powerful impact on me. The intent of the controversial ending, I believe, was to shock the viewer just as 9/11 shocked us all – No one saw that coming. No one could believe it happened. I don’t think I ever came so close to truly understanding the enormity of the loss until I saw Remember Me. I saw it on a Saturday. Sunday morning in the shower, I suddenly started crying my eyes out for all the lives cut short on that horrific day. It was a brilliant idea to make a story that endears the main character to the audience – make them be a bit invested in the character’s life and then show how devastating the sudden loss of that person is. Times that by 3,000 to get a glimpse of what was lost on 9/11. I have watched Remember Me every September 11th since it came out and I will watch it every September 11th from here on out. Thank you Will Fetters. Thank you Rob. This movie was truly a gift and hopefully it will someday get the recognition that it deserves.

  7. So well said dear, and I so agree…Remember Me was all about 9/11…and put a face and a name on the innocents who lost their lives so tragically that fateful day… I can’t watch Remember Me without crying my eyes out, and I haven’t watched it but two times because it hurts so much, and your explanation is WHY… you are so correct.

    September 11th, 2001 changed my life as it did so many others (I sent ToR my personal story); I did not personally know any of the victims, but Taylor Hawkins, and Rob’s sensitive and brilliant acting, put a name and a face to those victims unknown to so many. Rob became Taylor Hawkins to me… and his loss in the Twin Towers represents the loss of thousands of innocent victims who lost their lives that horrific day.

    Thank you for sharing, I get so emotional when I think of 9/11, especially now that the 10th anniversary is only a few days away… so tears are and will be falling – remembering – those like Tyler, who are no more.

  8. I think most critics were expecting a light romantic comedy and were only watching the movie with one eye, and when they got something completely different they cried foul. They didn’t bother going back and looking at it with new eyes. They didn’t see all the signs that tell a person what time it’s set in and that something big is going to happen. They didn’t get it. And when it was pointed out to them they closed their eyes and hearts to it and screamed like a little boy having a tantrum.

    This was an important movie that I hope gets some respect as the years go by. I know I respect all involved tremendously for having the guts to make it.

  9. Remember Me has had an emotional impact on me like no other movie I’ve ever seen. I went to see it thinking it was a romance and was completely shocked and devastated at the end. Like many other people who weren’t directly impacted by the events on 9/11, I didn’t really “get it” until I saw this movie. The numbers of dead were just that–numbers, until RM made me understand what really happened that day–that thousands of people died and left many survivors who will never fully recover or even understand why their loved ones died that day. I’m so grateful to the writer, director, cast and crew that were involved in making this wonderful movie! I hope that they realize what a gem RM is, in spite of the negative reviews from critics. Seeing it was truly a life-changing experience for me. It’s a beautiful tribute to those who died and those who survived and will never forget. Watching Remember Me will be my way of honoring the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

  10. Well said.. I still have a tough time with 9/11. I’ve watched Remember Me many times and every time I feel the impact. It reminds you that real people died, real people were heroes. I’ve been to the site a few times and it moves me to tears still. I remember walking the streets of NYC two weeks later and passing the fire stations with the pictures of those they lost posted on the devastating. It’s still so hard to believe that something like that could happen here. Don’t know why the critics didn’t get the point of Remember Me…I think the title just about says it all…it was so well done..poignant and a perfect testament to all those who were lost.

  11. Remember Me is genius. No matter how many times I have watched it. I still need my box of tissues next to me. It hits me hard every single time. A masterpiece.

  12. I absolutely agree. Critics didn’t think it could be a great movie when a teenage heartthrob would play the main character: it’s usually a disadvantage for the movie and the power of the story. Critics fail to see past the status of one actor and then miss the essence of the movie and how well it’s told and played out. I adore this movie… And you put it to words perfectly M ( I love your writing)

  13. The whole film was not about 9/11. It was basically about appreciating what’s around you as you never know when it will be taken from you. The most symbolic part of the story is Tyler’s notebook. He writes in this furiously. Not missing a memory or thought about his brother or the pain he is feeling. The book is pulled out his hand on the beach and thrown away by Ally who is trying to make him wake up and see that the world is still turning. As the notebook becomes less apparent you see Tyler become more confrontational with his father as he has not been internalising his problems. This is shown in the argument with his father where he takes a simple drawing from a child (his sister) and his bicycle and goes into a an executive boardroom with it to confront his father. He stutters and his body is ridged as he has never had to worry about what came out of him as it went straight into his notebook. Its pure raw emotion. He then goes home and has sex with Ally, in a way to comfort but also to prove he is a man. Tyler could of been killed in any situation. 9/11 worked as I think the father was so up his own arse he needed to be rocked to his foundations. One of the end images is Tyler’s notebook in the dust. 9/11 made people look around themselves and appreciate what they had. It made hero’s from ordinary people and brought families together. Tyler was the hero and he brought his family together. His last memory was happiness as he realised his father actually did care as he had pictures of his children on his screensaver. He looked serene and ready as he looked out the window. I can see why some press slated the idea and some didn’t. We all have a 9/11 memory and the movie might not be the perfect vehicle for some.
    Also for fans of Rob. Think about him. He is an extremely intelligent bloke. The books he reads etc. He knows good writing when he reads it. If in doubt think that he really wouldn’t be in it if he didn’t feel it in his heart and understand it.

    • Actually I disagree. Will Fetters has said many times that the movie was about 9/11. Also by reading the original script you can see that the entire story is based around it. In the original script Tyler’s brother does not die by committing suicide. In the original script Tyler’s brother dies in the World Trade Centre.

      The entire script you believe he is grieving the death of his brother who died on 9/11 . You only realize in the final moments of the movie, when Tyler is with Janine looking at pictures on the computer screen and they’re talking about Michael’s death and they say the year, that Michael died in the bombing of the World Trade Centre and then you see the date on the blackboard and you see September 11th and you realize that Tyler too will die in the World Trade Centre.

      • As you see the original poster was talking about the FILM so my point was about the FILM not the original script. The Film is loaded with symbolism. The FILM does differ from the original script as it is seen through the eyes of the director and the various other people that chop and change the story to make it work.

        • I am the original poster/ writer of the article. I’m not going to argue over this. Yes Will based parts of the script on his real life. But no he did not use 9/11 simply as an ending. He wrote the script with 9/11 in mind all along.

          • There is a difference between an argument and a discussion. If you can’t be prepared to discuss your points why put them forward.

            So the link you put up says what I have been saying it shows the film was not about 9/11. 9/11 was represented in the film but it speaks for all loss and disaster. He states “This whole movie is about dealing with that trauma, dealing with that anger and trying to see how people can be united and divided by it” People united by disaster can be a family or a whole country or the world.

            So by your rationale if 9/11 had never happened the story wouldn’t work. I disagree, The character Tyler could of got cancer, died in a crash or been shot and the same message would of got across.

      • An interview with Will Fetter he said he didn’t know how to end the film and he chose 9/11 and you can read here that the story is about personal tragedy. “A study of grief”

        Will Fetters (WF): It seems people didn’t seem to get what the film was about. I think on some level, even getting what the film is about, people aren’t necessarily going to like it. I think preconceptions tend to play a role, and what this film was, in a lot of ways, was a study of grief and a study of these “bolts from the blue” that alter the trajectory of life and for me the script started as a 22-year-old kid’s therapy session.

        I had some personal tragedy in my life and this broader event occurred and it dovetailed what I experienced as a young man into the same kind of anger and sadness that follows, and this story, this script, was a way to kind of work it out.

        I think the fairest criticism that I’ve read is going after the basic story points, which when you write a love story you’re going to tread on similar grounds, that kind of stuff I really get. Some of the dialogue is a little cute and some of it seems contrived, I get that, but I think a lot of people aren’t getting what our intentions were. Like the idea I wrote this 100-page script and then with five pages left I didn’t know how to end it so I did this with 9/11. It was so far from that. This whole movie is about dealing with that trauma, dealing with that anger and trying to see how people can be united and divided by it.

        Have a read >>>

        • Will has said repeatedly he wrote Memoirs after seeing the obituaries on 9-11. The girls over at Remember Me Film had contacts with Will Fetters. This is from their site:

          But the paragraphs I quoted reminded me that it has come full circle. It has brought back, for me, Will Fetters’ idea, the original inspiration for writing the script of the 2010 film Remember Me. To remember the fallen, through the story of one such imagined life, Tyler’s. Remember Me was never about Bin Laden or his terrorist network. It was always about remembering the individual lives lost, imagining what their families’ lives must have been like afterwards. And that’s where the focus should be.

          For Will Fetters it began with the obituaries, The Portraits of Grief, New York Times “Portraits of Grief” the mini-biographies of those who had fallen on Sept. 11, 2001. It was from those that the writer had derived inspiration for his work, originally titled, Memoirs. (Therefore those who criticize the climax of the film as being a ‘twist’, ‘tacked on’, are sadly mistaken.)

          The whole point of this movie was to remember an individual life. Granted it was a fictional character’s life, but this allowed everyone to become immersed in his world and come to love him, and then, grieve for him when he was suddenly snatched away in the most shocking way. Tyler died in the center of the first firestorm when the plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. And that gave us all a chance to grieve. That is the genius of the film Remember Me.

  14. Your Blog gave me goose bumps, and i could not agree more. I live in the UK and i remember 9/11 like it was yesterday not 10 years ago but like you have said i had no connection to any body who was in the twin towers that day. Remember Me gave them people a voice the Film is so so so so powerful i still sob with tears every time i watch it. Who ever was a critic for this Film needs to be fired as of course the whole Film is based around 9/11 the writer and the whole story is about us the audience caring and loving Tyler Hawkins, Ally, Aidan and the rest of the Characters so we can feel the full impact of the end. Why these people are critics is beyond me they don’t know what they talking about.
    This Film opened my eyes about 9/11 it gave me feeling and understanding and respect for what happened that morning in New York that i did not have before. The Film is fantastic and so is Robert Pattinson He is FANTASTIC in the Film and Robert is perfect to play Tyler. Forget the critics at least us the fans know what we are talking about.
    I wish Robert Pattinson a long, healthy and happy life and successful career. Love you Robert Pattinson forever and always!! xxxxxxxxx ❤ ❤ ❤

  15. Enjoyed this! The critics were very disappointing– and I’m sure it was a mix of the sting of the ending, a ‘too soon mentality’ and the ‘he’s a heartthrob not an actor’ stigma of Rob. I would love for them all to see it again and change their minds. Admit they were wrong and see it for the brilliance it was, not just for Rob’s sake but for the sake of the victims of 9/11. It reminds us that everyone had a story leading up to that day.

    Of course, I felt shocked by the ending, but i was able to see past that and see what a great movie it was. I think as we started the film and learned of Michael’s death, we expected the story to be about Tyler overcoming that loss, helping his family move past the family tragedy and having a HEA with a bright future with Ally. (That’s the kind of love story we know, we’ve been taught) Of course that was not the case, because that is what 9/11 did to people and families–abruptly changed their lives, no matter what point they were at within their lives. It was devastating to me to see the parents and Caroline have to face yet another shocking loss in their family, but again that was the reality of the day.

    And, I’ve said this before, Caroline represents a whole other level of this story– the children affected by that day. They each have a story of how their life changed since that day or what they remember going through that I expect to hear more of as they get older just because they will need an outlet or they will need to share their stories in order to cope/heal. I hope ‘Remember Me’ will encourage them to do so. ~kiTT

  16. I agree with all the comments here. The critics missed the boat entirely. Thwe 9/11 connection was handled sensitively and with taste. You can’t help but be moved by it. Some critics have rethought their origibal criticisms. I hope that more do so that it can be accepted as the beautiful film that it is.
    Also, some of them miss entirely the sensitivity of Rob’s performance, so understated and real. Agreat film!

  17. Great article, and so true. RM was about 9/11 all the time. Critics were biased and heinous for many reasons, but the audience has proved them wrong … Thx for sharing this!!

  18. Pingback: El Verdadero Significado de “Remember Me”: Diario Twilight

  19. I agree with you and it was well said. I had read the script of Remember me that my best friend had found online, so I knew what was going to happen. I knew it was focused on 9/11. Also, what they changed in the movie from the script, is that Tyler’s brother did not hang himself, in the script he died in the first bombing of the twin towers and Tyler died in the 2nd on 9/11. I wonder why they changed it from the script? Maybe it would have been too much to have 2 children die in twin towers bombings. I don’t know.

    What happened that day will never be forgotten. I know myself and everyone will always remember what they were doing on that exact day, exact hour and exact minute.

  20. For your information, there will be a 10th anniversary post about RM on the site one of you mentioned. Should be up by the weekend there.
    I’ve written a number of articles there, actually 23, everything from the journal–which was the last article, Rob’s acting, Tyler’s character, RM’s legacy, the tragic and a host of others.The anniversary post will talk about whether RM was too soon.
    You are welcome to comment there if you wish.

  21. Nicely said. Brilliant ever.

  22. I totally agree! I think it’a a totally diferent perpective, that one of the people that lost loved ones. Theur pain is personal. And the movie shows that. It’s not like Tyler and his family were preparing for the tragedy, they were leading a normal life, Tyler was recovering from his brother death and didn’t deserve to be killed, on 9/”. Ally has already lost har mom to another tragedy and didn’t deserve to lose Tyler. so the movie shows that, life was happening and then tragedy comes, no warning!!!
    Of course that I refuse to watch the end of RM again!!! LOL I can’t see Tyler dying again and again, too sad!

  23. Excellent movie!

  24. I’ve always understood this from the moment I saw the film. That night at home, I cried like a baby for all the lives lost that day. I never came close to understanding the impact of 9/11 until I saw this amazing film. Fetters also said the ending was intended to be a shock – not for just shock value alone, but to echo the shock of what happened that fateful day – no one saw it coming.

  25. I just watched the movie now (I know.. we are in 2019 but I am a bit oblivious). I went to read opinions about the movie because I felt shattered inside, in reality Tyler’s story is very much real. How many people have turned their life around just to lose it shortly after? I was ten years old when the 9/11 happened, I watched in horror from my Portuguese house, an ocean away from NY and it marked me forever, watching this story made it feel even more real. When I watched it on the television I thoughts it was a movie I only realised it wasn’t a few minutes later, for me this movie is that recollection I have from when I was 10 and crying in front of the tv but with a story, a face, , a life that was taken too soon. Just like it happened to thousands of people on that horrible day.

  26. You don’t know how much I cried in the end of Remember Me.

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