Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language and smoking, 108 minutes
Dull romantic drama "Remember Me" lacks spark
There’s a reason that I don’t enjoy putting together puzzles. All the pieces are right in front of you, but you’re required to assemble it into its final product. The modestly enjoyable but otherwise forgettable soapy new romantic drama "Remember Me" is just as frustrating. All the right pieces are in front of you: a handsome cast, an alluring backdrop in New York City and a tragic story, and it still doesn’t add up. Even more tragic is a sloppy, passionless script that doesn’t really come together until the film’s final 15 minutes.
Set in the summer of 2001 in New York City, (Edward from the "Twilight films") is Tyler Hawkins, an NYU college student who seems to attract trouble when he can’t keep his temper under control. Tyler’s older brother Michael committed suicide a few years earlier and his family hasn’t been the same. His wealthy Manhattan lawyer father (Pierce Brosnan) is a work alcoholic, and his mother (Lena Olin), a social worker, has remarried.
Through unusual circumstances, he meets and falls in love with fellow student Ally (Emilie de Ravin, Claire from TV’s "Lost"), who herself has experienced tragedy when she witnessed the murder of her mother 10 years earlier at a subway station, leaving her alone with her protective father (Chris Cooper), a cop. The pair has a good thing going until larger circumstances threaten to ruin the relationship.
"Remember Me" is an ambitious romantic drama that in spite of its pretty leads and a few compelling moments lacks powerful impact. For one, the script by Will Fetters and (writer of "Rachel Getting Married" and daughter of noted director Sidney Lumet) doesn’t invest enough time in the relationship itself, and secondly, it doesn’t coherently tie the pair’s tragedies together. The film’s trailers wisely leave out the sad ending (and once word gets out about it, people could stay away from the film), and while ’s (") lacks force, he does handle a mildly provocative climax with taste.
But the biggest problem with "Remember Me" is the fact that Pattinson, in his first lead outside of "Twilight," is a bore. He and de Ravin make for an intriguing pair, mainly for the fact that Edward and Claire are hooking up, only if their characters here were as interesting. Pattinson lacks the complexity to pull off the role, and he obviously needs careful direction to exude emotional depth; he’s a little better here than in "Twilight" though that isn’t saying much. de Ravin is better in a warm performance as the girl who eats her desserts first and who doesn’t like being wet.
At least "Remember Me" surrounds Pattinson with a few supporting players that are much more memorable than he - like his goofy roommate (Tate Ellington), his younger, unsteady younger sister (plucky TV actress Ruby Jernis), his cold father (the ubiquitous Brosnan, already his third film this year) and his warm mother (the underused, lovely Olin) - essentially everyone else in the film. "Remember Me" is lovingly filmed on location in Manhattan and is scored with emotion by ("Sin Nombre" among others), particularly in the film’s final, haunting moments.
As it moves to its ominous ending, you know more tragedy is in store when the date is written out on a chalkboard. As moving as those final scenes are, it seems a little out of place (and a tad jolting) given that it hasn’t been smoothly integrated into the story. Too bad "Remember Me" doesn’t add up to an emotionally fulfilling movie, given the pieces are all right there in front of you. Had they come together properly, it would’ve made a lovely picture.