by Carolyn Oakes
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Life has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Remember Me is a story about how to make it through the middle, while dealing with the aftermath of facing the inevitable ending of the lives of those we love. This middle part becomes all the more challenging when those we love are taken far too early to be accepted gracefully. Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson) is anything but graceful. His beloved older brother Michael has been gone six years, having succumbed to the depths of a depression that ultimately caused him to take his own left at just 22 years old. Tyler is now just inches away from his own 22nd birthday and grappling with the why’s and how’s of becoming an adult, wondering what the point of life really is.
The film focuses on the universal themes of love, loss, and the understanding we must all come to with our loved ones in order to have peace. In Tyler’s case, he seems to be inclined to blame his emotionally absent father (Pierce Brosnan) for his deceased brother’s doomed feelings of alienation. Tyler resorts to angry outbursts and emotional tirades as a means of waking his father up to those children, including his younger sister Caroline, (Ruby Jerins) who are still living and searching for their father’s deficient attention.Entwined in the emotion of the unraveling family dynamics, is the central love story between Tyler and his classmate Ally (Emilie de Ravin), no stranger to tragedy herself, whom he meets as a result of a bet – one that ends up turning his life upside down.
Stellar performances from the lead actors only slightly outweigh a biting and truthful screenplay (written by Will Fetters) which contributes depth to a distinctive and visually enticing cinematic style. This stylized composition is complements of director Allen Coulter, a relative newcomer in film, but who comes to the table having contributed to the magnetic visual seduction of television shows such as The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and more recently, Nurse Jackie. The final scenes of the film are a testament to a faultless instinct and vision that can only surely predict a promising future filmography.
Robert Pattinson, fresh from the campy and pandering vampire trilogy Twilight, is equal parts surprising and effective as Tyler, a Holden Caulfield-esque youg man, flailing through life with just one single purpose. He wants to fix his family. The relationship Tyler has with his young sister Caroline is one that is eerily reminiscent of the main relationship in J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, and is equally moving and hopeful. Pattinson simply knocks it out of the park in this role, and I can not say I could have seen this performance coming. Twilight has simply not done his talent justice and unfortunately many movie-goers may associate him with that trilogy for many years to come – those who do may miss out on what I predict will be a long lasting, and interesting career. I could not have imagined saying this prior to seeing this film, but I am afraid Robert Pattinson has arrived, and this brooding young Brit has done good.
The final scenes of the film are ominous and disturbing – yet impeccable. For those unaware of the fate that awaits Tyler, the ending will leave you breathless. In the end, we remember something Tyler mentioned earlier : “Gandhi said that whatever you do in life will be insignificant. But it’s very important that you do it. I tend to agree with the first part.” Tyler’s mission may be insignificant on a grander scale, but he succeeds nonetheless. Remember Me will surely resonate and linger with its’ audience long after the credits roll, something only a truly confident and penetrating film can accomplish.
Carolyn Oakes Carolyn Oakes is a writer based on Long Island.
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