‘Remember Me’ not to be forgotten

Erika Wilkins

Spectrum Editor

The dewy daydream that blankets the “Twilight” series is so powerful that it often causes 12-year-old girls around the globe to suffer from fits of vampire-induced hysteria. The overwhelming fantasy followed me into “Remember Me,” thankfully it didn’t follow Robert Pattinson.

The sparkly one ditches the reserved stoniness of Edward Cullen for a deliciously unhinged, painfully realistic portrayal of 21-year-old, Tyler Hawkins. Now I’ll admit, despite his elevated status as the most desired, undead boyfriend since Angel (“Buffy” series), I didn’t expect much from Pattinson’s performance—just a two-hour eye-candy fest. I was quite pleasantly surprised.

Set in New York City – not the glossy “Sex in the City” New York, but the grimy, underbelly-of-the-world New York in 2001, “Remember Me” opens with a bang (no pun intended.) While waiting for a subway train, a younger version of Allie, (Tyler’s eventual love interest) played by Emilie de Ravin watches as two gunmen shoot and kill her mother. Scarred by her death, Allie and her father (Chris Cooper) live their lives encapsulated by grief, fear and violence.

Tyler experiences a crippling tragedy of his own—after finding his brother’s body after he commits suicide and spirals into depression. Rejecting his family’s wealth and barely performing in school, he instead focuses his energy on being hostile toward his distant father, played convincingly by Pierce Bronsnan. He is barely living.

Tyler and Allie’s stories intertwine after her physically abusive father unnecessarily arrests Tyler and his fast-talking pal after a bar-fight. That same obnoxious friend then convinces Tyler to ask Allie out, sleep with her and dump her as a form of juvenile retribution.

You can guess the story from here. The scheme is eventually revealed, causing mayhem among everyone involved.

The brilliance of the film comes not from story or script but in the acting. Pattinson’s Tyler was perfect in his normality; never over-acting or over-reaching. Bold, angry, aggressive, moralistic and immature, his character was a fully developed person with all of the intricacies that make characters relatable. His scenes with de Ravin are electrifying but unpretentious—always staying firmly grounded in a reality that draws on audience member’s innate humanity.

Tyler’s relationships with Caroline, (Tyler’s 11-year-old sister) aptly played by Ruby Jerins and Charles Hawkins (Brosnan) are the most powerful. All three actors are relentless (though seemingly effortless) in their refusal to patronize viewers by making the story anymore important than it is.

By the time the film reaches its presumably controversial end, you’ll find yourself enthralled and invested in the lives of the characters, hoping desperately that they find their happily ever-afters. But instead of the “boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, overcome minor obstacles and skip into the sunlight” plot that’s typical of modern romances, “Remember Me” dares to depict young love sans the faux-realism but with the water-works.

Not only does it trudge the path for more serious, realistic romances, but it also begs pertinent questions on life, love and the importance of immediacy. It will surely be an unsung stride forward for film—but a stride nonetheless.

Grade: A-

“Remember Me” is rated PG-13 for chain-smoking, excessive violence, breathy sex-romps and one bathroom-vomiting scene.

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