Brooding and Heartbreak Go Hand in Hand in Remember Me
- Christa Banister Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2010 12 Mar
Release Date: March 12, 2010
Rating: PG-13 (for violence, sexual content, language and smoking)
Run Time: 128 min.
Director: Allen Coulter
Actors: Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Lena Olin, Ruby Jerins, Tate Ellington
For whatever reason, trouble and tragedy seem to follow Robert Pattinson's characters wherever they go.
As Edward Cullen, the vampire who sparkles in the sunlight, his love for mere mortal Bella Swan leaves her (not to mention her family) in constant danger. And that's when he's not fighting off the werewolves who'd rather not have the "pale faces" roaming around "their" forest or facing the wrath of the Volturi, a royal group of vampires who don't exactly approve of Edward's fraternizing with the very humans they'd like for dinner.
And in his first post-Twilight role, Pattinson doesn't have it much easier as Tyler Hawkins, a character straight out of J.D. Salinger's imagination. While he's definitely more James Dean than Holden Caulfield in the looks department with his carefully disheveled hair and perfect four-day stubble, there are still plenty of reasons he's brooding through life and doesn't exactly have the most promising of futures (and considering how much he smokes, well, it will probably involve emphysema if he doesn't get his act together).
On the eve of his 22nd birthday, coincidentally, the same year his older brother decided to end his own life, Tyler is having a major what-does-it-all-mean, existential moment. Completely directionless and auditing the odd class here and there at NYU, Tyler lives in an abysmal (and really, that's not even a strong-enough adjective) apartment with an immature, sex-obsessed roomie Aidan (Tate Ellington) and has a pretty rotten attitude except when he's doting on his artistic younger sister, Caroline (Ruby Jerins).
As Caroline's older brother, he's standing in the gap for his wealthy, Wall Street father (Pierce Brosnan) who never bothers showing up for the important events in his kids' lives, just one of the Hawkins' many family issues that inevitably causes Tyler to act out.
One night, however, the acting out turns violent and leads to Tyler's first night in jail after Aidan successfully convinces him to go out and live a little (which naturally means meeting girls and getting drunk). After getting thrown out of a club and getting in a fight, Tyler almost gets off with just a warning until he shoves one of the police officers.
Of course, we find out later it wasn't just any officer. It was Sgt. Craig (Chris Cooper in fine steely form), an angry cop who doesn't exactly find much joy in life, let alone his job. And oh, he conveniently happens to be the father of Tyler's future girlfriend, Ally (LOST's Emilie de Ravin).
In what's ultimately a pretty weak plot device, Aidan eventually suggests that Tyler should date Ally (who just happens to be in one of Aidan's classes) as a way to get back at her father. It definitely doesn't hurt the cause that she's pretty, so Tyler decides to go for it. A little shy and awkward when doing the whole asking-girls-out thing, Tyler almost strikes out, but his perfectly tortured charms eventually work their magic, and poof, before long, he's cooking spaghetti for her, and the couple is full-on dating.
Sprinkled in with their dates and the exchange of traumatic backstories (Ally's mom was murdered by muggers on a subway platform when she was very young, and she was there to witness it), there's quite a bit of self-aware philosophizing that's supposed to underscore the story's Greek tragedy-esque themes. But instead of happening naturally, the exchanges sound more like the work of a crafty screenwriter than a natural, free-flowing conversation happening between two young lovers on a date.
For instance, when Ally decides to order dessert before her entrée, Tyler immediately asks if her choice is "a political statement or a medical condition." Strong in her conviction, Ally blithely replies, "I just don't see the point in waiting" before launching into her extensive thoughts on how life should be lived.
Given the timeframe the story is taking place in, (New York City in 2001), the audience knows those statements have far less to do with Ally's insatiable need for mango pudding than the more ominous events waiting in the wings. And because you know what's coming all along, it's not particularly easy to get completely invested in Tyler and Ally's stories because like those aforementioned Greek tragedies, you have a sneaking suspicion their relationship is probably not going to end well.
But then again, maybe that's precisely the point…
Truth be told, even if that's all there is to Remember Me, given many teen girls' big ol' crush on Pattinson, it's merely an excuse to watch him do what he does best anyway—brood in the face of tragedy.
- Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking: Social drinking and sometimes drunkenness, including one scene where Ally is throwing up after too many jello shots. Tyler is shown smoking cigarettes in the bulk of his scenes, a vice that even his little sister teases him about.
- Language/Profanity: An ample amount of four-letter words, including the PG-13 allotment of "f" words and instances where God's name is misused.
- Sex/Nudity: There's a quick sex scene with Tyler and Ally, but the shadowy nature of the camera work keeps everything covered. There's also quite a bit of juvenile discussion about sex, especially from Tyler's immature roommate, Aidan (Tate Ellington).
- Violence: In the first scene, we see Ally's mother get shot in the stomach (the bullet ends up killing her) by a couple of muggers with a young Ally standing right next to her. When Tyler's brother was 22, he committed suicide, something that's alluded to in several scenes. After being angry about not knowing Ally's whereabouts, Ally's dad Neil gives her a good shove and bloodies her mouth in the process. After Tyler mouths off to Neil following Tyler's arrest for breaking up a fight, Neil messes up Tyler's face pretty good. In a later scene, Neil nearly strangles Tyler once he finds out he and his daughter are dating.
Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in St. Paul, Minn., she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog.
For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.