AT THE MOVIES WITH KASEY BUTCHER

As a rule, I have to see any movie promoted by a preview that starts with Robert Pattinson disagreeing with Ghandi. Walking into Remember Me, surrounded by a crowd of women aged 13-34 (Twilight’s key demographic, anyone?) I expected a romance relying heavily on Pattinson’s box-office draw and twenty-something angst. In a nutshell, I thought I’d be seeing Nicholas Sparks with an edge.

Remember Me focuses on the romance between Tyler Keats Hawkins (Pattinson) and Ally Craig (Emilie de Ravin), complicated by the ways they cope with family tragedies—the suicide of Tyler’s brother and the murder of Ally’s mother. Ally is further challenged by a difficult relationship with her overprotective father (Chris Cooper), while Tyler negotiates a dysfunctional relationship with his workaholic father (Pierce Brosnan), trying to get him to be more of a presence in his little sister, Caroline’s (Ruby Jerin) life.

I was actually surprised by how good the first half of Remember Me is. The characters are genuinely interesting; the darker subject material was paired with an engaging sense of humor; and the performances were really good. I especially enjoyed the dynamic between Tyler and his roommate Aidan (Tate Ellington), who is consistently one of the best parts of the movie. The relationship between Tyler and Caroline is adorable, as is Jerin’s performance. Throughout the film, there’s a distinct J.D. Salinger vibe, with the trauma over a sibling’s death, Tyler’s rebellious streak, and his determination to protect his little sister.

Somewhere in the middle, however, something goes very, very wrong. For me, the turning point was a shouting match between Tyler and his father in the middle of a board meeting. Suddenly, everything seems overwritten, overacted, and really pretty ridiculous. Pattinson’s performance in the scene savors heavily of Johnny Depp playing a crazy person and never really recovers. What was interesting turns into a string of clichés or just melodramatic. From that scene on, the movie continues to fall apart.

The stated theme of the movie is to “live the moments,” but as the story unfolds it seems to be more about cherishing those you love, because anything could happen. There’s a disconnect between the narration of the story and the events of the story. Not a single person lives in the moment in this movie, which makes the narration sound trite. Plus, the ending was very problematic, as discussed below (spoiler alert).

For gross inconsistency, overacting, and a really cheap ending, I rate Remember Me 2/5 stars. Remember Me runs 113 minutes and is rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language, and smoking.

I can’t really review this movie with out discussing the ending, so, if you don’t want the ending spoiled, stop reading right now. In the last ten minutes of Remember Me, the audience is taken completely off-guard by Tyler’s death in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. The buildup to the event itself is sort-of subtle, but when I realized what was going to happen, my stomach flipped. And I was not happy. Nowhere did I see or hear it promoted that the film involved the terrorist attacks. The only foreshadowing in the movie is in small details that are easily missed or forgotten. The sudden turn is surprising, but not pleasantly so. Yes, it makes complete sense thematically for Tyler to die, but I feel like rather than relying on good writing, my natural reaction to the events the writers chose was used against me to elicit their desired emotional response. My feelings were not the result of a connection with the character or with the story, but with my memories of the actual events of September 11th. I found the ending not only poorly written, but also manipulative and offensive. In a nutshell, the use of the September 11th tragedy in the end of this movie was just unnecessary and cheap.

My long-time best friend and frequent theater companion, Emily, pointed out that throughout Remember Me, different types of terrorism are depicted through random murder, discussions of ethics, brawling, bullying, and parent-child conflicts. The varied ways in which people inflict pain and fear on one another in the movie are part of the drama that made the good parts so good. These moments, however, do not adequately connect to the surprise ending and, I think, would have been more poignant had they not been overshadowed by the gut-wrenching use of the Twin Towers. Frankly, the movie would have been better had they written Tyler’s death any other way. And they could have. New York is violent enough in Remember Me that the character could have been killed many, many believable ways and the ending would have been stronger, more fluid with the rest of the story, and there would be no need to discuss the appropriateness of the ending on such a large scale. Sure, it is good to discuss how or when we can respectfully use national tragedies in works of fiction. I would just prefer the discussion not to be in the unanticipated context of a pretty bad romance movie.

Kasey Butcher

Kasey Butcher

She is proud to be a Ft. Wayne native, a graduate of Homestead HS, Ball State University & Miami University.She became involved with journalism editor-in-chief for her high school magazine. She authors the "At The Movies with Kasey Butcher" review.

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Kasey Butcher

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Kasey Butcher

She is proud to be a Ft. Wayne native, a graduate of Homestead HS, Ball State University & Miami University. She became involved with journalism editor-in-chief for her high school magazine. She authors the “At The Movies with Kasey Butcher” review.

> Read Full Biography
> More Articles Written By This Writer