D: Allen Coulter. W: Will Fetters. DP: Jonathan Freeman. Starring: Robert Pattinson/Emilie de Raven/Pierce Brosnan/Chris Cooper/Ruby Jerins/Tate Ellington/Lena Olin/Gregory Jbara/Kate Burton.
The opening of every year suffers a drab period in the world of cinema. Slow moving, forgettable, with films not slated to rake in tons of dough or those that strategically are (Disney’sAlice in Wonderland). So much so that there are many films that come and go, films that audiences might possible pick up on DVD or (now) blue ray, or never even discover. ‘Tis the season to witness the excessive money spent on needless and fruitless ideas. But, how else do we find the good stuff? (Or secretly love the bad stuff?)
Remember Me, off the bat, slates itself as a romance. Taunting audiences with sex scenes, pouting, and looming drama. Set in New York the film embraces the messiness of modern families and scars of traumatic loss. These themes are what the film does best, with clear intentions and a definitive sense of time.
The crux (and hype) of Remember Me is Robert Pattinson as auditing NYU student Tyler. In his first performance to be widely released since the onset of his Twilight and New Moon fame, the film is conveniently distributed by Summit Entertainment (the peeps who brought you Stephanie Meyers series kids). Good at brooding and playing the intellectual wounded type, Pattinson is tolerable here, but most likely because his character is redeeming. Due to his notoriety it will be curious to see him progress as an actor, see how long it takes for audiences (if ever) to forget who he is on screen.But Pattinson’s Tyler has a world full of entertainment with prickly papas (Brosnan) and artistically neglected sisters (Jerins) who bring the drama. Of course it takes a ironically trusting and bland Ally (de Raven) to shake his equilibrium. (By the way, someone should tell Chris Cooper he’s too good of an actor to play a decrepit cop dad because he can even make that role seem fascinating.)
However, Pattinson’s international rise to stardom and screams marks a significant and fascinating tidal wave. He presents a different type of popular (and possibly mainstream) masculinity. He’s not ripped, running on a beach or pulling out a gun, but rather mesmerizing women everywhere with intensity. Illustrated in the Twilight and New Moon films, the very competition and comparison between Pattinson’s Edward and Jacob, played by Tyler Lautner, sparks debate about the male body. What is attractive? Or rather, what is desirable on screen? Bella’s choice and conflict is just as pertinent in terms of representation as it is in plot. Is Pattinson’s Edward a new type of modern masculinity, one that need not bulge and bark? Things to ponder, now back to Remember Me.
Regardless, Fetter’s script has tons of heart (come on it’s entitled Remember Me)! With his best and wittiest writing mostly found in Pattinson’s best friend and roommate Aiden (Tate Ellington) who provides some nice escape from the sappier moments. However, it must be remembered that films like this exist to satiate a demand. The predominant reason audiences flock to theaters, buy DVDs, and create fan culture is a search for escapism. Last century, the highest record ticket sales occurred during war time when society was stressed for resources and positivity. The theater, movies, even television offer a way for anyone and everyone to be transported somewhere else, shut out their world and escape.
Although in current American culture the media saturates almost every corner of people’s consciousness, the movies still represent this escapist desire. Remember Me is certainly one of those, but with a wash of sadness to it. So, yes you’ll sniffle, but, trust me, there is better drama found elsewhere.