Robert Pattinson as Tyler Hawkins
Emilie de Ravin as Ally Craig
Tate Ellington as Aidan Hall
Pierce Brosnan as Charles Hawkins
Chris Cooper as Sgt. Neil Craig
Ruby Jerins as Caroline Hawkins
Lena Olin as Diane Hirsch
Caitlyn Rund as Alyssa Craig (11 yrs)
Kevin P. McCarthy as Police Chief
Gregory Jbara as Les Hirsch
Meghan Markle as Megan
Directed by Allen Coulter
Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson) is a troubled young man trying to get over the death of his brother and dealing with a seemingly uncaring father (Pierce Brosnan). After being arrested trying to stop a mugging, Tyler realizes that the daughter of his arresting officer (Chris Cooper) goes to NYU with him, so he turns on the charm to try to seduce her as revenge. He soon learns that he has a lot in common with Ally (Emilie de Ravin) and they fall in love despite her realizing her father would never approve of Tyler.
On the surface from that plot above, you’d assume “Remember Me” is another frivolous teen romance or something adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel, but this is a heavy romantic drama based on an original screenplay, and a surprisingly rich story at that.
It opens on a Brooklyn subway platform where the young Ally watches her mother being killed by mugger, and ten years later, she’s an ambitious young woman living with her police detective father who has struggled at his job as a police detective to pay for her college education at NYU. On the other side of the tracks is Tyler, a young man from an affluent family whose musician brother died leaving him and his family torn apart. Both of them attend NYU and their paths cross when Tyler’s friend Aiden realizes she’s the daughter of the police officer who arrested him and convinces Tyler to turn on the charm and seduce the girl.
That’s the general set-up and you can easily figure out where things go from there if you’ve seen the trailer. Even so, this isn’t a movie just about the developing romance between two young people from different backgrounds, as much as it spends a good amount of time showing what each of them are dealing with outside the burgeoning relationship. In some ways, the best comparison for this movie is Greg Mottola’s “Adventureland” if you sucked out most if not all the humor, because it’s a similar boy-meets-girl story only with a guy who is a lot more confident.
Granted, it can be slow at times, because much of the film involves dialogue scenes between Robert Pattinson and the rest of the cast without a ton of story development. You know that eventually Ally’s father will find out she’s dating the guy he arrested and he’ll intervene, but it’s the journey getting to that point and how they’ll deal with the inevitable that keeps it interesting.
Pattinson still has a long way to go before he can be taken seriously as a dramatic actor, but he shows a lot more passion and emotion here than anywhere in the “Twilight” movies so far. The real gem of the movie is Emilie de Ravin, completely unrecognizable from the character she plays on “Lost,” but strong enough to hold her own against the rest of the cast. Her and Pattinson have the type of on-screen chemistry that any filmmaker would kill for, and it’s what makes their romance more tolerable than other similar romance films. Likewise, the scenes between Pattinson and Ruby Jerins as his younger sister Caroline are also quite special.
As far as the rest of the cast, Chris Cooper is well-cast as Ally’s father, not a role that requires a lot of stretching for him as an actor, but he does have a number of great scenes with de Ravin. Pierce Brosnan’s muddled amalgam of borough accents tends to kill many of his scenes, the worst being when Tyler and his father finally have a confrontation, a scene in which Pattinson goes so overboard with the acting. Tate Ellington gets annoying pretty fast as Tyler’s ubiquitous funny best friend Aiden, although him trying to keep the film light is appreciated when it starts getting darker later.
Overall, it’s a really solid New York story and director Allen Coulter and his team do a great job capturing the city during the times and creating realism in the setting down to the smallest details like Tyler’s apartment. It makes the New York in “Remember Me” feel more like the real thing than the glossed-over version we’ve seen in so many other Hollywood movies.
Just as you think you’ve got it all figured out where things are going, the movie goes somewhere completely different with an ending that some reading this may already know about or have seen coming with all the talk about it. It’s a twist that happens with less than ten minutes remaining and it will hit you in the gut whether or not you know it’s coming. It’s an ending that reminds us that regardless of what is going on in our lives and the troubles we’re dealing with there’s always something else around the corner that makes it all seem trivial. Some might find it manipulative or offensive, some might feel that it wasn’t even necessary, but it’s certainly a daring way to avoid the typical Hollywood ending and guarantee that few will forget “Remember Me.”
The Bottom Line:
Whether you’re into the idea of watching the romance between two troubled young people blossom or not, there are enough layers to the drama in “Remember Me” that makes it hard to immediately discount or dismiss it as frivolous teen girl fare.