Robert Pattinson Anchors the Forgettable ‘Remember Me’

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Average: 3.7 (39 votes) Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – The hottest actor of the moment, smoldering Robert Pattinson, gets the opportunity to ditch the “Twilight” fangs and sink his teeth into a drama about New York City and the splintering factions of family in “Remember Me.”

Pattinson portrays Tyler, an aimless New York City college student who is estranged from his wealthy yet distant father (Pierce Brosnan). He maintains a relationship with his 11-year old sister Caroline (Ruby Jerins), mother (Lena Olin) and dead brother Michael. The journals that he keeps are letters to that brother, who committed suicide in 1995. The family gathers every year on the anniversary of that tragedy, and the story is centered around the sixth one in 2001.

Tyler’s raging anger toward the overall situation asserts itself in inappropriate ways. After intervening in a street fight, he is arrested by the attending cop Sgt. Craig (Chris Cooper), who is about to become connected to him in a surprising way. It is Tyler’s roommate, Aidan (Tate Ellington), who bets Tyler that he can’t score with his arresting officer’s daughter, Ally (Emilie de Raven).

Dear Old Dad: Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Raven and Pierce Brosnan in ‘Remember Me’
Dear Old Dad: Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Raven and Pierce Brosnan in ‘Remember Me’
Photo Credit: Myles Aronowitz for © 2009 Summit Entertainment

So begins the love life between Tyler and Ally. During the summer and early autumn of 2001 in New York City, they will attempt to heal each other’s wounds – Ally has a troubling secret herself – and connect to the very emotional core that has been lacking in their lives. Wake them up when September ends.

The story is unnecessarily complex. Each character has a yoke of tragic inner circumstances that gets thrown into a narrative mixer without proper exposition. It’s difficult to track Tyler’s story arc, for example, because the prologue focuses on an incident in Ally’s life that becomes a secondary story. Tyler’s family is obviously effected by the suicide, but it is the father who is excessive in his mendacity and coldheartedness. It is a repellent character, and it doesn’t help that Pierce Brosnan’s American accent sounds like he has a fist is stuck down his throat.

And because there is so much angst put upon the characters, each one of their particular psychological ills are given short shrift. Improper situations and circumstances are born not out of natural flow but presumptions that – for example – Tyler has unreasonable anger issues or Ally would react irrationally when confronted by her father when coming home late (yes, there are no other phones after her cell goes dead). These characteristics spring out of nowhere, and run counter to Tyler’s overt devotion to his young sister and Ally’s obvious connection to her policeman Dad.

It doesn’t help that the story itself is told in a pace that could easily be distanced by a snail. There is the inevitable specter of September 11th looming over all the proceedings, but it is not used as any device or symbol, it just is coming, ever-so-slowly closer. Remember the summer of ‘01? How about Labor Day? It is these type of calendar reminders throughout the film that distract rather than add to the proceedings.

New York City Wonderland: Robert Pattinson and Ruby Jerins in ‘Remember Me’
New York City Wonderland: Robert Pattinson and Ruby Jerins in ‘Remember Me’
Photo Credit: Nichole Revelli for © 2009 Summit Entertainment

Robert Pattinson channels his best James Dean in his “angry” scenes. It is reminiscent of “Rebel Without a Cause,” because even his character admits he is “undecided” about life in general (although the British born actor also struggles with his American dialect). It was hard to buy into, because it was evident that the filmmakers wanted to protect his cuddly-hot image. His characters suffers for it, and there was a feeling of a better first draft sensibility lurking behind the poor little rich kid.

Emilie de Raven as Ally and Ruby Jerins as young sister Caroline turned in performances that rose above the material. de Raven had a nice naturalistic quality about her and Jerins brought the proper gravitas to her distracted young artist prodigy. Her outsider status made much more sense than Tyler.

However, credit does go to Pattinson for flexing his character muscle between the Twilight flicks. It’s unfortunate, like the period in the film leading up to September 11th, that there was too much of a stretch before getting somewhere that is all too familiar.

“Remember Me” opens everywhere March 12th and features Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Lena Olin and Ruby Jerins, directed by Allen Coulter. Rated “PG-13” senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2010 Patrick McDonald,

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