How to describe Remember Me? It's this decade's Cruel Intentions. There's the snappy, self-conscious dialogue and the ambitious plotting and the self-important ending. And, oh, what a self-important ending there is. However, it's not as crass as other reviewers will have you believe and certainly not as tasteless as they are righteously suggesting. It's actually darn creatively executed, and if only it had finished just two or three brief scenes earlier it would be just fine, and interesting.
Robert Pattinson plays Tyler, a New-York-bohemian-apartment-dwelling, chain-smoking, wittily verbose, terribly well-read, 21-year-old Strand bookstore employee who scribbles endlessly in dirty notebooks and rides a bike. Emilie de Ravin plays Ally, the daughter of the cop who arrests Tyler during a drunken brawl, and who Tyler decides to date on a dare. She has a patchy personality, mostly hanging on two points: That she likes to eat her dessert before her main course in restaurants, and that she witnessed the murder of her mother on a subway platform. Tyler has a mean, distant dad played by Pierce Brosnan, a very likeably precocious little sister and a brother who committed suicide. The pair are brought closer when Ally's father flips out and hits her, and yet closer by the mutual mess that ensues.
That's the narrative, and then there's the meta-narrative which is about life, death, love, forgiveness and a whole bunch of other heavy stuff that acts like the creepy music used in a horror film - as a warning signal that this is not just a well-dialogued romance, but a film with real meaning. The pushiness of the "message" is unnecessary - this is an excellent romance, with thoroughly enjoyable characters and dynamics that would have been just as touching without George W. Bush discussing stem cell research on the television in the background of one scene, or the Ghandi quote that bookends the story. The message-iness, however provides a nice, intense feel to the proceedings that make the film seductive in a teenage drama way - everything seems ever-so important much as it does when you're seventeen or so, and there's a warm nostalgia to that.
The heaviness and philosophizing makes it somewhat like a 1950s Douglas Sirk melodrama, a comparison underscored by Robert Pattinson's James Dean-esque performance. R-Pattz really proves himself as the teen idol here. For starters, he's animated and displays a number of emotions, a marked improvement on his turn as Edward in the Twilight series. Secondly, he's definitely watch-able from his moody mumblings and fumblings with Ally to his heart-meltingly cute scenes with the little sister. There are a lot of reviewers out there trying to say his soulfulness is just a series of poses with no true depth or feeling. I don't care, because, frankly, he's hot.
Starring Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan. Directed by Allen Coulter. Rated PG-13