A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this coming-of-age drama starring Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson is not your typical teen romance. While it includes young love -- the two main characters are 21 -- the movie focuses much more on sensitive issues such as dealing with grief, coping with losing loved ones to violence and suicide, managing complicated parent-child issues, and, yes, falling hopelessly in love. Realistic violence (as opposed to the supernatural kind depicted in Twilight) is disturbingly persistent throughout the story, beginning with a cold-blooded robbery and murder and finishing with an act of violence that affects everyone in the movie. The language is stronger than usual for a PG-13 movie, with more than one "f--k," and many, many uses of "s--t" and "asshole," "bitch," "Goddamn," and the like. Pattinson and co-star Emilie de Ravin share several love scenes, but the camera focuses mostly on their faces and bare backs (no R-rated nudity). There's a lot of drinking and cigarette smoking. On a positive note, the movie explores the importance of repairing damaged relationships and allowing yourself to heal from loss.
What's the story?
Tyler (Robert Pattinson) is nearly 22, but he has no idea what he wants to do with his life. He audits classes at New York University, works part-time at a bookstore, regards his successful father (Pierce Brosnan) with contempt, and spends time nearly every day grieving his brother's suicide by writing letters to him in a leather-bound journal. After Tyler intercedes in a nasty street fight by pummeling the guys responsible, he ends up mouthing off to an NYPD detective (Chris Cooper), who roughs him up and arrests him. Tyler's superficial roommate Aidan (Tate Ellington) realizes the offending officer's daughter Ally (Emilie de Ravin) goes to NYU with them, and convinces him to attempt to seduce her as karmic payback for the beat-down. Instead, Tyler starts to fall for Ally, who like him, still grieves over the violent death of a loved one. As their romantic relationship deepens, both Tyler and Ally deal with their daddy issues and help Tyler's 11-year-old sister Caroline (Ruby Jerins) with her own insecurities. Just when Tyler begins to heal, Ally discovers the truth about his connection with her father, and violence continues to threaten their happily ever after.
Is it any good?
This is a confusing film; it's not difficult to understand, but it doesn't gel together as anything deeper than a shockingly gimmicky treatise on violence. It is not, despite what the trailers depict, just a romance, although there are romantic scenes thanks to the attractive leads. REMEMBER ME is more of a self-indulgent rumination on how various forms of violence and grief change people, from the intimate acts of suicide and a daughter's slap in the face to a cold-blooded murder and the collective horror of a terrorist attack. Unfortunately for viewers, director Allen Coulter and screenwriter Will Fetters don't have much of a vision other than building up to the shocking final 10 minutes, which, while gasp-inducing is a manipulative and unnecessary stunt.
Clearly Pattinson has practiced the brooding, downward gazing look of gorgeous young introverts. But as hard as Pattinson tries to sulk and simmer, cigarette in hand, he doesn't have the same edge as say Ryan Gosling or the late Heath Ledger or even his co-star de Ravin (for proof watch her fabulously creepy turn as Claire on Lost's final season). Pattinson isn't quite believable when he's punching a guy into a pulp or menacing a schoolgirl who made fun of his little sister. Of the two parent-child subplots, the de Ravin-Cooper relationship is so much better acted and developed. Brosnan, on the other hand, sports one of the worst Noo-Yawk accents ever captured on film, and as a result is hard to take seriously. The most entertaining supporting player is definitely Ellington as Pattinson's humorously verbose, jerk of a roommate. He is welcome, if at times annoying, comic relief.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the theme of violence in the movie. How does violence affect each of the characters?
Is it difficult to see Pattinson as someone other than Edward? Who has been most successful in staying believable in roles outside the Twilight universe -- Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, or Tyler Lautner?
How did you feel about the twist ending? Was it shocking, or did you think it's still too soon to incorporate into a movie?
Both Tyler and Ally have problems with their fathers. Who has the stronger relationship? Is what he does forgivable? How do the two fathers react to grief differently?
- In theaters: March 12, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: June 22, 2010
- Cast: Chris Cooper, Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, Robert Pattinson
- Director: Allen Coulter
- Studio: Summit Entertainment
- Genre: Romance
- Run time: 128 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence, sexual content, language and smoking
For kids who love romance
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.