Making the Grades
Remember Me is a romance in the most tortured, troubled sense of the word. And even though Robert Pattinson might not have iridescent skin in this story, his character has the same brooding unsettledness about him that Twilight fans seem to love. Hopefully it is enough to hold them over until the next installment of the vampire series.
In this film, Tyler Hawkins (Pattinson) lives a life subsidized by his wealthy, estranged father (Pierce Brosnan). But it’s not much of one. Haunted by the suicide of his older brother, the despondent young man moves listlessly through his day, assuaging his emotions with cigarettes and alcohol. He chooses to share a rundown set of rooms in a downtown apartment with his drinking buddy Aidan Hall (Tate Ellington) where even the deadbolt on their door swings uselessly from its hinges. No one cares to fix it.
On most days Tyler manages to make it to school, although he can’t be bothered with registering for classes. Choosing instead to audit his studies, he spends his extra time in a booth at a diner where he religiously records his thoughts to his dead brother in a worn journal.
While he is apparently apathetic about the advantages of his upbringing, Tyler does have a sense of moral justice. However when he speaks up for two victims beaten during a bloody fistfight, his disheveled demeanor makes him a suspect and he is subjected to police brutality before being tossed in jail with Aidan. He is ready to forgive—or maybe too indifferent to hold a grudge against —the police detective (Chris Cooper) who roughed him up. Aidan on the other hand wants revenge.
The opportunity presents itself when the young men discover the officer has a daughter attending their school. Ally Craig (Emilie de Ravin) is equally tormented. As a child she stood on a New York subway platform while two thugs murdered her mother in front of her. In fact, nearly every one in this story including Ally’s dad, Tyler’s little sister (Ruby Jerins) and father are riddled with angst that keeps them from expressing real feelings of love. When Tyler and Ally finally do fall into each other’s arms, sex is as much an act of rebellion and an outlet for unspoken anger as it is tenderness.
Remember Me has an air of desperate truthfulness to it, yet it seems all for naught with happiness always just beyond the grasp of these suffering souls. In the meantime, viewers are subjected to discussions of death, suicide and promiscuity, rampant smoking and alcohol use and scenes of domestic violence along with sexual encounters and expletives. After watching this wretched, grieving cast of characters for nearly two hours, audiences will likely Remember Me after they leave the theater—but only because it is a sad and somber commentary on the futility of love.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Remember Me.
How do family tragedies impact Tyler and Ally in this story? How does each of them deal with their grief? What effects do the heartbreaks have on other family members?
What role does Tyler have in his fractured family? What part does his younger sister play? How can divorce or death change the functions of family members?