Remember Me is a sweet and sombre melodrama of two wounded souls finding hope and love in pre 9/11 New York.
The trailers suggest a Nicholas Sparks weepie of boy meets girl standard variety, but this is much more than that. Rather, what is featured is a story of two broken families of different social and economical sectors, struggling to mend old wounds as their children fall in love with one another.
What Remember Me does promise is a workout for the eye glands: this one is a tear jerker, with many poignant and sobering revelations about the nature of love and loss, how the soul is never too far gone for redemption, and how family is a blessing not to be taken for granted.
Key in its success is the casting of two appealing actors in its lead roles.
In his first official post-Twilight-craze-outing, Robert Pattinson stars as Tyler, the black sheep of a well to do family torn apart by the suicide of their eldest son, with Pattinson stuck in a permanent melancholy while sucking down a never ending amount of booze and cigarettes.
Acting on a dare (that ever cliché tool used in many romance movies), Tyler asks and goes on a date with working class college student Ally (Australian actress Emilie de Ravin). She also knows the pain of death in the family when –as a child- she witnessed the murder of her mother, a harrowing scene depicted in the film’s opening moments.
Even though its beautifully played love story is its drawcard, what will be remembered in Remember Me is the relationships with the fathers of these characters, played by the ever reliable Chris Cooper (as an over protective cop, father to Ally) and Pierce Brosnan (a self absorbed lawyer with shaky Brooklyn accent, dad to Tyler).
It is the moments with the fathers that give the characters a depth and maturity other films of the same ilk do not allow, even if their actions can come across as immature in their post-teen angst.
Allen Coutler’s assured direction makes it all so. He allows his actors the patience to grow into their characters (wonderfully written by Will Fetters, his debut) and his cast responds with assured performances, filled with emotion and grit.
Of particular point is Pattinson, whose now patented brooding and angst is turned up a notch and used very well. There is no doubt that Hollywood wants to mold him into a new James Dean, and it seems Pattinson is more than happy to comply, with one particular confrontation between Pattinson and Brosnan begging for the teen heart throb to scream “You’re tearing me apart!” ala Rebel Without A Cause.
Yet despite the melodramatics (or perhaps because of it), Pattinson lives up to the expectations placed on him. Twilight launched him into to stratosphere, but it will be roles like this which will make him an actor to remember.