Robert Pattinson has gone from brooding, adoring Bella, saving Bella, and trying not to kill anyone in the Twilight movies to “Remember Me,” a J.D. Salinger-esque tale that has him brooding, adoring Ally (played by the vampire-esquely named Emilie de Ravin), saving various people, and trying not to kill anyone.
He plays Tyler, the son of a Wall Street tycoon (Pierce Brosnan) and big brother to the precocious Caroline (played by “Nurse Jackie’s” Ruby Jerins, and by far the film’s best and most interesting character). He is 21 and not quite in school, auditing courses. He meets Ally, but he does not tell her that the meeting was orchestrated by his roommate Aiden (Tate Ellington) as a part of an a vague and not very focused revenge plot. Her father, an angry cop (Chris Cooper) beat Tyler up and arrested them both when they got into a fight trying to defend some passers-by against some thugs.
Tyler and Ally begin to get acquainted and it turns out they have something in common. Ten years earlier, in 1991, she was with her mother in a subway station when she was murdered by two guys stealing her purse. And a few years earlier, on his 22nd birthday, Tyler’s older brother committed suicide. Tyler was the one who found him. Loss is isolating. It destroys our trust in the essential rightness of things. Tyler and Ally begin to find a way to feel connection, and hope.
Tyler is furious at his father for neglecting Caroline. Ally is furious at hers for striking her. This, too, connects them. And then, Ally finds out what led Tyler to approach her and feels betrayed. And then, some really bad stuff happens that will, depending on your age and inclination, will either seem deep and meaningful and transcendent or will seem manipulative and cheesy. I’m in that latter category.
There’s a lot to like in this film. The scenes with Tyler and Ally are touching and the Tyler’s relationship with Caroline feels warm and genuine. The first-filmed script by Will Fetters shows promise. Its rookie flaws are forgivable and its strengths show great promise.