Sometimes one particular moment stands out in a movie and that’s all you remember. When I think the movie Plankton, it takes me a moment to remember the “plot” as I’m immediately focusing on the scene where one girl has caviar oozing out of her vagina as she shouts to the eggs that Mommy loves them. This is also the case with Remember Me, a movie starring Mr. Robert Pattinson that came out in the middle of the Twilight franchise. Before I watched this movie for the third time for this post, I couldn’t remember any plot details other than the twist ending where Pattinson dies in the Twin Towers on 9/11.
Woah, hey, what? Am I really saying that Remember Me is a slice of life, romantic drama with a twist ending involving a national tragedy? Yes. That is exactly what I’m saying. The story before that ending of questionable taste is about Tyler (Pattinson) as he has a tumultuous relationship with a girl named Ally (Emilie de Ravin). He and his monstrous roommate get harassed by a cop (Chris Cooper) and when the roommate realizes the cop has a hot daughter, he pressures Tyler into dating her. To what end? Vague getting back at him something or other. She eventually finds out, but they love each other so things get patched up. During all this, Tyler’s family life is less than ideal. His older brother committed suicide a few years back, his younger sister thinks their father (Pierce Brosnan) hates her, and Brosnan’s character prioritizes work over his own family. Man, between cop dad slapping Ally, the roommate convincing Tyler to sleep with a girl out of spite, and Brosnan’s callous disregard for his daughter, I don’t know which character I hate more! Probably the cop since he’s abusive, angry all the time, has no redeeming qualities, and breaks into Tyler’s apartment where he nearly chokes the young adult out, but still.
The twist is kind of set up, but only in a way that clicks on your second viewing or if you know ahead of time. Ally’s mother was killed in a robbery 10 years ago, which the flashback tells us was 1991. The ethics of global terrorism is discussed in the only classroom scene we see Tyler attend. George W Bush and Rudy Giuliani are heard in the background on cop dad’s TV, although those were political leaders at the time so it’s not a solid clue. And we even get a timeframe when Tyler and Ally spend Labor Day weekend together. So if you’re paying attention you start to realize that September 11, 2001 is right around the corner, but it’s put together in a subtle enough way that it’s clearly supposed to be a twist. Does it work? I mean, it is shocking, but probably not in the way the filmmakers hoped for.
The entire story is just weak and bizarre. Ally stays with Tyler after her cop dad slaps her, then goes back to him after she finds out Tyler started dating her under false pretenses. So she literally had no other friends she could stay with? Sure seems like it. Then there’s the question about what the movie was trying to say. I’m sure the filmmakers would argue the message was the abridged Ghandi quote they used, which in full is, “Whatever you do in life will be insignificant but it is very important that you do it because you can’t know. You can’t ever really know the meaning of your life.” Sure, I can see that. But what I see more is the idea that trusting Pierce Brosnan’s character will leave you dead. Tyler’s older brother gave up his dream of being a musician, worked for his dad, and killed himself on his 22nd birthday. Tyler turns 22 and ends the movie in his father’s office, which just happens to be in the World Trade Center on September 11. What was the point of this parallel? And what was the point of the Meghan Markle cameo early on other than to ensure this movie gets involved in “6 Degrees of Separation” games involving British royalty? The whole movie is just a baffling experience, compounded by the insane twist someone apparently thought was a good idea.
I’ve watched this film fully knowing how it ended, and in fact showed it to my friends to see their reactions. I’ll never experience the full shock of the twist ending, and that is one of my great regrets in life. I mean, another great regret is not buying more of a specific brand of underwear I really liked that was discontinued, so don’t put too much weight into it.
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