MOVIE REVIEW The raw side of love

Robert Pattinson is brooding but not teen-angsty in Remember Me

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Remember Me is a surprisingly thought-provoking look at family tensions. Robert Pattinson shows he is more than a vampire.
Courtesy of Summit Pictures Entertainment

Remember Me

Directed by Allen Coulter

Starring Robert Pattinson, Pierce Brosnan, Emilie de Ravin

Rated PG-13, opens Mar. 12

By the end of the Remember Me, Robert Pattinson proves, through a nuanced portrayal of the enigmatic protagonist Tyler Hawkins, that his acting career will outlive Twilight.

Tyler is a brooding college-aged nihilist with intense emotional issues and a complex family life. After being arrested and roughed up by the gruff and middle-aged Sergeant Neil Craig (Chris Cooper), Tyler seeks to exact revenge with the encouragement of his alcoholic best friend Aidan Hall (Tate Ellington). Hall urges him to capture and crush the heart of Ally, the mysterious daughter of Sergeant Craig. However, Tyler’s scheme is less Cruel Intentions as he finds himself enraptured with Ally after one date. During the months that follow, the two deal with the immense struggle of life’s difficulties and their own unique challenges in defining themselves both within and outside of their intense relationship.

I went into the movie with both the expectation and desire of seeing perfect love triumphing, untainted by complications or pain. Although the film initially appeared as though it would deliver exactly what I had anticipated, it ultimately offered a much deeper message. The thorny relationship between Ally Craig (Emilie de Ravin) and Tyler gives a painful and genuine peek into the roller-coaster nature of love. Remember Me presents a refreshingly realistic portrayal of a couple falling in — and then struggling with — love. Robert Pattinson still plays the brooding, sallow-faced protagonist but the angst is less over-the-top and more directed. With Tyler’s help, Ally cautiously uncovers her sensuality and reveals her emotional fragility. Ally proves to be more than the overprotected girl-next-door. Armed with eyes like glaciers, de Ravin delivers an amazing performance as a girl who finally realizes she wants to truly live life instead of constantly seeking approval and playing it safe.

Other relationships in the film highlight the theme of growth and redemption. Although Tyler shows nothing but anger towards his callous and emotionally stinted father, Tyler’s nurturing behavior towards his precocious 11-year-old sister Caroline provides insight into the duality of his nature. Family tensions, especially between Tyler and his father Charles (Pierce Brosnan) demonstrate the difficulties that we often have in communicating and giving unconditional love to one another. Various side plots provide similarly astute observations about the complexity of human nature. The film beautifully juxtaposes delicateness and strength. Ultimately, the movie’s success lies within its heart wrenching depiction of life’s complications.

Although it takes itself a bit too seriously at times, Remember Me offers a raw and bittersweet look at the realities of love. The film emphasizes the journey to growth and redemption. While the movie successfully conveys this message, at times it seems as though the film maker is bent on driving the point home, resulting in unnecessary complications. This film shows what love can really give — or take away. When you leave the theater, you will walk away pondering the intricate links that bind together hope, destruction, and growth.