Reflections on the film, “REMEMBER ME,” starring Rob Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin
This movie haunted me for days afterwards, and that rarely happens to me. I also hardly ever like movies where one of the main characters dies at the end. In fact, movies like that usually outrage me and make me want to demand a ticket refund, even if the movie was good right up until the ending. So I’m not sure why I wasn’t outraged this time.
Maybe it was because when I went to see the movie, I did have a feeling that either Rob’s or Emilie’s character was going to die by the end, based on the title and some brief, vague descriptions I had seen of the film (e.g., ‘it’s about loving passionately and living each day to the fullest,’ or something along those lines). So I went in bracing myself for a death, but usually, I would not have even paid to see a movie where I knew that one of the main characters was going to die – especially in a romantic film. But having seen the trailer and a few clips, I loved the interplay/chemistry between Rob and Emilie, and wanted to see their story play out on screen. Furthermore, I was in the mood for romance, as always, so I went to see the film on opening weekend.
I was bracing myself for death, but for some reason I assumed Emilie would be the one to die, and I was expecting something cliché, like a fatal illness, a la Nicholas Sparks’ “A Walk to Remember.”
Needless to say, the ending was not what I expected. It was so much more devastating than I imagined it would be, and I did not see the signs that apparently some other people noticed much earlier in the film that prepared them for the ending. Like I said, normally a devastating ending would make me really angry that I had bothered seeing the film at all, but I was too sad to be angry. And I guess that means the writer did a really good job, because he made me love the characters so much that I was heartbroken that this would be their fate, almost as though it were happening to my own loved ones.
Furthermore, normally an ending like that would leave me feeling very depressed about life, and only able to focus on the bad taste in my mouth left by the film’s ending, wiping anything else I had liked about the film from my memory. But when this film ended, I was able to contemplate the movie as a whole, and I felt inspired to live fully, to love unconditionally, to forgive, to move forward, to dream, to connect with others, to make a difference in somebody’s life, to fulfill my God-given purpose, to seize the day, and most of all, to write a movie like this that would inspire others in the same way. I love how, despite thinking his life was small and insignificant, Rob’s character was a hero to his little sister. I love that there was reconciliation before tragedy struck. I love that the film resonated with me on so many levels by dealing with themes like suicide, bullying, not fitting in, being an artist, and disconnectedness with parents.
It reminded me of the power of movies and the reasons why I love them and why I find the idea of writing them and working in film so appealing. There are few mediums for artistic expression that impact me as much.
It’s not that “Remember Me” is the best film ever and I found no fault with it. For one thing, I would have written and directed the last 10 minutes of the film differently. I’m not sure such a devastating ending was necessary in order to move me as much as I was moved. And if it’s not absolutely necessary, as a writer, I don’t ever want to put my audience through that.
But if I were going to have such tragedy strike at the end of my film, then I would have directed the actors to show more emotion at the end. I felt as though I, the viewer, was more sorrowful about the tragedy, than the characters who were left behind. I needed more from you at the end, Pierce Brosnan; just as much sorrow from you as the anger you displayed in the earlier confrontation with Rob’s character in the conference room. Especially since to some extent it was Pierce’s fault that Rob was where he was when tragedy struck.
Also, regarding the scene near the end where Emilie’s character is on the subway platform waiting for the train: if this was supposed to be her first time riding the subway since her mother’s murder on a subway platform years earlier (which I assume it was, because if not, then what’s the point of the scene??), then I would have directed Emilie differently, regardless of how the scene was written. We should see a couple of trains come, stop and open their doors, and it should be obvious that Emilie is having an internal struggle about whether or not to board the train, and she ultimately lets 2 trains leave without her. Then the third train comes, opens its doors, and though we still see some hesitation on Emilie’s part, she musters up the courage to get on the train. She will not live in fear anymore; tragedy enlarges her and makes her conquer her fears.
So yes, there are things I would have done differently if I were the writer and/or director of this film. But ultimately it’s still worth two thumbs up because I was entertained, surprised, deeply moved, riveted, and inspired to transcendent reflection. What more could I ask for in a film?