'Remember Me' reviews: First Robert Pattinson non-'Twilight' star vehicle fails to please U.S. critics, offends some
Directed by Allen Coulter (Hollywoodland, the TV series Damages) from a screenplay by first-timer Will Fetters (with some rewriting by Jenny Lumet), Remember Me stars Pattinson (who also received “executive producer” credit) as a chain-smoking, James Dean-type rebel enmeshed in a troubled relationship with his wealthy father (Pierce Brosnan). Pattinson's character later meets a young woman (Emilie de Ravin) with whom he falls in love; problems ensue with the woman's cop father (Chris Cooper).
These father conflicts are a couple of the obstacles that plague the Remember Me antihero's emotional road all the way to a twist ending of sorts – Roger Ebert compared it to having a refrigerator falling on a character's head. The conclusion hat has left some moved and others appalled.
Modest domestic box office debut expected
Distributor Summit Entertainment – which also handles the Twilight movies – is expecting that Remember Me will gross between $8 and $10 million over the weekend in the U.S. and Canada. That's a very modest range; unless, that is, Robert Pattinson's fan base rises up to the occasion. (Update: They didn't.)
Besides Pattinson, Pierce Brosnan, Emilie de Ravin, and Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Chris Cooper (Adaptation, 2002), the Remember Me cast features:
Ruby Jerins. Peyton List. Gregory Jbara. Moisés Acevedo. Kevin P. McCarthy.
William Cote. Morgan Turner. Justin Grace. William H. Burns. Christopher Clawson.
Richard Burton and Sybil Williams' daughter Kate Burton.
Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Lena Olin (Enemies: A Love Story, 1989).
Robert Pattinson movies
Robert Pattinson movies include Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight, with Kristen Stewart, and its two sequels, Chris Weitz's New Moon and David Slade's upcoming Eclipse, both with Stewart and Taylor Lautner.
Pattinson is currently filming Bel Ami in Europe.
'Remember Me' reviews: Does the movie 'cheat'?
Below is a long list of Remember Me reviews and Robert Pattinson appraisals.
“To call Remember Me a four-hankie weeper does not begin to describe it, and its climax almost pulls us out of the movie by incorporating a real-life event into a story that had been, until then, built purely on fiction. But Coulter wants to explore the act of mourning as a theme, and how death sometimes reminds us that every minute of life should be savored. On that level, Remember Me certainly succeeds.” Rene Rodriguez in the Miami Herald.
“You can't exactly say the movie cheats. … But come on. This isn't the plot for a love story, it's the plot for a Greek tragedy. It may be true, as King Lear tells us, that as flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods. But we don't want to think ourselves as flies, or see fly love stories. Bring on the eagles. The fact is, Remember Me is a well-made movie. I cared about the characters. I felt for them. Liberate them from the plot's destiny, which is an anvil around their necks, and you might have something.” Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Remember Me is not a bad film. I'm going to stick my neck out and call it a good one – a small, dense chamber study of unhappy people looking for hope in the darkness, often literally.” Amy Biancolli in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Long before the big reveal ending, one begins to feel Remember Me is romanticizing – even fetishizing – tragedy. There's a pretentious reveling in emotional scars and painful loss.” Jake Coyle, who also praises the film's “boldness” in The Associated Press.
“… [T]he movie contains a plot twist so stunning, yet so stunningly obvious, that it functions like a kind of ticking time bomb in the corner of the screen. After the first hint of what's coming – which crops up less than 10 minutes into the movie and then doesn't let up – the foreshadowing becomes so distracting that, by the time the darn thing goes off, there's only a sense of relief.” Michael O'Sullivan in the Washington Post.
“A grave romantic drama with grandiose thematic intentions, [Remember Me] delivers some moving and affecting moments amid a preponderance of scenes of frequently annoying people behaving badly.” Todd McCarthy – who has just gotten laid off from – Variety and who refers to Emilie de Ravin as a cross “between Julie Christie and Samantha Morton.”
“Solid romantic dramas are precious these days. … So it is that despite the middling reviews and unnecessarily cult-like Robert Pattinson fandom, Remember Me, directed by the very capable Allen Coulter (Hollywoodland), is a simple, well-made love story about two young, tortured souls and the families that torture them.” Dan Mecca at The Film Stage.
“Family tragedy, cruel twists of fate, and wild gesticulations from Pattinson, de Ravin, Brosnan, and, as Ally's father, Chris Cooper, fuse into a turbulent storm of angst. … Pattinson's various fan contingents should eat it up, and if you don't like the fact that his Tyler dude is pulling on those cigarettes, he promises he's going to quit.” Steven Rea at the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“A smart, engaging drama about young love flourishing amid sadness and loss. The story ends on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York, which, depending on your point of view, further underscores the sense of loss implicit in the movie's title or is an unnecessary dramatic ploy to end the film with a devastating twist of fate that immediately connects with every audience member.” Kirk Honeycutt in The Hollywood Reporter.
“It's hard to know what the director Allen Coulter could have done to improve Will Fetters' absurdly contrived, yakky script about love and loss, largely set in the summer of 2001. But Mr. Coulter doesn't help matters by infusing the movie with grave self-importance. Everything comes weighted in significance …” Manohla Dargis in the New York Times.
“Teen audiences, particularly female, are likely to fall headlong into the dour romantic drama Remember Me because Robert Pattinson and his fwoopy hair, taking a break from the Twilight franchise, are both in it. And when you're a teen, certainly when I was a teen, confusing banality with profundity was practically a law. … We know what's coming and we feel badly … because we know so much more than the lovers do. From Here to Eternity had Pearl Harbor; Titanic had the iceberg; and Remember Me has a story taking place largely in New York City in the first half of 2001.” Michael Phillips, via the Baltimore Sun.
“As a shameless contraption of ridiculously sad things befalling attractive people, the engorged romantic tragedy Remember Me stands tall between those towering monuments to teen-oriented cinematic misery, Love Story and Twilight.” Lisa Schwarzbaum at EW.com.
“The end is so controversial, a number of blogs … gave every detail of it away. … The movie is poised to be one of the biggest tear-jerkers to come out of Hollywood since Titanic.” Ramin Setoodeh's commentary in Newsweek, which features the heading, “Does Remember Me exploit a national tragedy?”
“Remember Me is a movie with an urgent message. The message is: Please consider seeing another movie. Up until the very end, when it takes a plot turn so contemptible you feel like spitting at the screen, the picture is a meandering glum-love exercise that never seems to be going anywhere. Its only goal is to make it to that dreadful wrap-up, which it hopes to pass off as tragic irony. It's a movie with no shame, or much of anything else.” Kurt Loder at MTV.com.
“There's an insult-to-injury quality to a plain bad movie with a 'seize the day' message (Remember Me's tagline: 'Live in the Moments'), which heckles you with all the other things you should or could be doing while you're marking time waiting on the credits, wondering if the movie will ever end. Well, it does – oh, mama, does it ever, with a crazy long bomb heave toward epochal significance. (Far be it from me to spoil the surprise; let's just say Robert Pattinson dies in 9/11.)” Nick Pinkerton in the LA Weekly.
Robert Pattinson reviews: Not necessarily flattering James Dean comparisons
Robert Pattinson himself has earned mixed reviews for his performance as the rebellious Tyler Hawkins in Remember Me.
A number of reviewers compared his Tyler to James Dean's rebels in Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden, and Giant – though not necessarily in a positive manner.
“The young actor has an unmistakable screen presence. However in Remember Me, he pours it on thickly and self-consciously. With low eyes, sleeves rolled up just so and cigarette drooping artfully from his mouth, Tyler (like Edward Cullen) is a reluctant romantic. He quotes Gandhi in voiceover, makes love to Sigur Ros and (understandably) can't be moved to laughter by American Pie 2.” Jake Coyle in The Associated Press.
“As in Twilight, Pattinson evokes the fancy-class man using the combined resources of dark glowers, milky gazes, and fabulously mussed-up hair. … Unfortunately, the film's alienated rich kid is perilously close, in intense disgruntlement and plasma-deficient pallor, to that of alienated vampire Edward Cullen. And the overheated woes dreamed up by first-time screenwriter Will Fetters, directed by HBO veteran Allen Coulter, don't allow the actor room to demonstrate much range as Tyler slouches around on a diet of cigarettes and beer.” Lisa Schwarzbaum at EW.com.
“Robert Pattinson is excellent as the brooding and wounded Tyler Hawkins. At his worst Mr. Pattinson is a James Dean caricature, but as the film progresses he gets more comfortable, and we're left with a realistic guy we can pull for as the culmination sweeps in.” Laremy Legel at Film.com.
“Remember Me is sensitively directed by Allen Coulter (who last did the under-appreciated Hollywoodland) but it's really a Pattinson project. (He also helped produce.) A smart one, too, building on his Twilight persona as the sensitive yet dangerous bad boy. It's not a new movie character, of course – James Dean certainly did okay with it – but Pattinson smartly tweaks his own persona, dropping the Twilight neo-goth in favor of contemporary realism, playing Tyler as both moody and mischievous.” Stephen Whitty in the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
“Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson seems to have found a better vehicle for his angst-ridden style of acting. Those who relish him as a lovesick bloodsucker will surely take issue, but until Remember Me, his best acting job was as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Pattinson was woefully miscast as Salvador Dali in last year's Little Ashes, but playing a contemporary, brooding and lost young man in Remember Me shows that he has more range than is visible in his one-dimensional role as a sexy vampire.” Claudia Puig in USA Today.
“But Pattinson's fussy, affected acting, his grab bag of screen mannerisms and a script that has him lurching between moony romantic and wild-eyed psychotic do nothing to suggest dude has a prayer of a fangless career.” Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel.
“Pattinson has definitely figured out how to look the part, wearing 'brooding' like a James Dean leather jacket, and director Allen Coulter truly does bet the bank on it … What the actor hasn't yet found is a way past those soulful eyes into the soul itself. If he does, Pattinson could have the makings of a brilliant career, something more than the hot streak he's got going as the 'it' guy of the moment.” Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times.
“In attitude, if not aptitude, Robert Pattinson in Remember Me comes across like a latter-day James Dean. Playing Tyler Hawkins – a bohemian child of privilege consumed by Oedipal rage – the Twilight hunk fills the screen with cigarette smoke, stubble and hooded green eyes, but little else.” Michael O'Sullivan in the Washington Post.
“Remember Me represents Robert Pattinson's attempt to prove he can do more than sparkle like a faux vampire, but the case he presents is not convincing. He spends most of the movie trying to channel James Dean. Dean may have been overrated, but he had talent, charisma, and swagger. Pattinson seems to lack the first two qualities and he may be faking the third. (Although that, in and of itself, would be a form of acting.) … The word 'lightweight' seems entirely appropriate as a description of this leading man.” James Berardinelli at Reel Views.
“The star, as if you didn't know, is Robert Pattinson, the moody vampire heartthrob from the Twilight series, a conceivably promising, certainly watchable actor in need of an immediate acting intervention.” Manohla Dargis in the New York Times.
'Remember Me' Canadian reviews: Brooding Robert Pattinson
Remember Me also received mixed reviews in Canada. Below are a few snippets from both English- and French-language publications.
“If Remember Me is remembered for anything at all, other than being yet another Robert Pattinson vehicle, it will be for its over-the-top ending, which ranks high amongst the most shameless jerkers of tears ever unleashed upon lachrymose teens. …
“… [Robert Pattinson] is a more than capable actor, yet he is doomed for all eternity to sit in a corner and brood about the girl/fish/life that got away. Even when he has good reason to brood – the suicide of his character Tyler's older brother in Remember Me would certainly qualify – he seems excessively brood-y about it.” Peter Howell, The Toronto Star.
“Neither good nor bad, Remember Me has exactly the same mood of its dominant color: an insipid gray with barely any shine to it, soft and lacking attractiveness – a metaphorical portrait of its protagonists. Young viewers will find their idol as tortured as in the popular vampire features, while fans of romantic dramas will wait patiently until the dough rises …” Le Cinema.
“Robert Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin are excellent as New York City lovers in this romantic tragedy.” Jay Stone, Canwest News Service.
“The gloomy romantic drama Remember Me, starring and produced [sic] by Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame, tries earnestly to stir us with its story of young love in New York in the summer of 2001. But director Allen Coulter (Hollywoodland) never convincingly ignites the romance – a truly obnoxious roommate character doesn't help – and the film gets bogged down by plot points that plod toward an event of devastating proportions.” Jennie Punter, Toronto Globe and Mail.
'Remember Me' international reviews: Robert Pattinson no match for Pierce Brosnan?
Like in North America, Robert Pattinson's Remember Me received mixed-to-negative reviews overseas – or at least in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and, in one single instance that we found, France.
“It's this twist for which Remember Me will mostly be talked about, regardless of whether you think it's a breathtaking addition or a cheap ploy. Before this blindside, however, there's an angst-filled young love affair to enjoy, largely thanks to the strong on-screen chemistry between Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin … Without the pale complexion and red lipstick, it's easier to see why teens swoon over Pattinson. As Tyler, he's brooding, intelligent and sexy …” Francesca Rudkin in the New Zealand Herald.
“Aided by strong acting and an intelligent script, Remember Me is a cut above most romantic films.” John Bale at The Blurb (Australia).
“It wasn't this time around that Pattinson became more than the fad of the moment. In one of the few instances when his dramatic abilities are called forth, he's wiped off the screen by Pierce Brosnan, who devours the young Englishman the way he used to do to his enemies during his James Bond days. And let's face it, Brosnan wasn't even the best 007.” Marcelo Forlani at Omelette.com (Brazil).
“In spite of the script, Pattinson reveals himself as an actor of subtlety now that he has assumed mortal form. It's plain that there's a mind powering all that angst. I just hope that he soon finds a better picture than this one. I was almost coming round to it but its gratuitously tacked-on ending put paid to that impulse.” Sandra Hall in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“[Remember Me] overdoes the Pattinson close-ups, featuring lovestruck and/or blank stares, sugary dialogue (“Our fingertips don't fade from the lives we touch”), and, trying to replicate the tears elicited by Titanic, sets up a supposedly moving climax. … [U]nfortunately, Remember Me is more interested in showcasing its final surprise than in character development or a more consistent plot.” Alysson Oliveira at CineWeb (Brazil).
“Remember Me is the most dispiriting load of old wallop I've sat through this century. It's not just that the film is bad – there's plenty of bad films that I've loved from beginning to end – it's that Remember Me is completely fraudulent.” Graeme Tuckett at Stuff.co.nz (New Zealand).
“Pattinson sulks, smokes and stares at his feet all the way throughout this rather miserable drama about love, loss and fate, as if doing his best James Dean (who also had major father issues in East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause). Now those are memorable films from a memorable actor. Pattinson – and his film – try hard but fail in comparison.” Shannon Harvey in The West Australian.
“Another strong point is the acting, except for one particular performance. … Robert Pattinson is expressionless, getting 'swallowed up' every time he must share the screen with some of the more experienced actors. Remember Me is one more movie of dubious taste to be found in the curriculum of the star of the moment.” Darlano Didimo at Cinema com Rapadura (Brazil).
“Something unexpected happened around the half hour mark of the ho-hum romantic drama Remember Me. No, the film didn't start to improve. Don't be silly. Rather, I realised that leading man Robert Pattinson – or RPattz as his legions of adoring Twilight fans call him – was in the middle of doing something many critics said he wasn't capable of. Yes, he was acting. And doing a pretty darn good job of it too.” Cut Print Review (Australia).
“The closer the film gets to its finale, the slower and more predictable it gets. The final sequence is totally absurd and out of sync with the rest of the feature. … A wrap-up as sugary as possible would have been more dignified.” Emílio Franco Jr. at Cineplayers.com (Brazil).
“… Robert Pattinson is a delightfully surprising revelation, quickly making us forget the insipid vampire that made him famous.” Julie Decottignies at Excessif.com (France).
Tate Ellington, Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, Allen Coulter, and Robert Pattinson Remember Me images: Myles Aronowitz / Summit Entertainment.
Robert Pattinson, 'Remember Me' British reviews: Widespread derision
The Robert Pattinson romantic melodrama Remember Me has been getting mixed-to-negative reviews internationally, much like those it received in the United States. The ones further below, from British publications, have been particularly scathing.
Directed by Allen Coulter (Hollywoodland) from a screenplay by novice Will Fetters, Remember Me also stars Emilie de Ravin as Pattinson's romantic interest, Pierce Brosnan as his father, and Chris Cooper as her father, in addition to Ruby Jerins, Tate Ellington, Peyton List, Gregory Jbara, and Lena Olin.
'Remember Me' British reviews: From James Dean and Edward Cullen to Holden Caulfield and Albert Camus
Curiously, U.K. reviewers have (for the most part) mercilessly panned a Hollywood movie which stars a London-born actor and features an Irish-born one (Pierce Brosnan) in a key supporting role.
Remember Me opened in the U.K. on April 2.
“This glum, self-important drama of familial dysfunction stars heart-throb du jour Robert Pattinson as Tyler, … Pattinson emotes in a tremulous can-I-play-James-Dean manner and scribbles his profound musings in an elegantly distressed notebook. He's a bit fey, though less annoying than Will Fetters' whiny script and Tyler's effortfully clownish flatmate (Tate Ellington).” Anthony Quinn in The Independent.
“… [I]t's a pallid and oddly exploitative affair. Pattinson plays Tyler Hawkins, a kind of millennial Holden Caulfield, right down to the gilded pedigree and precocious little sister. … Tyler, it transpires, is about to be stitched into history in a most cheap and tawdry fashion.” Xan Brooks in The Guardian.
“These 'seize the day' urgings seem out of tune with a film paced to chug to its destination with all the urgency of a Sunday train, but just when you are about to seize your coat, a sudden tragedy occurs, one that is supposed to stun you as a profound insight into bereavement but is really just a tacky exploitative coincidence.” Siobhan Synnot in Scotland on Sunday / The Scostman.
“He mopes around a grotty, sepia-toned apartment, quotes Gandhi to himself, and scribbles deep thoughts – it's Edward Cullen meets Camus! You can actually monitor Pattinson's emotions by his hair: it's flat and greasy in the sad beginning, grows a quiff after he's scored, and turns wild when he's angry.” Wendy Ide in The Times.
“While the casting for this film is on paper very strong, it turns out to be its fatal flaw, as a robustly-New York based script sees an Aussie and a Brit take the leads. While both Pattinson and du Ravin suit there [sic] respective characters well, there is something a bit too British about the former which holds the emotional character of Tyler back, and something instinctively laid-back about the latter which sees her do the same.” Sarah Garrod at inthenews.co.uk.
“First time screenwriter Will Fetters stretches 30 minutes of drama to almost two hours of screen time, relying on the actors to scowl and brood while they wait for something to happen to their characters. And no one pouts with more conviction than Robert Pattinson, … the English actor glowers and sulks with gusto, and is just as lifeless and soulless here as he is in the Twilight saga, albeit with a better tan.” The Coventry Telegraph.
“There is a lot to admire in the film: the star is good (Pattinson will have legs when he's done with Cullen), Allen Coulter's direction is more than competent and there's a nicely-chosen turn-of-the-millennium soundtrack (Sigur Ros, Ed Harcourt, Sparklehorse), yet it's not enough to make up for the thoroughly miserable tone or contrived ending. Spoiling the finale would just be rude, but it's the thing that absolutely kills Remember Me as a serious piece of drama.” Simon Reynolds at Digital Spy.
“As a study of the pains of adolescence, it's not exactly Rebel Without a Cause, but much better than you might expect. The relationship between Tyler and Ally feels genuine rather than contrived, Brosnan sparkles in his handful of scenes, while some much-needed humour is supplied by Tate Ellington as a foul-mouthed roommate.” David Edwards in The Ticket / The Daily Mirror.
“There's an unforgivably manipulative twist ending to this mushy Robert Pattinson-starring melodrama that raises the following questions. Does a drama devoid of incident, import, or drive before the twist ending, suddenly redeem itself when the reversal comes?” Stuart McGurk at NME.
“This year's romantic heartthrob, R-Patz – Twilight star Robert Pattinson to those non-fanatics among you – has an executive-producer credit attached to this unobjectionable but slightly arch and sentimentalised 2001-set New York romantic drama. … [H]e might have chosen a more subtle director than Allen Coulter … and a better script than this clichéd, strangely humourless effort by newcomer Will Fetters. Nevertheless, the all-important romantic mechanics work well enough.” Wally Hammond in Time Out.
Robert Pattinson 'Remember Me' interview: Tyler Hawkins and the appeal of 'broken and troubled characters'
In other Remember Me news, at Pop Sugar Robert Pattinson discusses Remember Me antihero Tyler Hawkins, the fight scenes with Chris Cooper, why he feels attracted to “broken and troubled characters,” and his relationship with friends and family while growing up.
Below are a couple of snippets from the Pattinson interview, which is worth a read for those who have seen Remember Me. To date, the film has grossed more than $17 million at the North American box office and about $9.5 million overseas.
Robert Pattinson on the development of Tyler Hawkins:
“The script changed so much over seven months and just had loads and loads of re-writes. I tried to tailor things to what I was interested in, like the relationship with the dad changed quite a lot because I thought one of the things when you're a young guy, one of your biggest fears is this irrational fear of walking in your dad's footsteps and living the same life as him.”
Re: preparing for the fight scene:
“And the fight I was having at the beginning I was doing it with this big stunt guy … Then I was hitting him with what I thought was my full strength, I hit him in the head about four times and every time I hit him, I was like, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.' And he's like, 'It's fine, it didn't even hurt.' Yeah, that was kind of an ego deflater!”
ITV's GMTV 'Remember Me' interview: 'Rubbish' romcom screenplays
Below are a couple of snippets from another Robert Pattinson interview, aired on ITV's morning show GMTV following the London premiere of Remember Me.
“From what I've seen, older people do appreciate it [Remember Me] kind of in a different way than they appreciate the Twilight films. I mean, Twilight films are always seen by older people as a guilty pleasure, I think.”
“I'd love to [do romcoms] but they're always just so rubbish! I mean … I'd absolutely love to do it, but I've literally never read a good romcom script.”
“[Pierce Brosnan] is much more recognizable than I am as well.”
Robert Pattinson discuss the making of 'Remember Me' on iTunes
And finally, Robert Pattinson discusses the making of Remember Me in three podcasts available for free at iTunes.
The podcasts are divided into three parts. In the first one, Pattinson talks with the filmmakers about his on-set chemistry with Emilie de Ravin, who plays his on-screen girlfriend, and Ruby Jerins, who plays his sister.
In part 2, Pattinson and the filmmakers discuss Tyler Hawkins. Tyler is a rebellious young New Yorker at odds with his wealthy father (Pierce Brosnan) following the suicide of his brother. (Shades of the Timothy Hutton-Mary Tyler Moore relationship in Robert Redford's Ordinary People.)
In part 3, Pattinson and the filmmakers discuss the genesis of Will Fetters' screenplay, and what made Pattinson decide to tackle the role of Tyler as his first starring vehicle following his success as Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga movies.
Update: The Robert Pattinson podcasts about the making of Remember Me seem to have been deleted.
Chris Cooper, Emilie de Ravin, and Robert Pattinson Remember Me images: Myles Aronowitz / Summit Entertainment.