Remember Me is one of those films where not all that much happens in terms of plot. You get character arcs and storylines within the film, yes, but you don’t get a concrete plot that takes characters from place to place, goal to goal. I’ve heard them described as “life films” before, and I like that genre classification enough to take it and apply it to this film. Remember Me does something different from other films of this genre by having a really shocking and surprising ending, and if it is going to generate any type of long-lasting appeal or discussion, the ending is going to be the reason why.
This is unfortunate for me, because the ending isn’t something that I can openly discuss, because it’s the only big reason to watch the film. The revelation that occurs right near the film’s conclusion is one that will likely cause your eyes to widen and your brain to think back about what had happened for the past hour and a half. The ending is also going to be the way you figure out whether or not Remember Me was a successful film.
For the majority of the film’s runtime, you likely are going to feel bored. Life films are like this. You meet characters, deal with their daily lives, see some problems they have to overcome, watch them both succeed and fail with these problems, and that’s really it. They’re living lives that can be comparable to realistic people, and that means that many parts of the film are going to be boring. Your life doesn’t have random car chases, explosions and other action scenes on a day-to-day basis, so why would a film that is trying to mimic real life include those? It won’t.
The story primarily follows two people. Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson) is the first. He has a kid sister, divorced parents and a roommate. He’s auditing classes at a local university, and doesn’t have much direction in life. It’s at school where he meets — or more importantly, is told to meet — the second main character, Ally Craig (Emili de Ravin). Her mother was murdered, and she lives with her father (Chris Cooper), a cop, who earlier in the film arrested Tyler for getting into a fight while intoxicated.
Tyler is told to meet up with Ally, as a revenge scheme created by his roommate, Aidan (Tate Ellington). Predictably, Tyler ends up falling for Ally, despite the fact that she is an incredibly annoying character, always trying to sound much smarter and deeper than she should. “Oh, I eat my desert first in case I end up dying before getting to finish my meal.” That’s a paraphrase of something she says on their first date. I instantly disliked her character.
Not that Tyler, or Aidan, was more likable. Aidan came up with the plan to potentially devastate this girl, and Tyler went along with it. All to take revenge upon a cop who did his job in breaking up a fight, and jailing the person who was talking back to him. And we don’t like Tyler much for other reasons too, like the fact that he talks back to and disrespects his father, played by Pierce Brosnan. His father bails him out of jail, being the wealthy businessman that he is, but doesn’t receive so much as a “thank you” from his son.
In a film emulating real life, you either need to like the characters from the start, or begin to like them as the film progresses. The latter somewhat happens in Remember Me, but not enough for my taste. The true test of this is in the mystery ending though; if the characters grew on you throughout the film enough, the ending will be a great payoff. If not, then you will feel like you’ve wasted two hours, and might even end up offended by what you’ve just witnessed.
If the intrigue surrounding what the ending is has piqued your curiosity enough to make you want to watch Remember Me, I suggest going into the film like the ending is a mystery, and you are trying to figure it out before your partner, (the film), tells you what it is. Look for clues throughout — the plotline is basic enough to not pay much attention to it — and if you manage to figure it out, you’ll get a great sense of accomplishment from when it is revealed in the film. Role-play for a moment here, as there are a lot of clues for you to discover, and you might just end up having fun.
Whether or not Remember Me is successful will be almost exclusively determined by how much the ending affects you. If you are still bored, it means the characters did not make you care about them, and you will feel like it was a waste of time. If you feel strong emotion, whatever it is, then I would say that the film did its job. For me, it was moderately successful, but if the characters started as better people, it probably would have been a greater watch. The ending was still shocking though, and I’m almost glad I watched it just for the feeling that caused.