Ominously set in New York City during the summer of 2001, Remember Me, starring Robert Pattinson (of the Twilight series) and Emilie de Ravin (of TV’s Lost), pretty much answers the question of whether it’s still too soon to make the events of September 11 the subject of a date movie.
Or rather, not the subject so much as the specter waiting just off-camera for its walk-on while brooding 21-year-old Tyler Hawkins (Pattinson) quotes Gandhi, gets into brawls, gets drunk, writes letters to his dead brother, and otherwise channels despondency and rage into various salubrious outlets. One of these is romancing (under circumstances severely testing the viewer’s credulity) de Ravin’s Ally Craig, grappling somewhat more constructively with her own familial tragedy. Ally is the sort of self-possessed, strong-willed young woman whose instincts, shortly after she’s been backhanded by her drunk father (Chris Cooper), tell her to placate and have sex with her drunk boyfriend when he comes home enraged after battling his own father (Pierce Brosnan). She is there to teach Tyler, through quirky habits like eating dessert first, what director Allen Coulter (2006’s Hollywoodland) wishes to teach us: that time is short and one must fill one’s life with meaningful actions — like throwing a fire extinguisher through a window to convince a classroom of tweens to stop bullying one’s little sister. The film is seeded with allusions to an impending catastrophe that feels less integrated than exploited. And it’s uncomfortable seeing the fall of the towers used to make the ground shake under a sweet, fairly depthless depiction of love and grief.
Remember Me opens today in Bay Area theaters.