Monday, July 12, 2010

Remember Me Discussion Group

The characters deal with grief differently. Do you think someone handles it better, or worse? Who and why?


LTavares2010 said...

In my opinion, it is Ally who handles with grief better, apparently because she was only a child when the tragedy happened or because she always felt the support, safety and caress of his father or just because of her strong personality or maybe the three things.
Caroline seems to handle well with grief, too, because she is a child, she has Tyler by her side all the time, her mother, a stepfather, but even so she misses the affection of her father.
I think Charles is the one who handles worst with grief because he must say to himself, full time, he is doing the right thing in being suffering alone, far from the ones he loves but he is not. He pretends to himself, his employees, his clients, his friends, and mainly to his family that he is a strong man but he is really not. He is an adult man playing the role that society expects from him: the strong man who never cries, who works a lot, that pays the bills of the family and that is enough.
After him I think poor Neil Craig is the second one, because he still feels lost and insecure because of what happened with his wife and he feels worried all time with Ally. He drinks too much, he is impulsive and reacts violently sometimes.
And in the third place I think Tyler. He is a mix of emotions: anger, feeling of guilt, loneliness, suffering, but he is young, sometimes acts as a boy who must have been beloved and spoiled ( in a good way ) when he was a child, which is normal. He is impulsive, also reacts violently at times, but most of all he needs to unburden, he needs affection and attention of the father, needs a goal, an ideal to channel his energy and attention.

InstantKarmaGirl said...

This is what I enjoy about this movie, seeing how people react to tragedy and we see them in the later stages of grief. It's taken five years for Charles to withdraw, Tyler to grow so angry, Diane to cling.

I think Les is about the only rational one in the bunch, but he's the outsider. The support beam in the middle of a collapsed (oh!) building.

I don't think any one in Tyler's family has dealt well. I think if I had to pick it would be Caroline, but she was just a little, little kid...

As for Ally, I'm not sure how well she's been able to deal with it. More like move on, move past because she had no other choice. She took care of her father in ways her mother would have. She assumed an adult role at a young age, which a lot of kids end up doing. I don't think that's any healthy her than Tyler's inner rage.

We don't see much of Diane, we can just speculate, but her grief seems...I don't know, normal? I don't know. Five years later she can't really articulate to people that it's not only Michael that (would) likes it that they still gather on his birthday.

As a mother I would be devestated. Happy birthday, Mikey... I think under the circumstances she's held up better than most would, actually they all have.

Good question, but I don't think it can truly be answered. Not by me anyway. There is no wrong way to grieve.

I think this movie is well-written, smart, and real.

WhyIstheRumAlwaysGone said...

I had the feeling that none of them could cope well with grief, actually. Maybe the message is that you have to move on, but that you will be damaged forever in some way, whatever options you choose. Yet there are ways each of them can move on. Some, like Ally and Caroline, seemed to me to be a little less worst off. Caroline is maybe (in my opinion) the less damaged of Tyler's family, because she was such a little kid when Michael died. She may not have such clear memories of him. But she does takes the full brunt of the other family member's grief and as a young kid, she needs love and comfort, something her father does not give her. We don't really know how Ally coped, but we know that she has an innate strength of character and that she's very combative. She's a fighter and we know at the end that she will be able to move on and get on with her life in spite of the tragedies. And poor Tyler was on his way to heal. I have a feeling that the younger characters could cope, but I'm not so optimistic about their parents - Charles, Diane, Neil. Diane too me is probably the one most broken by grief. You don't see much of her and she's always putting on a brave face, but you can feel the depth of her pain. Diane's character really breaks my heart.

Jen ( said...

Six years have passed since Michael has passed away and the family gathers to remember him once a year. I found this very interesting that Tyler who is still raging over the death of his
brother and blaming his Father for hiring and not letting him pursue his love of music. We notice he tells Caroline all kind of things about their brother and she knows how important he was to the family she was younger when he died but Tyler has made sure he is a part of her life. Tyler shares many stories with Ally about Michael…He knows his mother still cries and so does Caroline.

This is a family that is still broken over the suicide over Michael. They go to his grave but they do not speak about him except for Diane saying Michael would be happy they are still doing this. Charles has gone forward in his life working 24/7 and sadly spends his time working and providing but not giving of himself emotionally or physically and instead of truly reaching out for his children at this time he doesn’t because he can’t. Diane is heartbroken about the loss of her son but continues to go on with her life with sadness forever burning in her eyes and heart.

Neil has been widowed for ten years and still treats Ally like a little girl. I think Neil has never gotten over the death of his wife and hasn’t excepted the fact that Ally is an adult. He is broken man who must deal with crime and death often in his job and probably wonders why couldn’t he have saved his wife. Ally I think grew up fast without her Mother but accepted her Mother’s death and I think she was helping Tyler to accept his brother’s.

It was interesting to see how all these people dealt with the death of their loved ones and how it affected them. They all grieved differently but they did grieve.

jessegirl said...

Karma...I so agree with some of what you've said. That you can't answer the question and that there is no wrong way to grieve. There is fall-out with the way each one of them handles their grief, and it depends partly on their age at the time of the death, on whether their own guilt over it played a big part too.

I think this film shows us how different people handle it, and shows us the pitfalls of each and the consequences of those pitfalls. Each 'way' seems to be fraught with difficulties. But I think each character needed to go about it in his or her own way. Why? Because I think that way had something to teach that person and also the ones around him or her. Let's face it, the death of a loved one is devastating no matter how you deal with it. And your family might have something to learn from you through your 'method' and vice versa. I don't know if what I'm saying is clear here.

Rum...'damaged forever'...yes, I think so, but perhaps that damaged part of you is necessary to forge a transformed you, one who will have a greater capacity to love authentically, to forgive, to become compassionate. This sound idealistic and it is. Because the outcome could be a new bitterness, a hardness which colours one's whole attitude towards life and others. I think, whatever way one grieves--and I don't think it is so much a conscious choice than an unconscious reaction--the path is an opportunity to deepen your humanity or to deny it. So there is danger and opportunity, and, opportunity in the danger, --get it? It's all a test. As are other 'lessons' in life. But there are many answers.

Oh, damn it, everything I've said is too abstract, and you know it. One could analyze in depth each character's reaction to the death.

But Diane' clinginess could be an opportunity for Tyler and Charles to behave differently towards her, to reassure her they love her, that they'll be there for her. After all, clinginess isn't a character trait, just a response to devastation. So, if the guys treated her differently, if they initiated loving interaction with her, her clinginess would transform. For sure. I would have liked to see something like that happen in the film.

Likewise, when Charles is presented with Tyler's tortured conflict and feelings of rejection, that is his opportunity to reassure, to openly show his love. This would change the dynamic between them so much. Oh, the relief Tyler would feel! His torture makes me ache.

And when Tyler constantly berates his Dad, and rejects his caring actions,like bailing him out, he needs to see his father's pain; this is Tyler's opportunity to grow up a little, become a man who understands why his father deals with his grief the way he does, to see another perspective, which is a sign of maturity.

I could go on. I don't know if I'm making much sense but all of them have the chance to use their crippling pain itself to re-build their bonds with each of the others. Karma, it's so interesting that you talked about Les and the collapsed building. Metaphorically, the family home has been destroyed by the hurricane of Michael's suicide; now they have a chance, by using their pain, using it you see, to 'build' a new home. It is good some of them have Les to hold them up while they are clearing the muck before they re-build.

jessegirl said...

Sorry, had no idea it was THIS long.
And there's a bit more.

I've ignored some of the characters but they are important and need separate space. I'm sure I'll get it in somewhere.

Jen...I liked what you said about Tyler making sure Caroline knew her other brother. I think he did it for himself too. It's Tyler's opportunity to say Michael's name and in sharing that book on Greek myths with her, Tyler is taking up the torch Michael left burning. Do not ever underestimate the importance of saying the name of the dead loved one. Saying the name aloud is a resurrection of sorts, it keeps the memory alive like nothing else, doubly so if you are sharing it with others. This way, he is alive in everyone's mind, and at the same time.

WhyIstheRumAlwaysGone said...

@jessegirl, thanks for your beautiful insights, as always... ah... I think we need to make a post about grieving in RM, you and I.. and another one about Diane and her relationship to the other membres of the family... And no,I don't think it's too abstract. The French readers have a more down-to-eath, rational approach to this question : they make a list of the characters and analyse each one of them, but no one sofar has given me some kind of overview as you do. But all of them agree with what's being said here.

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