Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Ending of Remember Me: The Great Divide

Our talented guest blogger Jessegirl is back again and this time has written a very comprehensive and interesting article on critic bias and the audience reaction to Remember Me.

I would like to dedicate this piece to those who had the vision, courage, respect and integrity to bring this beautiful film to the screen, so that the sorrow of September 11th and those innocents who died there will not be forgotten.
-jessegirl- July 26, 2010

“You must have been watching another movie!”

It is curious how a masterpiece like Remember Me has not been better received by critics. Even more puzzling is how determined they were to use their influence to actively keep people away, apparently based on the film’s ending, the touted ‘twist’. Clap for the critics, who did this job particularly well. Domestically, RM’s (RM=Remember Me) gross was lower than it could have been. Given that RM wasn’t a blockbuster, huge box office was never expected.

However, the majority of those people who did go to see it were baffled by RM’s poor critical ratings; many viewers disagreed markedly with the critics. The refrain echoed by so many was: “You must have been watching a different movie.” I’ve addressed this disconnect elsewhere but here I’ll tackle the thorny issue of the movie’s ending.

I hope I do this topic justice but it is really too large to cover in a little piece like this. I’m aware that I cannot cover all bases; I just hope I speak to the important ones adequately. At the end, I’ve listed the sources from which I obtained the quotes. The three articles—Brevet, Bartyzel and Reesman—and their comments, are a rich source for discovering rare critical impartiality and substantive viewer comments. I participated and it was an interesting experience. Laremy Legel’s review is one of the best.

What were the critics thinking?

Tone: I must admit that wading through even a portion of many of the ill-conceived ‘reviews’ was nauseating. The tone of most of these negative reviews is so glib, off-handed, ill-thought out, and dismissive, as if the film is not worth our time. The disrespect splats out, a rotten tomato indeed, but it does so without any substance or given reason. Unsupported rejection. There seems to be a built-in contempt pervading many. It is, if nothing else, not professional. Where did this attitude come from? Read on.

Assumptions: It was obvious from what they said that many critics started from the assumptions that the film was a romance and the target audience was teenage girls, specifically ‘Twihards’.

And so we get Rich Cline (Shadows on the saying RM is “aimed at teen girls and no one else”. Critics didn’t, upon viewing, revise their opinion after they’d realized poor marketing had categorized it incorrectly. As professionals they should be able get past this, and judge films according to what they are. Some critics even cited how effective the marketing was: Alice Tynan (The says: “the marketing [targeting Twihards] has done its job well.”

So, instead of setting the record straight, many just let the misconceptions stand. Some critics took this further by predicting how audiences would react. The following instances show they insult not only the film but also future audiences:
Alistair Harkness ( says: “It will strike some as grossly exploitative and offensive and slay others as poignantly tragic.” Really? He knows what we will feel? Who is being offensive?

Rich Cline says: “will get on the nerves of most viewers...” This pre-emptive strike is insulting. Meanwhile, Neil Smith (Total “non-worshippers will want to...” and “Robert Pattinson’s acolytes will ensure solid returns”. He presupposes a Twilight fan base will attend. Alice Tynan predicts similarly:“Twihards will no doubt flock to the cinema...”

Ah hah! Eureka! Now we have it, the reason for the snotty and snide tones. It’s Edward!

Biases: And so we come to the heart of the problem, the prejudices so many critics seem to mainline. There are two major ones.

First, I have come to the conclusion that the repeated bashing of the ending of Remember Me by critics is a red herring, a diversion, deflecting us from critics’ real gripe, Robert Pattinson and his meteoric rise to fame. And I’m not the only one who’s figured this out. “I think that it isn’t so much the 9/11 reference that irks the critics but that Robert’s popularity is an enigma to them.” [Sling. Bartyzel] And: “they are simply looking for a reason to hate the film as it’s become fashionable to hate on Robert Pattinson.” [Hermia. Reesman.]

This Twilight Backlash is, in this case, really venomous envy. Some countries call this brand of bias ‘the tall poppy syndrome’. Never underestimate the power of envy working within. Critics attack Pattinson with their weapon, the ability to influence public opinion. “Take that,” they say gleefully, “no one will come watch your movie now. We can taint and bend the public’s perception so people will think the ending of RM is shameful. Take that, pretty boy.” Criticizing in the negative because of envy is worse than giving a movie a chance because the lead actor appeals to you. Lashing out at this actor just because he gained popularity seemingly without paying his dues is as irrational as liking a film just because Pattinson is in it. (RM was never meant to be a ‘vehicle’ for Pattinson; it is well known that he signed on to the project long before the Twilight phenomenon became evident.)

The second bias is sexism. It has to be said. Critics think it’s easy to dismiss supporters because they are women, women who love this puissant actor, damn it. They take aim at hormonally-charged teenage girls—who, by the way, make up only a portion of his fan base—figuring everyone will agree this demographic can’t possibly be right. (And adolescent males of all ages who love Transformers know quality?) There’s more to be said on this topic but I’ll leave it. The bottom line is that many critics think sneering at women’s appreciation is socially acceptable.

Gotcha! Given what I’ve covered, critics’ issue with being blindsided by the shocking ending of RM seems minimal. Oh man, did they tell us all about that ending, which ‘unfairly’ came out of left field. Aw, geez, the critics didn’t see it coming and so their egos were a tad bruised. Uh huh. They have an overarching need to appear smarter than both moviemakers and audiences. With too many of them, their own cleverness eclipses the impartiality and openness they should bring to their work.

Objections: The ‘twist’-

Let’s dispense with the vitriolic drivel first. When the camera zoomed out on Tyler—who was standing at that window in the North Tower on a cloudless September day—and then the screen went blank, all hell broke loose in critical circles. Here they come, the words: manipulative twist, tacked-on, tasteless, offensive, cheap way to get emotion and sympathy from you, lazy cop-out, random shock value, shameless, exploitative, trick. Critics wondered whether the screenwriter knew how to end his story and latched onto this event to give it unearned gravitas. Tynan wrote that RM had the “bad taste to use the tragedy as a trump card...[that it] blatantly leeches off the suffering of others”.

Filmmakers’ Intent:
This is the major objection and it speaks to both the filmmakers’ intent and audience response. But did the critics bother to find out? It’s high time we give the filmmakers some say.

Brad Brevet did, by interviewing screenwriter Will Fetters. Will was inspired to write his story after he’d read 9/11 obituaries, so the ending was not tacked on as an afterthought. September 11th was present from the beginning. His purpose was to give a fictional victim’s story so that the tragedy would be personalized. This has turned out to be the most sensitive way into the tragedy, a tour de force for this young writer.

More to the filmmakers’ intent: Producer Nick Osborne wrote a dedication, reproduced here:

“I would like to dedicate this film to all those who died on 9/11. Through the making of Remember Me, everybody involved constantly sought to approach 9/11 with sensitivity and respect and I hope that those directly affected by that day will sense that. It was always out intention to humanize those who lost their lives on 9/11 through the story of one person, Tyler, a young man who got up one morning with no more hope than to lead a fulfilling life. I suppose my hope is that, if nothing else, this film reminds audiences 9/11 is more than an event, that its core it was about decent, wonderful people whose lives were tragically cut short.”

At the RM press junket in London, Osborne told us that they had New Yorkers and cops affected by the events to consult. These people “fell in love with the script, all felt like it was an important story to tell and they gave it their stamp of approval.”

Summit arranged a special screening of RM for families of the victims of 9/11, because their reaction was of crucial importance to the studio. The response was overwhelmingly positive and people were not offended. In fact, they’d wanted something like RM, so that their loved ones wouldn’t be forgotten. Now this is the key audience which would have a right to use those derogatory words if anyone does.

Everyone, from director Allen Coulter to Robert Pattinson, was committed to getting this story made in the right way. The sensitivity and respect for the story and the care in handling the event is so very evident when you hear these filmmakers speak of the project. This kind of attitude is diametrically opposed to that which many reviewers cavalierly pinned on them. Critics abused their responsibility in ignoring the intent of those who made the film on the sensitive matter of the Ending.

Audience Response:
No piece of art has 100% response either way, and there are vocal dissenters, yet so many viewers of RM were so positive. The comments are sometimes very perceptive and profound and I cannot do them justice here. But I will quote a few so that you get a picture.

-“I’m a New Yorker and I was not insulted by the ending or offended in any way. I was truly touched. ...It has been a long time since we have seen a film touch us so deeply.”[poohbearcubz –Bartyzel]

-“I just came from New York and watched the movie with New Yorkers. By and large they were NOT offended. There were even people who lost family that day—also NOT offended. They said that the film finally broke what seemed to them to be a long silence. They were grateful that someone is making an effort to remember. Never presume to speak for another person on their behalf....Make the effort to ask them. I did.” [IMDb. RM message board...Opinion of a New Yorker]

-“...ending wasn’t gratuitous, it wasn’t perverse in its attention to detail, and it wasn’t overly preachy. It left me feeling much like I did on that day –both confused and shocked by an act that seemed so calculated to kill innocents who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.” [Hermia...Reesman]

-“I lost a brother in 9/11 and I knew going in to see the movie what it was about, and I can assure you, I’m no Einstein. So I find the excuse that the audience needs to have it spelled out to them...less than valid...The film was tasteful, respectful and a fitting tribute to all of those lives lost that day, including my brother...New Yorkers...I think in their hearts they know the film was made with the best of intentions and they appreciate the love and care that went into it. The rest of the ‘critic’ world is just too blind and cynical to get that.” [John. Brevet]

The Shock: Reaction to Reflection

Okay, the ending was a gut-punch shock. No argument. Here is the blindside. Just like 9/11. It came out of the blue.

The knee-jerk reaction to shock is anger. Because it is such a shock, people initially think the ending is tacked on. The shock itself annihilates thought because it subsumes everything momentarily. That’s what shocks do. They anger because they make us vulnerable. So we criticize, feel like we’ve been manipulated; we feel stupid and we don’t like it. Critics especially don’t like to feel blindsided because they’re supposed to be too clever to miss the clues.

But if you allow yourself a little time to process, then the shock gives way to reflection. Whether their reaction was genuine or not, so many critics didn’t get past the reaction stage before they submitted their ill-thought out reviews.
One IMDb commenter reported that her husband: “came out feeling betrayed and called it a ‘mean’ movie. But during the ride home, he said he understood his initial reaction and that the story couldn’t be done any other way. This is the extra step of reflection that some people skip—they stay stuck in anger and lash out at the filmmakers for the ‘cheap twist’.” Now this is a helpful insight and the kind of thinking one would think critics should employ.

Also, the filmmakers wanted us to feel angry and shocked, but at the event. Instead, reviewers transferred their anger to the filmmakers, a ‘shoot the messenger’ mentality.

Foreshadowing and clues:

There is a lot of this in RM. The premonitions, the ominous tone, in so many ways we are clued in to the tragedy to come. But the clues are kept subtle and are set aside during viewing because we are engaged with the characters and their struggles. Therefore, we forget the clues, or they don’t really register (which is good, because that would have seemed contrived). The clues are almost subliminal, again, because we are absorbed in the lives of the characters (and this is evidence that the actors did a great job). We are thereby set up for the shock. This is intended, but it is not cheap. It was always the end of the journey. We were meant to become invested in Tyler’s world so that we would mourn him, and finding clues all the time would be a distraction which would take away from what is important.

This viewer saw some clues early on: “But then I got so engrossed in the story that I forgot about it until I saw Tyler standing at that window (how’d they do that, anyway?)” [Astrid, Reesman] Well, Astrid, that is the mark of mastery.It is a testament to the filmmaking skill that we get so caught up in the story, we forget clues and foreshadowing which we’d previously noticed. Only on the day, when the clues knock you over, do you remember. Betrayal? Yes, but by the day, not the film.

To spoil or not to spoil? Well, it’s a catch-22 and some critics won’t be happy either way. If you know 9/11 will happen, you’ll be waiting for it, which would take away the story and the shock, and that would ruin the film because you wouldn’t feel the shock everyone felt that day. It is necessary.

Too Soon?

Another objection raised was that it is too soon to portray this event. Too raw. Yet there have been other tragedies worldwide which were used in films shortly afterwards. And if you read audience remarks, especially those of the victims’ families, they want people to remember. They think the event is fading from memory already, and RM is a good way to remember. Listen to a few of their voices:

-“I think 9/11 is fading in the American ‘everyday’ consciousness and we must not let it. I think this film helped me remember the event in a very real way and the timing is perfect. I almost feel as though I can now understand the enormous loss better having viewed this film; presented so powerfully, honestly and subtly. I’m a New Yorker...The critics have been so off on this film, and so many reviews have said the same things. I have to wonder where it’s coming from...What I don’t understand is why a different and touching movie such as Remember Me was so unfairly crucified in the press.” [Joleen – Bartyzel]

-“As someone who lost a loved one on that day, I felt this film was well done and was a great reminder to cherish every day we have with our loved ones. The people who died that day were not just a statistic. They were real people with real lives and this film does a great job of depicting that.” [Grania28, IMDb message board, thread : ‘Disrespectful... June 23, 2010]

Lest We Forget

An unforeseen effect of this film is its meaning for young people. It became clear to people taking their teen children that some of the young people didn’t know about 9/11. It is ironic that the supposedly targeted teen audience didn’t understand the 9/11 references and needed a ‘history’ lesson.

-“....taking my 15 year old niece...[European] My niece loved the film but unfortunately did not get the ending...she thought Tyler had committed suicide and did not understand why or how....She was confused...she was only 6 when 9/11 happened. I had to explain it to her...She wanted details...She listened very carefully. It was hard for her to take it all in, to imagine the victims’ fates...but she needed to know. She was very moved and interested by what I could tell her of the tragedy and now she wants to know more...” [Kim, Brevet. April 29]

-“Took my 16 yr. old daughter....In school she was taught about 9/11 but she said that only now, after seeing RM, she could ‘feel’ the impact it had on the thousands of ordinary people in New York. Next school year...she’ll surely ask her teachers in high school to show the movie as she’s convinced that every student has to see this little masterpiece...So: to those reviewers who earned their money easily while smashing a movie with only a few words and without any form of tact: you provoked a wave of solidarity all over the net on many sites...a solidarity so strong and moving that this reaction alone already means that the movie is a success.” [Anne, Brevet. May 10]

Effect on Audiences

There isn’t room here to share all the stories. Please visit the posts at the end of this article for them. They are, whether taken singly or altogether, simply astounding.

-“Watched this with my girl last night...We’re Australians...was 12 [in 2001]...The story...was extremely engaging....You could feel it as if that was you, that you were there or if not, that you were relating so deeply to it. Then suddenly, just as things start to come together, it all falls dramatically apart. As soon as ‘Sept. 11th’ was written on the chalk board, suddenly everything felt taken from beneath me. I finally understood the tragedy that Americans was a truly unique and eye opening experience...You could tell everyone was affected in our cinema, as no one left for quite a while, we were all just struck, sunken into our seats sobbing. As if we lost someone.” [Benjamin. Brevet. March 17]

The Ending and the Real Ending-

I’d like to go back to the ending. Allen Coulter, the director, said on the commentary to the DV D, that they “wanted to be respectful”, that the audience would “never see anything except reactions [of the characters]”. Now that is the tasteful and eloquent way of handling the shock. It didn’t show the violence. It focused on Tyler’s loved ones and their loss. That’s what the tribute montage—the real ending—is all about. And that was the filmmakers’ point.

The shocking ‘twist’ ending everyone refers to is not the ending. It is the climax, which sits within a framework. The outside frame is the requiem montage, the tribute to the dead. Coulter shows only those characters affected by the loss, their grief, not that of the nation or officials. He keeps it to the personal, keeps to the spirit of Fetter’s story.

The focus is on how the death affected the people who loved Tyler. And because the viewers also know only Tyler, they need the requiem too. It is about individual losses, how individuals were affected. It’s all about putting names and faces to the losses. A commentator on a message board expressed it this way:
“...when I reflect on what I remember about that year was the amount of numbers I heard. ..Numbers, numbers, numbers. But now—mainly due to this movie—I think not of numbers but of faces, faces, faces.” [Shazbott89, IMDb]

-“We focus so much on the tragedy, we lose sight that we lost 3000 individual stories that day. Remember Me brings that into focus. We are remembering the event, but we need to remember the ‘me’s’.” [Lisa – Robsessed. Bartyzel post]

“Everything narrowed into what this story was meant to be, meant to do.”**

Tyler, the sacrificed one, was the viewers’ loss, OUR loss, our specific loss—unless we were one of those who lost their real loves there in 9/11. It’s not about numbers, not about 3000. It’s about 3,000 specific people. But the film, in concentrating on just one, our Tyler, brings home the tragedy in a way no other rendition could have. We relate on a personal level. That’s the power of Remember Me.

When we cry—as so many viewers, men, women, teens, older people did—when we cry, it is for him, because all huge loss is always personal. The filmmakers brought the huge event to us through the only conduit that could reach the depths of our hearts, that murdered being, the one we’d grown to love. That is the only way we would know how very great the loss is.

We must not forget. We must not forget 9/11. We must not forget that one particular life that was taken from us. We must not forget that one life, Tyler Hawkins, the fictional embodiment of the victims. It is not statistics. It is names and faces. He is our brother, our son, our friend, our lover. So when Tyler looks out that window and the camera zooms out so that there will be no mistake as to his fate—he stands at ground zero in the North Tower, just exactly where the first plane hit—the shock stuns until we are covered in tears. As my fellow commenter said of that moment: “Everything narrowed into what this story was meant to be, meant to do.” [**InstantKarmaGirl. -see below] Exactly. It narrowed to that still point, our Tyler, with that look of hard-won acceptance on his face, his soul shining like a beacon for us. That’s all. And that is enough. It is huge.

The critics are irrelevant. Will, Nick, Allen, Rob, and all the rest, who gave us this amazing gift, they are the only ones who matter. And for some of us, the story did what it was meant to do.

Article references:
“Reacting to Remember Me: an Interview with Screenwriter Will Fetters”, by Brad Brevet. March 16, 2010
“Post-Movie Coffee: Remember Me”, by Monika Bartyzel. March19, 2010
“Controversial ‘Remember Me’ Ending: Dividing Critics and Audiences”, by Bryan Reesman. March 15, 2010
Review: Remember Me is well Done”, by Laremy Legel. March 11, 2010
“Remember Me”, by Roger Ebert. March 10, 2010.
Remember Me IMDb Message Board
Rotten Tomatoes - Critical Reviews
Remember Me comment by InstantKarmaGirl


RMSaturdayUK said...

This portrays the very reasons I agreed to promote RM here in the UK via the twitter fan event and I am so glad I did. The loss I felt was for the loss of the future of the everyday person, the people who went about their own business that very day and who's families lives were changed forever. I thank those involved for having the bravery to share that message on the big screen.

Sashylee said...

Wow, this is such a great post! It has me in tears again, reading through all of the comments from various people. It also touches on so many truths that I believe are the reasons why this film didn't do as well. Thank you!

Savageo said...

Loved Remember Me. This is a story that needed to be told and thanks to all that were involved in getting it to the big screen. I don't buy many movies, but this is one I wanted because we never need to forget 9/11 and the innocent people that died that day. Thank you(all you very talented people)again for this beautiful film.

Gwen Cooper 426 said...

I think that all of those involved in making Remember Me were passionate that it be seen as a eulogy for those lost in 9/11.

It was crafted perfectly. Yes, it's not easily classifiable---definitely not a romance.

However, just because a critic can't categorize it to the masses, doesn't mean it deserves derision. Personally, I think the critics, who get paid to recommend movies to "the many", were basically cowards. None of them wanted to risk any kind of backlash for recommending a movie that, with Tyler's character, embraced those lost on 9/11.

Those critics should be ashamed.

Remember Me is worth so much more than your average film. It serves as a message and it does it beautifully, respectfully and with utter grace.

I won't forget.

Monica said...

This piece is spot-on. Amazing, well thought out and a thorough analysis indeed. It took me through the emotional ride of the story once again and brought me to tears. It is unfortunate that more people did not experience this story in the way it was intended and even more so that many did not bother to see it at all due to the skewed reviews it received. In my humble opinion it is a beautiful piece of art, respectful of families that lost loved ones in the tragic events of 9/11 and a touching story with a message that everyone should experience.

Anonymous said...

The country I live, RM came out with good critics from specialist and the audience in it´s premier weekend was adult people from all ages and both sexes. The film did well for it´s little and short distribution.
Right now the DVD is out and it is doing very well too.
There are a lot of classic films that in time people appreciate and enjoy, that at the time they were released in theater they were treated poorly... beside though it could have performed better in the US.. Worldwide the movie did great even with the little distribution it had.
Reside, I think the actors and filmmakers should feel proud, most actors try to find the next hit or the next award with their award, the same with the filmmakers.. but we can see RM was meant to create art and a strong expression.. something too lost nowadays in the movie industry.

imloco2 said...

Thanks again Jessiegirl for sharing such a deep understanding of this film to others. I agree with every point you made. It still bothers me that so many feel free to call the film a failure when it was anything but. And I'm not even talking about how it actually made enough money to be called a success and will make even more with dvd sales. No, I'm talking about how very important RM is to us as a culture. It's important that we don't forget this day, but it's happening all around us. From kids too young to remember 911 to older folks who think it's been so long we should just get over it. Remember Me combats that attitude very well. You can't much more successful than that.

The critics seem determined that unless you're making an epic blockbuster or an actual movie about the perpetrators of 911 the event itself shouldn't be used. All the comments I hear that say 'but it wasn't about 911' and 'there was no warning in the movie' or 'it should have been about 911 all the way through if they're going to use it' makes me want to shake people. They just ignore the fact that that's exactly the point. No one had any warning. If you are really going to do a story about a victim of 911 there's not going to be any drama until the very end. There's just not. At least not to do with 911. Just everyday drama that ordinary people have in their lives ala RM. People, get a brain! I guess what they want is a movie that starts with 911 and goes from there. Oh well...

Argh, I get so worked up. I've never seen a movie that has affected so many people in such a profound way. I've also seldom seen on that polarized people so much. It seems you either love it or you hate it, not much in between. But I think what you think of it comes from what you bring to it. Someone commented that it's like a mirror and you are reflected back. It's an interesting thought and tells a lot about our society today.

Morgan said...

Beautifully done.

I wrote a comment here, but it rapidly became a blog post of its own. I shall post it elsewhere and leave this:

If this film did nothing else, it re-opened lines of communication between people. They talked about it, about that day, and the bonds that join us to each other strengthened.

Will Fetters, Allen Coulter and the talented cast and crew did what they set out to do - they helped us remember and reminded us to live every moment, because none are meaningless and some will be all we have.

OCD56 said...

I first went to see Remember Me because I am a fan of Robert Pattinson. But the reason I went to see it five times in the theater and bought the DVD is because it was such a powerful movie. It helped me to remember that day and helped me to remember the individual people who were murdered that day. I cried each time I watched the ending. I am a 57 year old Twilight fan, not a teenager. I took some of my daugther's teenage friends to see the movie the first time. They liked the movie but needed me to explain what happened on 9/11. This movie helped open this line of communication with them.

Andreia said...

Did we all watched the same movie? RM sucked and I'm not even speaking about the ending - the ending was fine, in fact one could argue that a movie like RM needed such a controversial ending to survive. I'm talking about the script, which made me cringe because it just was that awful; and the acting, I like Robert Pattinson but he stills has a lot to learn, he was just so bad but he wasn't the only one. The only person who was half good was the little girl (can't remember her name).

mcwrixon said...

I can say as a twilight mom - that seriously went to see this movie because of Robert Pattinson, I was overwhelmed by this movie. It was so amazingly done, and it is exactly what it is. You just never know, Eat your dessert first, because who knows it could be the last one. I thought is was extremely well done, and kudos for it being done. I encourage everyone to see and own it, It did happen in our lifetime, and we Must Never Forget.

Jessegirl - ty for you thoughts, I was so disappointment in the negative press of this movie. I think those who feel poorly about it, just don't get the overall statement being made of the film.

It was a smart, wise and heartfelt remberance of a diffcult day in history that must never fade from our memories.

HeartThePretty_EvenMore said...

I agree with so much of what has already been posted here. RM was thought provoking. After 9/11, so many of us re-evaluated life and made an effort to live in the moment because reality had just shown us that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. But over time life happens and things get routine, promises forgotten. RM brought back the focus to those feelings after 9/11, that we have to live in the moment and appreciate what we have now because there are no guarantees for us or our loved ones. That is the movie I saw and I think that was part of the movie makers intention. I say 'Thank You'.
Jessegirl, nice job, well stated.

RobCharming said...

This is an amazing post. I wasn't in NY during 9/11, but I am originally a NY'er and my uncle was a NYC police officer who lost his partner in this horrendous tragedy. He was there digging bodies out of the rubble, so this movie hits close to home. I was not offended in anyway. It was beautifully made and beautifully portrayed to make you realize life can just cease without ever expecting it. I saw this movie because Robert Pattinson was in it, but it's not why I ended up loving it. I can't remember the last time I saw a movie that moved me so much. I still say bravo to the cast, the crew and everyone who helped bring this film to life. It had an incredible moral; live life to its fullest and always make sure you tell the people who matter that you love them.

Saphire1231 said...

I am not American, I am in fact an ex pat Brit living in New Zealand for some 40plus years now. After a long wait we finally got the film Remember me here and I went along to watch along with my granddaughters.

I found it powerful, hypnotic even, and cried bucketfuls along with my granddaughters (for different reasons of course)... they because of their beloved RPatz (I love Mr Patz too) and me because of the remembered horror scenes I watched unfold over the news and subsequent programs, covering the heartbreak, heroism and gut wrenching stuff that was 9/11.

The girls wanted to know more about 9/11 and so I told them... the 17 year old had some memory of seeing it but did not know the whole story, however the 13yr old knew very little.

So Remember me certainly did what it set out to do... it showcased and helped folk to remember that horrific day and also showcased how none of us know when our last moments will be on this earth... and highlighted the need for living a good life with good intentions - cos there may not be time to put it to rights later.

I personally felt that Robert, Pierce, Emily, Chris and Ruby did outstanding acting jobs on this movie... they made it all so real! Well done also to the film's writers, producers and all who brought this production to the screen.

As for the critics! Like other's here, my one question is: Did you even watch the same movie?
The critics have sealed once and for all a fact for me... and that is I will never judge by a critic's word ever again... I will judge for myself! Just as an aside to this, I must say that whenever I have read a critique on a movie my experience in watching it has always been way better than the critic classed the experience.. therefore I am of the opinion that most critics must write their pieces from the opinion of another instead of watching the movie and commenting from their own opinion.

solas said...

Very well done, Jessegirl! Keep up the good work and fine words!

Anonymous said...

Well said. I agree with everthing you said. Especially about "venomous envy"; they came after the "twilight boy with guns blazing" Personally I never cared for film critics. I've always felt they were useless and that opinion is stronger than ever. I think the best thing that could happen to moviegoers is the elimination of these parasites. Imagine experiencing a film without it being ruined by these self-absorbed blowhards.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't said it better! Thank you for saying that..

Anonymous said...

I agree with all above. I am a 40yo woman who is a Twi-Mum and firstly saw it because Rob was in it. I ended up seeing it 4 times at the cinemas and have already watched it countless times since buying the dvd on it's first day release. I sob my heart out everytime I watch it. Rob was beautiful in this and I didn't even think of Edward Cullen once. he is so much better in this than in Twilight. I will continue watching this moving movie to remember.

BellaMarie247 said...

As someone who lives in NY and whose brother worked at the World Trade Center, but who thankfully was not there that horrific day, I can tell you this movie gave me chills. It brought back all of the heart-rending emotions I felt that day and the days following...thinking about the families and friends of the victims but not knowing any personally. Now, I feel like I've met one, and feel the loss as if it just happened.

This terrible day should be remembered...must be remembered. It struck me for the first time after reading these reviews that there are young people out there who do not remember this day and I was sort of shocked that so much time has gone by without more films of this nature to keep everyone reminded...This must not happen again, and the people who died there are teaching us the most valuable lesson we can learn in this life: live every day as if it were your last.

I am glad there are new opportunities for people to see this great film now on DVD. Forget what you read about from the critics...make up your own mind. I've shown this film to many of my friends and family and all have had the same reactions...tears, heartbreaking emotions and then, we talked about Sept.11 and all of our experiences that day. Remember Me is about all of us, remembering what our lives are truly about and living the best life we possibly can.

Anonymous said...

I'm Rob fan and I like the movie. I support Rob but I am also a fair movie goer. RM is not bad but to call it a masterpiece as you start at the beginning of this article is bias and too much exaggerated. It is a good story line, good directing though I think director could do a better job at a few scene. Rob's overall performance was very good, however he didn't seem very confident at the beginning of the movie. This is his first movie after Twilight, he did good. I hope he does better next time.

I don't consider this movie as a life change experience at all. It is a beautiful story with sad ending. As Rob fans, we all love him and support his works. But I don't feel the need to make very his works as a masterpiece.

Anonymous said...

I've made comments before about this film and the unfairness of the knee jerk reactions and blatantly biased critics, but this article says it all. It covers every single aspect eloquently and accurately. This film is a gem - a little masterpiece, and it makes my heart ache in exactly the way it should. It makes 9/11 personal to me - it makes me feel like I knew a victim, ALL the victims. It makes me relate more to the people than the numbers and the horrific vision of planes crashing and towers collapsing.

THIS film and this film alone makes this event personally relatable by engaging my deepest, rawest emotions. Tyler could have been me, my mother, my father, my brother, my best friend. Tyler is all of them. It's far more engaging than all those docudramas that deal with clinical facts and engineering mistakes and law enforcement mistakes and recreations.

Remember Me makes me think deeply about every single person and what their families and loved ones must still be going through. And though it's profoundly sad, it ought to be, and I want to remember. We must always remember.

Remember Me might have been unfairly criticised, but it will stand the test of time. It is the defining 9/11 film that we all need to see.

roblover said...

Thank you for this article. Because I'm crying, I can't write what I'm truly wish to express. But I've always said that RM is a gem that will live on in our heart regardless of what the critics say. I was so touched by the film that I taught a Bible class lesson on it, which dealt with "Loss." Though I'm not a New Yorker, I felt the pain and confusion that day and it is forever etched in my mind. This film will help keep the memory alive. Thank you. I'm

BellaMarie247 said...

There is a wonderful blog about giving Remember Me a second chance you might be interested in.
Second Plea - See Remember Me on DVD.
Well worth the read, Keka is an amazing writer.

Nata Kuznetsova said...

We love this film. Touching, strong, clever and remarkable! Only the person who never loved nobody or never lost nobody - won't understand it. Many thanks from Russia!

Anonymous said...

I had been so depressed about this movie getting so little exposure & credit... until I accidentally found this site today. I am so happy that there are so many like minded people out there that understand the significance & contribution of this movie. Perhaps in time it will be more highly regarded. It was definitely a tribute to all those unfinished lives lost.

Erin said...

I would like to post your article on our website. Please email me Thank you, IrishRose

Anonymous said...

I feel part of the problem with RM was the studio. When I heard they were tinkering with the script I had a bad feeling. Then I heard it was no longer R-rated, but PG-13, and I really started to worry. Then I started to see the drip drip drip of clips touting it as a teen "chick flick". The marketing of this film was just AWFUL. It was as if they did not want Rob to have too much success with another female star. Let's not forget this studio has huge conflict of interest with Rob being half of their cash cow franchise couple Edward and Bella whose relationship is G-rated.
You noticed how the two leads in RM never had a real close up kissing scene? everything is done in shadows and darkness. Then I remembered Rob saying how they had chopped up many of the intimate scenes because the two leads were too emotionally connected. He said it made no sense to him. The editing is choppy. Why did people go see Titanic 15 times? because of the emotional connection of Jack & Rose and when he's gone you feel the "impact of the loss". That aspect of it to me was not there in RM. You also noticed no deleted scenes on the DVD.

My advice to Rob Do not make a movie with a studio that has a conflict of Interest.

Jen said...

Jessiegirl, once again you have taken us on the trip of RM and I thank you for that and for your beautiful thoughts and imput. I like you and many of the fans who loved RM are sick over the lack of support the movie got from the critics. I think in time they might see it again and realize that they foolishly allowed their lack of insight as how people survive today when tragedy befalls them. It is no reason to go screaming "The sky is falling down before they check out and make sure it's still there.

I have personally talked to people who hated the movie and when they got home and eventually saw it on DVD are just ranting what a brillant movie it was from the actors and the directors. So see sometimes you have to see things more than once to get it.

Anonymous said...

More on the bad marketing. Do you know How many reviews I read consistently refer to the leads as "teenage lovers". They're both in College and are 21. How does that make them teens.? Stupid critics. Summit should have known with Twilight on his back Rob was trying to go another direction, yet they Watered down the script and the love story so they can promoted it as a teen chick flick. Therein lies the problem. Then they pushed the release dates to coincide with Alice in Wonderland's 2nd weekend and opening of GreenZone. The worst part the promotion of the film by the actors was done two weekends PRIOR. Hello! However, the piece of resistance for me, on the eve of RM opening, was the "accidental leakage" according to Summit of a bunch of pics of Rob & Kstew in Bed in Eclipse which didn't set to open until June. Really Summit? Whatever!

First they changed the film to target it to the twihards. than they go oh btw don't forget Edward and Bella is who you should be thinking about during RM. In the end Most of them STAYED away anyway. I read that they felt Rob's character was cheating on "precious Bella". Thanks Summit. Nice sabbotage.

It's still a good movie, but I think In the hands of a better studio it would have had better success. Blockbuster success? No, but they certainly would not have a conflict of interest in properly promoting it.

WhyIstheRumAlwaysGone said...

@jessegirl, this was a much-needed article! It's a brilliant piece, well-thought, well written, concise and insightful. It manages to give us all the reasons the film was panned. All the main points - the desire of the media/so-called critics to bash Robert Pattinson, the filmmaker's initial intent and their honesty, the reactions of the viewers who loved the film and accepted or understood the ending even if it's hard to take for many reasons, the way the foreshadowing clues form a breadcrumb trail throughout the film and were bllindy (willingly?) overlooked by the critics, all this is done skilfully. You give us both the global picture and the details, and you expose the blatant unfairness of the press as well as their not-so-nice hidden motivations for panning the film. There is indeed a great divide between viewers and reviewers, and it seems to grow wider every time. The filmmakers knew, however, from the very beginning that this film was meant to be polarizing and that they were taking a risk, but they were brave and passionate enought to take it. The overreaction of the critics, who were often sometimes insulting, personaly shocked me. I hope the film will prove them wrong in the long term (as the great DVD sales seem to do) and that one day, they will eat their words.
Kudos for this great article!

kat said...


Why would Summit intentionally sabotage their own film? They spent 16 million making it, and probably somewhere between 10 and 16 million marketing it. Yeah, they have made alot of money from the Twilight franchise, but companies are in the business of making money and they do not sabotage their own product.

Did the marketing miss the mark? Yep, no question. I wish that they had spent their budget towards an older audience and not have marketed it so much as a romance, but as a family drama. IMO the money they spent on Twi fans was wasted. Not so much that they didn't show up, but the film was marketed for free by all the Rob sites and many of the Twilight ones. The film didn't need marketed to Rob's fans, all they needed was the date....they had them at the first mention of the film by Rob.

Now the date change could have been done to accomodate more time needed in production. The film was not officially finished until Feb 2nd. And 3/12 was much less crowded. Valentine's Day, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the 2nd week of Dear John were the competition in Feb.

The promotion prior would have been scheduled around Rob's filming schedule. He cou;dn't afford to spend 2 weeks promoting, he was filming Bel Ami. Remember that he wasn't present for alot of the Eclipse promo and he was at least in the same town. They could not have premiered Remember Me eariler due to the Ocsar's schedule. The press would not have been available for the junket.

And lastly, Summit was no way, shape or form responsible for release of those Eclipse stills. Those stills were stolen and Summit is currently suing the person who released them for copyright infringment. (And they were leaked on Valentine's day a full month prior to RM's release). If Summit had been in on the leak they may have denyed it in some fashion, but they certainly would not have sued. That would amount to perjury and courts tend to send people to jail for things like that.

In the hands of any other studio, this film would not have been made.

Anonymous said...

Oh Come on Everybody wants to put it all on the critics and I agree they're a bunch of self-absorbed hypocrites. They just wanted to trash Rob. However, Summit contributed to the demise of the film at the b.o. Why would they want to sabotage their own product?. One word, Twilight. As you said 16m+10million does not equal the billion plus cash cow known as Twilight. Did you see all the nasty stuff being thrown at the lead actress in RM? All the changes in the cript,downgrading to PG-13, watering down the love story so as not upset the sensibilities of the twihard,and the weird confusing marketing message was Summit "not quite sure they wanted that movie to be a hit or not". They were afraid of their own competition vs their bread and butter Twilight. Too much heat and chemistry between Emily and Rob on screen may not be good for Twilight. I Figured it out a long longtime ago. My only question is did Allen Coulter have to promise to film all the intimate scenes in shadows and darkness (not too much close ups)in order to get the financing? I read somewhere that he wanted to quit when he heard it was not going to be R-rated anymore. Would have loved to be a fly on the wall. Why doesn't Summit have Deleted Scenes in RM DVD? We get millions of them in Twilight DVD. Riiiiight!

WhyIstheRumAlwaysGone said...

kat - about the marketing budget, I remember seeing this question asked on altfilm (hot debate there and lots of hate in the comments - eek), but the author of the article replied that the marketing budget was no officially known anyway. I read then on another site a comment by someone who said that the marketing budget was included in the production budget - ie, according to that person, RM costed 16$M, marketing costs included - however I have no idea how do these things work. What do you think?

jessegirl said...

Okay, time for me to jump in.

You've gotten deliberately off track.
Poor marketing--for whatever reason--poor critical reviews and a fickle fanbase all contributed to poor domestic BO.

And whether or not the film should have had more graphic sex scenes--and all the supposed studio politics going on behind the scenes about ratings, etc.--is also irrelevant to the point of my piece. And the love story within RM is only a part of the story. Furthermore, Summit will insist on BD being PG-13, when the book calls for more mature rating. So, they are doing it for the Twilight franchise too.

The story, as shown, was complete enough and made the point. It worked. At the end of the day we have to look at what we have and how it affected us. That's all. And, for a large percentage of the audiences, RM worked.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry if you think I'm off track, but that's your blog so..... we're talking about box office or lack there of and who's responsible. You said the critics and I agree with you for the most part like 90%. I'm just say it's not 100% them. It's also the studio. I got many of my friends and family to see the film and it worked for them too, but some of my friends had read the script and didn't like what they saw on screen, and I can see their point. I'm not talking about "graphic sex" either. I'm talking about "character connection".

I read BD. The birth scene is bloody but that's about it. Everything else fades to black. People wanted to know if it's going to be R-rated due to the gore. Summit will insist on PG-13 because they don't want to lose money. They said it themselves. "R-rating would keep a lot of our audience from seeing the film." It's a huge base of the Twilight saga.

kat said...

Marketing budgets are more closely guarded secrets than most state secrets, but the general rule of thumb is that the marketing and print budget is about equal to the production budget. And the production budget is just that, all production - both filming and psot production. Remember Me's actual budget was 20 mil with a 4 mil NY tax rebate for the 16 mil.

Satine said...

Today is 9/11 and I read this comprehensive article through the website TOR (Thinking of Rob). I am so thankful they posted this link to this articele that you wrote Jessegirl, I have known you from other sites always supporting this film and how passionate you are to right the injustice it received from critics reviews. As always your writing speaks volumes and as I have mentioned in other posts, this film will be well received in future generations and they will question critics motives as to why this movie was so negatively reviewed. I went to see Remember Me twice in the movie theater. As the Austrialian gentleman commented no one left the theater for about 5 minutes, they were all so stunned and moved by this movie. I have seen this phenomenon happen a couple times, Saving Private Ryan and United 93. You could hear a pin drop in the theater and this is what occurred when I viewed the movie both times. I hope with the DVD release of the movie people give it a try and see for themselves what a moving tribute to 9/11 victims the movie is without being exploitive. As for Robert, TOR did a poll and asked what was Robert's most memorable role, overwhelmingly it was Tyler Hawkins. He did poetic justice to this character. I never saw Edward Cullen in this movie as was pointed out by many critics. As you pointed out the biases of this movie by critics is so pathetic, that you will only hope that future generations point out these biases. As great writers and painters never are fully appreciated when they are alive, it is future generations who discover their greatness, I see this happening to this movie. I do believe Summit marketed this movie poorly and given that, it may explain the reason to avoid viewing this little gem, I hope people view this movie with an open-mind to fully appreciate the tragic event that occurred that day and to remind us all one can never take life for granted, you just never know when it will end, and when it does how many people were affected by the loss. Thank you Jessegirl for this amazing article. To those on this tragic anniversary, your loss is our loss, a nation's loss.

jessegirl said...

Thank you for your comment, Satine. I also liked the ‘shout-out’ you gave on ThinkingofRob. I was hoping that site would post my articles, including this one, but they have not. Therefore, I appreciate you and ‘Rum’ steering readers to Kat’s site. Anyone who loves RM should come here, not just for the posts, but for the good comments.

I have been watching 9/11 documentaries this weekend, marking the day, and the horror is as fresh as yesterday. RM has taken us into this with compassion and respect and I think you are right, Satine, that RM’s greatness will be acknowledged in time. I can only do my bit.

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