Friday, October 1, 2010

Remember Me Discussion Group

Caroline puts 4 stones on Michael's grave. Does each represent a member of the family? Why isn't there one for /from Les?


Aussiegirl said...

As a step parent myself I think I can sympathise with Les' role in the family. He is there to love and support unconditionally. But he would never intrude into what is their blood tie. It is an incredibly powerful and undeniable bond. I get the feeling that Caroline has memories of the family as a complete unit. Did the marriage break up as a result of Michael's passing or before? If it was before then Caroline would have been too young to really have a strong sense of family (I think). So this is 'their' grief - not Les's grief. I agree with both Allen Coulter and Rob that Gregory Jbara did an amazing job of creating a very sympathetic character with hardly any dialogue.

LTavares2010 said...

The four stones represent Caroline, Tyler, Diane and Charles. I think Les is not represented in this ritual perhaps because he has not known Michael personally; probably he married with Dianne after his tragic death. Just my opinion.

InstantKarmaGirl said...

I love Les' character in this story. He could be my favorite unsung hero character in this story.

I believe the Charles and Diane broke up due to the stress of Michael's death. I think that Les is completely respectful of his place as someone who never knew him.

He supports his new family.

In the last scene at Tyler's grave, he takes a step back as Diane holds Charles' hand. He is acutely aware of what the tragedies have done to this family. He isn't selfish at all, he's there to love, and he's secure in the fact that he brings to Diane and Caroline something that Charles cannot, so he takes a step back and allows this family he loves to mourn.

He is the silent supporter and I LOVE his character.

WhyIstheRumAlwaysGone said...

Kat, I've found something interesting, a prop picture where all of them actually have a painted stone, including Les. So there were initially five stones, which means that in this scene, one is missing. My theory is that the one missing is Tyler's. On that morning he leaves the flat in such a hurry, he may have forgotten the bring his stone along. If you look at the screencap where he's in the kitchen trying to cleanse a stain from his shirt or suit, you will see there is a white stone on the sill which separates the kitchen from the living-room. Could it be his stone? Could it be that he forgot it, or that he deliberately decided not to bring it because he thinks this ceremony has become pointless or too painful? What do you think? I'd love to have your take. I'd really like to to make a special post about the stones. They intrigue people a lot.

Anonymous said...

@WhyIstheRumAlwaysGone - And I thought I had watched the movie closely. Your theory intrigues me. I had explained it as one each for the blood relatives. Are Fetters and Coulter lurking?

Re: Gregory Jbara as Les, yes, a superb performance. I imagine that Les knew the family for many years. When Diane and Charles' already shaky marriage (because Charles is married to his work) came apart with Michael's death (whether suicide or WTC'93) Les & Diane found each other. Tyler and Caroline seem utterly accepting of Les as stepfather; perhaps because they are so caught up in their problems with Charles or maybe they are mature enough to see that their mother is happier with Les.


InstantKarmaGirl said...

Rum - I think you're brilliant.

WhyIstheRumAlwaysGone said...

Hey, that is only a theory. Only Coulter and Fetters coudl tell us if it's right or wrong. But somehow - I think it would fit with how Tyler feels about his brother and the ceremony at the cemetery. if Caroline hadn't called him that morning, he would nave made it on time, even though he had his suit and shirt ready. I think taht unconsciouly he didn't really want to go any more to that ceremony, for reasons of his own. But then this is only a theory... well I'm definitely going to make a post about the stones some day.

InstantKarmaGirl said...

Rum, I think you're right. Seriously. I think everyone had one because Caroline would've seen to it. She wouldn't have left Les out. I think Tyler did forget. Rocks are meant to mark that you were there, thinking of that person, acknowledging that they are dead.

Tyler knows he's dead, but he writes to him as if he's not. He's not acknowledging that his brother is gone in his every day life, so no rock, whether intentional or unintentional, it doesn't matter.

Thank goodness for this blog. I love reading everyone's thoughts, even when I'm too busy to give my own.

InstantKarmaGirl said...

Just look at the body language in the picture above. Diane, focused on her youngest & mourning her oldest. Les, reverately by her side, focused on his step-child, Charles looking away because it's too much for a stoic man to bear and Tyler...angry at the whole thing. He doesn't want to be there, not because he doesn't love, but because it hurts too much.

He's not like Charles, he can't separate himself out enough, but he does ignore the glaring reality of things until it's too late...just like Dad.

jessegirl said...

Rum, yeah, do a piece on the stones. Can hardly wait for your take, your brilliance.

Karma...I miss you!!! Your thoughts are always wonderful and insightful. Please always comment and on my articles too. I sometimes miss your perpective. We don't always agree but it makes it so much more interesting. I love what you said about Tyler acknowledging his brother every day, in the journal, but that that means he can't acknowledge his death (did I read your comment right?). I read the photo a little bit differently than you did. I thought Tyler was being very reflective, not angry. He's got his arms folded in resignation, and, perhaps annoyance that he has to be there, true enough, but, deep down, even if ambivalent about the grave site visit, wouldn't let down his family. His journal is clearly visible bulging in his pants pocket. And Charles, I thought, was taking a moment to look at Diane, because he still cares how this affects his ex-wife. Just from this screencap.
I love the things, the minute details of acting and of actual objects in the frames, which we might miss when we watch the film.

InstantKarmaGirl said...

jessegirl, I miss being here more often.

You read my comment about acknowledging his death correctly.

In regards to the picture above, I can see your take on it too. Charles does seem to be looking at Diane, but there's a look of...withdrawal? on his face. It looks like pain, it looks like holding pain in, you know? But he's still removed himself from being in the moment. If he's looking at Diane, he's not reflecting on his own feelings of loss, which is a very Charles thing to do.

As for Tyler, yeah, he's reflective, but I think there's still an air of annoyance about how he's doing it. I think he's there for Caroline. I think he's there for Diane. He's there because it's expected. He wouldn't miss marking the moment, but I don't think he would've chosen to do it at the gravesite. I think he would've got to the little diner. I think he was probably reflecting upon it on the fire escape with a beer and a cigarette.

I don't think he ever forgot that he had to go. He never forgot what day it was, but Tyler is lost, as we've discussed other times, and that means he's lost in his own skin, in his own head and I think, Tyler met toothbrush girl, she took his mind off of things for a moment and then when it was too much and he still couldn't sleep the night before, he was out reflecting with a beer and a cigarette.

He does these family gathering things out of loyalty and I think he knew that it would break his mother's heart if he hadn't went.

I can see Tyler being the peacekeeper growing up. I think he'd do anything he could if he thought it would help the people he loved avoid pain,/suffering.

So maybe "angry" isn't the word I should've used to discribe him. Reflective, yes, but there's something else there. Underlying, he's this guy that is just so ... tired of everything. At this point, there's very little meaning in life for him, although you can see him struggle to find it. He still *tries* which is why the suit was hanging up and why even though he was late, he still went.

InstantKarmaGirl said...

I'll have to rewatch the scene...but does he ever look at the headstone? I just get the vibe that he can't do that. He might be reflecting and he might intellectually KNOW that Michael's dead, but I think there's a little boy that doesn't want to emotionally acknowledge it. And I know that the original version had Michael die in WTC boming of '93, but with it being changed to a suicide, one can't help but think that Tyler is conflicted.

Michael *chose* his death. Michael *chose* his death over his brother. With five years difference (am I correct, 5 years?) there's a lot of hero worship (we see it at the end of the film with those pictures of a younger Tyler looking over at Michael), and Tyler doesn't want to come to terms with the fact that in his final moments, Michael didn't regard him.

He found Michael. Looking at the headstone would acknowledge that what happened was real. This is not to say that he doesn't KNOW Michael is dead. I hope I'm being clear. Tyler KNOWS this. He acknowledges it with words, but I feel like he lives his life in this state of limbo because to do anything, to decide anything would be "moving on" and he can't do that yet.

God, this story is tragic.

It's one of the few stories that I can think about and feel tears prickle at my eyes.

I've said it before, but this story, Tyler's story, the story of the people who loved him, really humanizes 9/11. For those outside of New York, for those who didn't have someone personally affected by it, we all watched it. They were always people in my mind. They always had families, but there has always been this aching need to shrink it down to a number. Nearly 3000 died. This story gives us the reality that (fictionally, but representative of a real person) one of that nearly 3000 was this guy and this was his life.

It's like the Portraits of Grief, a little snippet of someone's life. A little glimpse into what made them tick and you have to sit there with that little piece of information and know that the world was taken from them, and that they were taken from the world.

I feel sickened by the critic of this movie. I feel sickened that anyone could miss the simple beauty of the honest way it unfolded.

And now I have to stop otherwise I'll type all day.

I've missed posting here too and hope to be able to contribute more because Remember Me is among my very favorite things.

jessegirl said...

Fantastic comments. So much of what you say about Tyler esp. is so true; he's a very complex person. More complex even than what I covered in my piece on him (don't remember whether you commented on that piece), because there is so much to say. Critics not only lambasted the movie, but the character of Tyler as well, which shows a complete lack of understanding about what he's going through and how he's handling it.
Your analysis is so interesting.
Remember, Karma, all the newbies just now watching RM with the DVD would be appreciative for your perspective. Anyway, for some reason topics are still coming to me to explore (they come to me; I don't go looking for them) because I guess I'm meant to say more.

Anonymous said...

Just saw this piece/guess I'm late to the party.
I did not know anything about the stones, just figured a symbolization for this particular family.
I like Karmas statement about Tyler being the peacekeeper and helping the others to avoid pain and suffering in the family.
This statement alone to me is telltale for the middle child/of which I am, they have that duty of which they feel is theirs naturally.
To me that is why Tyler is put in this awful situation in the family. He has to harbour and carry everyones burden, not just his, because it is not just his alone but all! That is the brunt of it, the heavy shoulder full throttled pain and therefore all his ways in life display this: toothbrush gal, smoking, journal, acting out, etc. Sorry I missed your discussions, but better late than never! thanks/kim

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