If you haven’t seen “Remember Me” you really should. It has a good message, a reminder to all lest we forget ... to appreciate each other, life and always remember those who have been lost tragically.
The story is told in the voice of Tyler Hawkins, and ends much as it begins, on the subway. Set in New York, the city and actors represent the diversity that makes us who we are and the varied loss we have all felt and suffered, both independently and as a nation.
It starts with flashes of light as someone rides the subway. Then, opens with Alyssa “Ally” Craig, 11, seeing her mother murdered by muggers while awaiting the subway one night. Consequently, Ally, now 21, tries to live life to the fullest, eating dessert first because she knows none of us are guaranteed another minute of life — a lesson she teaches Tyler right off the bat.
Tyler, played by Robert Pattison, is an awkward young man trying to find his way in the adult world, impacting the lives he touches along the way. He has a strong voice, however brief, and believes and lives passionately as only the young can — a lesson for us all.
Tyler turns 22 in the movie, a significant date as his brother Michael killed himself six years before on his 22nd birthday. He often remembers Michael, to whom he writes in a notebook he carries practically everywhere. He and his family, in many ways, are still adjusting to Michael’s loss.
He doesn’t understand his father, and becomes enraged to the point of physical violence - on more than one occasion. Tyler can’t understand why his father, Charles, played by Pierce Brosnan, spends more time at work than with his family, especially when it means upsetting Tyler’s sister Caroline, played by the talented Ruby Jerins. Tyler is his little sister’s biggest cheerleader.
Tyler goes with roommate Aidan Hall, played by Tate Ellington, to a bar. He joins the action when a fight erupts in the alley on the way home; Aidan gets dragged in as well. Tyler seems to relish the physical outlet, and even gets smart with a cop, Sgt. Neil Craig (played by Chris Cooper) who packs a wallop. Aidan calls Tyler’s dad to bail them out, which irritates Tyler.
Aidan learns Sgt. Craig has a hot daughter, Ally. Adian dares Tyler to use her to get back at the officer. Tyler initially resists, but eventually gives in, charming Ally with his quips. A romance is born.
Sgt. Craig is frantic when Ally fails to come home one night. When she returns the next morning, harsh words are exchanged. Ally makes a crack about her mom and he, without thinking, reacts and smacks her in the face, knocking her down. She runs to Tyler.
Ally stays with Tyler and Aidan, and doesn’t tell her dad where she is, only that she’s safe. She and Tyler develop a relationship and begin to grow together; she teaches him to live again.
Eventually, Sgt. Craig finds his way to Tyler’s apartment. He uses the time waiting for the trio to return to snoop. He finds Tyler’s writings to his brother, including about his bet with Aidan. When Tyler returns home, a confrontation erupts, and Sgt. Craig eventually leaves.
Ally returns home and Tyler tells her about the bet. She leaves. He mopes until his sister suffers a personal crisis at the hands of the other girls in her school.
Aidan, feeling for his pal, seeks out Ally and convinces her to give Tyler a chance, that he loves her. Ally and Tyler slowly rebuild their relationship. They finally give voice to their love, then Tyler’s off to his dad’s office to meet with attorneys regarding his recent legal troubles.
Charles Hawkins decides to drive Caroline to school since Tyler is already at the office and won’t be going with her that day. As Tyler waits, he views the screen saver on his dad’s computer, various family photos taken over the years of his children, which gives Tyler new perspective on is dad. Then, the end.
The day was Sept. 11, 2001, and Charles’ office was located in one of the twin towers. You see everyone react — mom running to see what’s going on, dad at his car, the distraught sister, bereft girlfriend and sad friend, and Sgt. Craig frantically trying to coordinate efforts near the tower.
All of this is going on as you hear Tyler quote Mahatma Gandhi, “‘Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it, because nobody else will.’”
He explains, that it’s “like when someone comes into your life and half of you says, ‘You’re nowhere near ready,’ but the other half say, ‘Make her yours forever.”
To his dead brother he says, “Michael, Caroline asked me what I would say If i know you could hear me. I said, ‘I do know. I love you. God, I miss you. And, I forgive you.”
It ends as it began, with Tyler’s family at another gravestone, his located beside brother Michael. Ally makes up with her dad, and Tyler’s dad is kinder to his daughter, making time to go with Caroline to her favorite museum. Mom tries to cope with work. Aidan buckles down in his studies, sporting an inked reminder of his friend Tyler.
Ally ends up in the subway, the closing sequence like the opening — a blur of light passing on a subway. It turns out she’s been remembering Tyler, even more than he strove to remember Michael.
Although not true, Will Fetters’ script could easily have been. It gives a face to those who died in 2001 when the twin towers fell.
Fetters, in an interview about the movie — a special extra on most DVDs, says “real people got up that morning and didn’t come back.” He said the script was just his way of “trying to find a way to understand how and why” Sept. 11, 2001 happened, why it marked him so.
“This story and this movie came from that. Sept. 11 is, as a country, the event which most of us recognize as about loss,” Fetters said. “Each one of those portraits that I remember reading were kind of heart-rending in their brevity. You read those and you realize that real people died, because otherwise the people who died on Sept. 11 become a statistic. Tyler represents the fact that real people got up that morning and didn’t come back. It personalizes it.”
True or not, the story packs a punch. It reminds us to never forget, and to always look past the numbers, to see the people and to appreciate what their loss means, not just on a large scale, but to so many personally.
Each life lost that day matters, each person should be remembered, not just because they were one of many who died, but because of the life they lived, however large or small. Life has to go on in the wake of tragedy, but we should never forget what happened and always strive to remember each involved, each mom, dad, brother, sister, friend, coworker, etc...
The many layered messages of this story were enough to catch the attention of Pattinson, a British actor best known for his roles in the “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” movies, who became “very involved in getting [the movie] made,” to the point he was involved in the script writing process and as an executive director with Allen Coulter.
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