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Remember Me - 2010



But there is that within me which I shall
tire
Torture and Time, and breathe when I
expire

Lord Byron

Unable to deal with my baby brother’s silence on a matter that troubled me immensely, I found myself utterly disturbed. The impending fear of ‘what if’ triggered the unusual reaction in me that comprised erratic mood swings and when it dawned on me that the boy was an adult and not in need of me holding a finger to help him cross the road, I calmed down a little, however, I knew that at the slightest provocation a showdown was inevitable. It was a blessing in disguise that work had kept me insanely busy to even keep track of where he was, or how he was doing, although his thoughts were always at the back of my mind gnawing at me without any respite. Sitting somewhat restless one evening, I began sifting though my DVD collection and one of the cases slipped out of my fingers and landed on the floor. I glanced down to see Remember Me staring back at me and decided that indeed ‘Remember Me’ was on the agenda for the evening. Moreover, Pattinson had played Salvador Dalí in Little Ashes and Dalí was one of my favourite artists, so perhaps I sheltered an additional soft corner for the youngster.


I am certain that the digital world is rife with material on the movie, so I would prefer to eliminate familiarising you with the abridgment and getting down instead to what made me enjoy something that, I later learnt, was so uncouthly disdained by the critics.


Death has always been man’s prime occupation since the inception of life. As much as we are interested in it, we erase it out of our mind due to the impending fear of not wanting to confront it. Remember Me begins with the death of Ally’s (Emilie de Ravin) mother (Martha Plimpton) at the subway. It is an irony that even though her husband Sgt Neil Craig (Chris Cooper) is a slightly crisp but able police officer, he is unable to protect his own kin from the filth of society. When the final time arrives, one but cannot beat destiny, and the sooner one accepts this harsh reality of life, the better it is. From the subway station we jump to ten years later where we are acquainted with the rebellious, yet ruminating Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson). He lives in a neglected apartment with a distinctive character: the Amnesty poster on the wall, the bicycle, and how can one forget the coasters (indicates most succinctly that you can take a man out of his surrounding but you cannot separate him from his innate polish and culture). The rich visual disposition that cinematographer Jonathan Freeman brings to the otherwise scattered dwelling is noteworthy. I seriously think the critics who wrote Robert Pattinson off are foolish, especially when Tyler’s temperament is that of someone who regardless of the pain in his own life unhesitatingly offers light to the world. What’s more? This he does with such uncompromising regularity. Appalling that they give an absurd film like Playing For Keeps five stars when it is anything but unbearably tormenting and this only one and a half. Weird ways of the world I tell you!


Everybody is obviously hopelessly in love with those who are dear to them, but it is only the gifted who have the ability to rise above their immediate surrounding and become a phenomenon. Only such bright stars hold the magic wand to touch every single life with their benevolence and purity, and fortunately for me, these attributes and many more were to be found in abundance in someone around me: my baby brother. Even as a child everyone thought of him as a reincarnation of the best gods all nestled in his little heart. Back then it was very funny to hear people talk such until the time when his aura began to work its wonders on me as well. In order not to lose what people thought of him, what he said, or did, I began recording it in form of stories rather than just jotting them down as private ruminations. In time people appeared intrinsically interested in my work and I assumed that they were merely being polite, but when I saw his stories get published in various journals and then in The Chicken Soup For The Soul series, I realised that the inspirational treasure I had with me was no ordinary since he elicited such life-changing responses in those who hadn’t even met him, as the fan mail indicated. Precisely, this intimacy that I shared with my baby brother made me appreciate the sensitiveness that Tyler and Michael had shared in Remember Me.


They say that when two people feel a bond as deep, not even death can obliterate that closeness. In watching how Tyler keeps Michael alive on his body by tattooing his name, by letting his presence felt around his house with his photographs placed at strategic places where his eyes can nearly always be cast on them, and cherishing the guitar that Michael used to play, is so indisputably true that even when someone is physically dead, we never let them die so long as we want to keep them alive, and so long as we keep that spirit of them alive, they stay in us, forever. What additionally touched me far too deeply was when I witnessed how Tyler revisits the coffee shop where Michael and he would meet regularly for breakfast (and had met the fateful morning of the day he killed himself) in order to relive the memories and to make some new ones whilst engaging in these profound conversations and unburdening his innermost secrets before him. All of this might sound a bit off kilter to the majority, but those who experience that mental union will tell you, if you are receptive to accepting it, that such a feeling is incredibly therapeutic to ones existence at large.


Sounds clichéd, and perhaps over-quoted as well, but to hear somebody speak about loss is entirely different than actually going through the pain of loss. Loss can change the course of life. It could dent us to an extent that nothing can ever repair that dent. No doubt that each one of us confronts enough anguish in our daily life, and we deal with it in our own unique ways, yet only some amidst us can acquire the skill to ingest the poison and miraculously convert it to an antidote like Tyler does. Cinematically, one knows right from the start that it was a role etched purely to glorify Pattinson, but at the same time one should not forget that the inspiration for cinema is often absorbed from real life and Tyler is the perfect candidate for such a representation. In my opinion, it is only fair since the effect actors have on the viewers is stellar and if his actions could help restore peoples fading feelings then it is a huge service to the viewer who might after watching this movie learn that it is not in holding on that we show our strength but in letting go.

LOVED

1 – The way he politely teases the receptionist at his heavy-weight lawyer father Charles Hawkins (Pierce Brosnan) fancy office when she elucidates that the bowl in which he empties his cigarette ash is meant for ‘completing the room’ and not an astray as he views it. That was indeed such a defining moment really, and such a potent statement on the wannabe world of the so called hoity-toity. I notice so much of this fake lurking around me even though I make certain that I try and keep away from anything even remotely resembling the pseudo even though at times I am left with no recourse than to digest their drama with a pinch of salt.

2 – How the writer Will Fetter hasn’t buckled under the expectation of providing everybody a character that oozes saccharine is an aspect of the film I quite savoured as well. I see, in particular, that the critics have written him off lethally, but then I guess those who haven’t understood the premise of this brilliant film ought to get their heads examined because the very same ones would have given glorious reviews for bullshit that would have made no logic or touched no one as I have mentioned earlier. They have further failed to realise that to invent a character like Tyler’s it would take the odd and the strange combination of years of painstaking knowledge and experience, and I don’t give two hoots to them for not having respected the effort here. Then again, isn’t this one of the biggest contrarieties of life? The lack of vulnerability and sound common sense to see things as they are rather than wanting to see them the way we would wish them to appear! That said, I don’t think we should care much about people when we write, because when we write, the intention is to make people remember us even if they didn’t quite enjoy reading us. In that I feel is half the work done, and the other half, well, life would most eloquently take care of that.

3 – Adored how it is shown that sometimes we must not ask ourselves why because we will never know why. That at times we merely need to move forward, even if it were with a heavy heart and stop regretting the past because that is something that is not in our control just as today and tomorrow too aren’t.

4 – I wonder which moron termed this movie melodramatic. Perhaps it does tend to get a bit worked up, especially when Tyler and his father Charles clash at the boardroom, but that apart I thought it moved along with a steady and handsome tempo. Why is that we continually search for drama in life? Isn’t simplicity equally moving?

5 – How Tyler is happiest when he is in the company of his baby sister Caroline Hawkins (Ruby Jerins) who is an artistically inclined child prodigy. A strong character herself, she is constantly mocked and harassed for being different at school, and even though she takes it courageously in her stride, somewhere it does trouble her. The manner in which Tyler handles her delicately as one would do glass is commendable. It is nice to see their onscreen bond, something we have rarely seen in a long time with people of glaring age differences.

6 – Janine (Kate Burton), the calm and collected personal assistant of Tyler’s father seems to foster a motherly bond with the boy and has a bit of an edge given that she understands him much like a son. Every one of us have Janine’s in our lives, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we acknowledged their presence by giving them the due respect and credit they deserve to help us be grounded and felt loved?

7 – The background score by Marcelo Zarvos is clearly and mightily one of the best I have heard after the exhilarating soundtrack of my favourite Emily Blunt’s, The Young Victoria. It has been playing continuously, and I am certain one of these days my friends would fling the CD out of the car or tuck it away from me indefinitely.  

DISLIKED

The bet on Ally to get back at her father was a lame principle to incorporate in a film that dealt with something seriously sensitive such as the elegance of human nature even in the wake of melancholy. Then again, if you look at it pragmatically it is Cooper, who unable to deal with somebody challenging him, ends up badgering and arresting Tyler when he knows full well that Tyler was only speaking the truth. Cut to, the exceptionally annoying nasal-toned roommate Aidan (Tate Ellington) prodding him to impress Ally and seek revenge was uncalled for considering that Tyler vehemently rebuffs him by saying that he is not interested in seeking revenge with the man. Perhaps the writer could have invented something a bit more credible than the trivial ‘bet’ ploy considering that it is evident right from the start (even before the scuffle with her father outside the bar) that Tyler was somewhat interested in her as she had caught his attention while expressing her point of view at the global politics class they attended together.

SUBTLETY

Ally’s admittance of not wanting to use the subway was a lovely detail. He thanking his roommate Aidan for letting her stay as long as she wanted was another subtlety that I loved. The usage of the two words ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ seem much on a decline today and it was good to have seen them incorporated in this screenplay. I loved the way Tyler writes Ally a hand-written note requesting her not to leave and retreats to the coffee shop where he enlightens his brother Michael about her presence in his life. How Tyler sneaks in a quick query to check on Diane Hirsch (Lena Olin) his biological mother’s whereabouts while he is keeping Caroline engaged in matters of her interests was rather smoothly embodied without much fuss or murmur. 


Another nuance that shook me up from my roots is how when Ally asks Tyler what he would prefer in breakfast, French toast or pancakes, he walks out with his landmark bright smile saying most nonchalantly – “Doesn’t matter.” If taken lightly this is something that anyone amongst us would not pay attention to, but ask anybody who has lost somebody and they would tell you that the cryptic nature of such messages has bothered them as much as it has bothered me about how on earth would they have known. To elaborate, the pattern I have ascertained is that the deceased mostly say or do something that is quite an indication of what is to come. It is as if they would have sensed this nearly uncanny sort of premonition, something deep within them perhaps telling them that their time has come, that this would be their last day or their final moments. Only we are too preoccupied to even observe that sign.

I WISH

I sincerely wish the female lead had been Emilia Zoryan (Falling Overnight) than Emilie de Ravin. Although Emilie has gorgeous blue eyes and shares a fabulous chemistry with Robert Pattinson, Emilia Zoryan would have added the much warranted grace to the role. Emilia Zoryan is mischievous, sensual, and yet quite reminds one of the pristine beauty and charm of say Audrey Hepburn. Pattinson and Zoryan certainly would have enlivened the screen with their delicacy, depth, chemistry and what a delight it would have been to watch them do just that, jointly.

FINALLY

I think that we each come into this world with a purpose, and once that has been achieved, we are no longer required to waste the reserves of Mother Nature. In accordance with that belief, Tyler mends the broken ends and then becomes one with nature. I have no idea what the others might have made of it, but for me his death came as the death of the nobility in man.


The terrorists who kill in the name of religion, I am unable to fathom how they show such a lack of feelings. Are they so ignorant to the fact that it is only god who gives us this life and god is the ONLY one who can take that life at his will. I agree that some of us, by virtue of who we are born, are discriminated against. We are tormented and troubled than the ones to have taken birth in the privileged classes of creed, but that still does not justify merciless killing, does it? What use would blowing ourselves achieve when we are, in actuality committing the gravest sin if one were to go by the very tenants of religion by violating the very doctrines of it? I’d say please leave lives alone. Don’t rob a family of their loved ones. In taking a life you might be taking the entire world away from the lives of whom they love, and isn’t that a bigger sin to leave behind dead souls in living bodies?


To sign off I have nothing else but Maria Rainer Rilke’s words that echo in my mind. He had once said, “...the longer I live, the more necessary it seems to me to endure, to copy the whole dictation of existence to the end, for it might be that only the last sentence contains that small, perhaps inconspicuous word through which all laboriously learned and not understood orients itself toward glorious sense.”

PS:

As the end credits were rolling, I called upon my baby brother and told him that it was not anything else but the protective streak in me that had made me a bit edgy and although I might be stronger than the strongest substance on earth, when it came to him I was even more permeable than sponge. He smiled angelically and hugged me as I further articulated how much I valued him. He was no stranger to that notion: he had heard it from me a million times before, but I knew I would never tire of it until the day I died and therefore I renewed the sentiment all over again that I loved him immensely, immeasurably and infinitely. He studied me searchingly and ruffled my hair. Observing the confidence in his sparkling eyes I buried in my chest my anxieties and stepped out of the door taking in the breeze and feeling life. My brother, my world, was next to me, and it felt like I was born anew!


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