“Remember Me” is teen heartthrob Robert Pattinson’s first adult role. This, despite the fact that his best known character “Twilight’s” Edward Cullen, is well over 100 years old. Here he sinks his teeth into the part of a troubled twenty-one year old with daddy issues, a dead brother and a girlfriend he began dating on a dare.
When we first meet Tyler (Pattinson), he’s slumming it in NYC in a crappy apartment with a wrench for a doorknob and a job restocking shelves at The Strand bookstore. “I’m undecided,” he says, “about everything.” His father his wealthy, but since the suicide of his brother Michael their relationship has soured. One night after a bar brawl he is beaten and arrested by Neil Craig (Chris Cooper). In a strange twist of fate Craig’s daughter is in one of Tyler’s classes. They begin to date, at first based on his need to get back at the cop who beat him up, but soon he develops real feelings for her. Their relationship is complicated by Tyler’s issues with his father, his issues with his rage and generally, his issues with everything. Then, just when everything seems to be on the upswing for the young couple, tragedy strikes.
Two “Twilights” worth of brooding lessons has been good training for Pattison, who has brooding down to a science in “Remember Me.” As the tortured Tyler he’s equal parts James Dean, alternative school attitude and thunder, but he does show more range here than he has in the “Twilight” movies. He is thoroughly credible for two thirds of the film, up until the film’s closing moments when his angry young man schtick starts to get a little old. Until then, however, he displays enough chops to suggest he may have a career once he throws off the shackles of Edward Cullen and is allowed to grow as an actor.
His best work comes in the scenes opposite his younger sister Caroline (“Nurse Jackie’s” Ruby Jerins). Jerins is a good natural performer—there’s not an ounce of pretense in her—and their on screen time is filled with warmth and (occasionally) some badly needed levity.
“Remember Me” is a serious movie that begins with a murder and ends with a startling conclusion. In between there is the above mentioned brooding and some dramatic family dynamics at play, but it feels like there is a bit too much story for any one plot thread to be given the film’s full attention. As a result it wanders more than it needs to. A little red pencil action on this script could have easily simplified the story for the better.
Not that any of that will matter. There are a couple of love scenes and a romantic story to keep the Robsessed Twihards interested and if only if only one tenth of his fan base shells out to see it, “Remember Me” will still be a hit.