'Remember Me' is a story of love, loss and regret. It's about various characters who are stuck in a cycle of pain and constant reminders of their grief and are consumed by a hunger for some sort of retribution, even though payback will never diminish what they feel. On paper this movie sounds sickeningly over-kill, but if you can keep an open mind then it could really surprise you.
The Hawkins family are broken. Since they lost Michael on his 22nd birthday, nobody's life has been the same. His 21-year-old brother Tyler (Pattinson) is angry at the world in general, but particularly his workaholic father, Charles (Brosnan), driving him to drinking binges and street-brawls. His 11-year-old sister Caroline (Jerins) becomes withdrawn and socially awkward, making her ideal fodder for the bullies at her school. Their father acts like he doesn't care about them or their problems, while their long-suffering mother (Olin) tries her best to keep everyone's heads above water, for the sake of getting on with life and working towards something that resembles normality.
The Craig family aren't holding it together much better either. College student Ally (de Ravin) is relatively well-adjusted despite the fact that she saw her mother being murdered as a child, some 10 years beforehand. Now, because she's all he's got, her police sergeant father (Cooper) is overbearingly over-protective of her.
The families' paths are to cross when Tyler gets on the wrong side of Ally's dad during a night out with his slacker roommate Aidan (Ellington), getting himself arrested for mouthing off in the name of justice. That could be the end of the matter but for the fact that Aidan decides that revenge is in order, coming up with a masterplan for Tyler to seduce the cop's daughter and then break her heart. Ally, suspecting nothing, falls for Tyler, his matching broken heart and the sense of loss he also clings on to.
So much of the movie from here on in hangs on a blame game - Tyler blames his father for his brother's death, Sgt Craig blames himself for his wife's murder and poor little Caroline blames herself for her family falling apart. And it is through these difficult storylines that a sense of the characters really develops.
'Remember Me' could have been one of those films that tried to do too much and managed to say nothing at all, but it's not. A strong script and some solid performances carry the drama and it becomes difficult not to become emotionally invested in the intertwined stories of these two scarred families. 'Twilight' phenomenon Robert Pattinson is the surprise package here, ably shifting from angry young man in self-destruct mode to the hero big brother and really getting to grips with the all-consuming grief of his tortured character. And, based on this performance, young star Ruby Jerins (also of 'Nurse Jackie' fame) is one to watch for the future. She is heartbreakingly sincere in what is the very challenging role of a traumatised child, who just can't seem to fit in anywhere. Her interactions with Pattinson, who plays her older brother, make for some of the most touching scenes of the movie. Pierce Brosnan is also stand-out, as their seemingly cold, work-obsessed father, who doesn't really seem to know how to love his own children but is all about saving face.
'Remember Me' is the kind of movie that strikes a chord. Some will, no doubt, find the ending a low point but maybe, just maybe, life is more like that than we would care to admit.