When This You See

Disclaimer: I assume this is going to be controversial, because it involves me discussing 9/11. This also contains major spoilers for the movie Remember Me.

I saw Remember Me last weekend. Yesterday, I was curious, so I began to check out the reviews it received. I found one review that said Remember Me was slow, offensive, and manipulated the viewer. This seems a bit harsh.

I like slow movies, so I cannot really respond to the first.

Regarding the manipulation, though, I thought movies were supposed to manipulate the viewer in some way. If you don’t get pulled into the story and taken for a ride, what’s the point? I think the reviewer was responding to the surprise ending, which wasn’t actually a surprise at all, because you knew right from the start that the movie took place in New York City in 2001.

However, it seems like a great majority of reviews I have seen and read repeat this sentiment, accusing the movie of being manipulative and breaking the viewer’s trust. I assume this is because it is not promoted as a 9/11 movie. The thing is, it’s not really a “9/11 movie.” It’s a movie about tragedy and how people cope with it. It could have been any tragedy, at any time and any place, and that’s the point.

What would have been offensive would be if, given the setting and time period, they didn’t include the events of 9/11 in some way.

People died in the attack on the World Trade Center – people with their own personal histories, families, back stories, joys and tragedies. Is it exploitation to create fictional characters who were affected by 9/11? I just don’t think so. Historical fiction as a genre does this all the time. It is the emotional portrayal that makes historical fiction universally appealing. The problem, really, is what is the statute of limitations on something being considered historical? Is it just too soon to view 9/11 as a historical event?

The movie is touted as a romance, but it isn’t really.[1] It’s a film about loss and acceptance. People react differently to tragedies, which the movie thoroughly demonstrates, but ultimately, I think the purpose is to show that even after the most horrible of circumstances, people can continue living and breathing all the while continuing to remember.[2] Acceptance is one of the most difficult things for human beings to accomplish emotionally, and the end of the movie gives the viewer hope in that direction.

The last few scenes of the movie are supposed to reveal the way that Tyler had left his fingerprints on the lives of the people who loved him. I don’t care what the reviewers say, continuing to live and not crumble in the aftermath of loss is an important theme for a film to portray.

Note: Not all reviews/reactions have been bad. I agree with what is expressed here.  Oh, and I don’t know a darn thing about acting, so I’m not going to comment on that aspect of the reviews. Personally, I thought Robert Pattinson wasn’t perfect but gave Tyler’s character some depth, and never for a moment did I think I was watching Edward Cullen.



[1]That’s the fault of the studio, not the film itself.
[2]And, what do you know? That’s the title of the movie. Funny how that works.

2 thoughts on “When This You See

  1. Awesome review – your sentiments echo mine exactly, and thanks for the link to the Newsweek article. It absolutely made me tear up.

    I think for many people it might be too soon, but my concern is that people right now are simply paying lip-service to 9/11 anymore.

    There is also the issue about who “controls” the tragedy. Honestly, I’ve seen tragedy reproduced in other works of art with little anger (Gus van Sant’s Elephant) – even when that film is ENTIRELY about the tragedy.

    It makes me think it has something to do with either A.) Robert Pattinson being the lead actor or B.) The college-romance-drama factor.

    The studio did seem to drop the ball in marketing this piece. :\

    • Thank you so much!

      The fact that these reviewers are complaining so much about the use of 9/11 in the film just seems to further the very exploitation they’re complaining about. Ugh.

      I definitely agree, there seems to be an anti-Robert Pattinson bandwagon. People mock him for playing a teen vampire, but then they won’t give him a fair shot at being in an adult role.

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