There is a moment, about two-thirds of the way through Remember Me, when a glaring detail grabs the eyeball and will not let go. Robert Pattinson (in the role of Tyler, our brooding, notebook-scribbling, bicycling-emotionally-through-the-rain protagomope) stumbles broodily down the hall to his bedroom wearing—no, not regular pants—the biggest, baggiest, droopiest, lumpiest, Elephant-Manniest, cargoiest cargo pants in the history of disgusting pants and international freight. It jars the mind. Up until this moment, Tyler has been otherwise hot. WHY is he wearing those saggy thigh-diapers? What year does he think it is? Who hired my college RA to do the costume design for this movie? WHAT YEAR IS IT? THOSE CARGO PANTS MAKE ME WANT TO FUCKING LA-LA.
Little did I know, all was to become clear.
Remember Me is a movie about the love-shaped holes that death leaves in our lives, and how we fill them with anger and jokes and alcohol and sex and more death. Tyler, a New York college student still reeling from his older brother’s suicide, meets Ally (Emilie de Ravin, better known as Claaaayah “MOI BAYBEE!” Peanutbuttah on Lost), who is still reeling from her mother’s horrific murder. Meanwhile, he struggles with a brutally distant dad and an oddball little sis; she struggles with an angry cop dad and a propensity for saying annoying shit. They have sex. They cling to each other. They love each other soooooo much.
Despite being emotionally overwrought to the brink of silliness, the film maintains an irresistible modicum of charm—thanks to a wry naturalism in the dialogue, some top-shelf banter, and Pattinson’s preternatural understanding of his angles. I was willing to go with it. I was there.
Remember Me puts its characters (and its audience) through an absurd amount of trauma. There are beatings, arrests, lies, betrayals, heartbreaking moments of bullying, domestic assaults, near-murders, breakups, makeups, tears, hot sexings, apologies, and apologies accepted. At the end of the movie, once everyone’s gone from the meat grinder to the, um, Chicken McNugget meat reconstitution machine and back again, the weather FINALLY breaks. Things are looking up. This is just great. I feel great. Do you feel great?
Two hours have passed. Tyler and Ally say “I love you” for the first time. Ally is smiling and making French toast. Tyler is waiting for his dad (whose heart has finally defrosted) in his high-rise office. The little sister, her tormentors cowed at last, sits contentedly in class. Tyler gazes out the office window at the sunny horizon. The little sister’s teacher moves aside to reveal the date written on the blackboard.
It is September 11, 2001. The camera pulls back. Tyler, in 2001’s hottest cargo pants, stands framed in the window of the fucking World Trade Center. History’s most famous plane crashes right into Tyler’s stupid face.
Hey, movie! You tortured me. For two hours. FOR THIS? For a cheap September 11 thingy? You might as well have ended with “And it was all a dreeeeeam!!!” I am never going to the movies again.
Wait, what I meant to say was HAHAAHAHAAHAHAHAAAAA. Fuck off.