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From left, Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin and Pierce Brosnan in the romantic drama Remember Me.Myles Aronowitz

Remember Me

  • Directed by Allen Coulter
  • Written by Will Fetters
  • Starring Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Chris Cooper, Lena Olin, Tate Ellington, Ruby Jerins and Pierce Brosnan
  • Classification: 14A

The gloomy romantic drama Remember Me, starring and produced by Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame, tries earnestly to stir us with its story of young love in New York in the summer of 2001.

But director Allen Coulter ( Hollywoodland) never convincingly ignites the romance - a truly obnoxious roommate character doesn't help - and the film gets bogged down by plot points that plod toward an event of devastating proportions.

Tyler (Pattinson in top brooding form) is a grimy, chain-smoking bookstore clerk. This mixed-up pretty boy audits college classes, having, at least temporarily, spurned the silver spoon held at arm's length by his Wall Street lawyer father (Pierce Brosnan in a fine, chilly performance). He's about to turn 22, the age his older brother was when he hanged himself just after starting a job at their father's firm. This makes Tyler do a lot of smoking, notebook scribbling and staring out of windows in profile, thinking deep thoughts.

His bordering-on-lethargic demeanour - which lasts throughout the story - hits the flipside only when he's ticked off, and then he rants or gets physical. We get our first taste when roommate Aidan (Tate Ellington) drags Tyler out for a night on the town and Tyler lays into some guys who are hassling a couple of musicians (Tyler's brother was a musician, see?). The investigating cop (Chris Cooper) doesn't like Tyler's righteous temper, so roughs him up and throws him in jail for the night.

Turns out the cop's daughter Ally (Aussie Emilie de Ravin from TV's Lost) is in one of Tyler's classes. Aidan goads him into asking her out, suggesting that he romance her then ditch her as a way of getting back at the cop. This is one of the lamest suggestions you'll ever hear in a movie. Of course, it relates to a later conflict, but that conflict could have worked just as well without it.

At the beginning of the film, we learn that Ally witnessed the fatal shooting of her mother when she was a kid. We are meant to believe that the shared experience of personal loss is the root of the couple's connection, and that their blossoming romance provides escape, healing, inspiration. But that vibe isn't achieved. In fact, the romantic story feels kind of stretched out.

More lively are the father-issue subplots at play here. Ally's new relationship triggers a fight with her father, who strikes her. She moves out. Tyler's father is icily uninterested in his awkward 11-year-old daughter Caroline, a prodigy artist. Need I mention that Tyler loathes his dad?

Tyler's most attractive trait is his devotion to his sister, who endures a series of humiliations. Tyler lashes out when his father skips Caroline's art show, but saves his most ape-like behaviour for the classmate who pranks her. Not cool.

Remember Me could have been a decent family drama, especially considering its setting, but that was not to be. Too bad, because the romance is highly forgettable.

Special to The Globe and Mail