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My comment to my wife after watching the film was "if aliens came to
earth and wanted to know what was meant by the term 'Hollywood
Ending'", then they would just have to watch this film to find out.
As previously mentioned, the first half of the movie is interesting. The often used premise of "what is reality" and the thought that that which you hold as real runs counter to what everything and everyone else around you feels. In many ways it's much like "Jacobs Ladder" in that respect.
The second half really however degrades into what feels like a made for TV SciFi channel one hour series. The ending is truly awful and makes absolutely no sense. I think my wife summed it up best when she said "the ending didn't fit the movie whatsoever, but I liked it anyway because it made me feel good". Yup, I likened the ending to something you'd see in a Star Trek episode, going along interestingly enough, and then the perfect pat ending sprouts up in the last 5 minutes and makes everyone feel good to be human. I didn't mind the "open endedness" of the ending so much as the total sense of non congruency once the pieces are laid out in front of you. It's like getting to the end of the puzzle, and instead of having missing pieces (which you can at least fill in in your head), you have pieces left over from two other seemingly related but different puzzles.
The acting was serviceable, with Julianne Moore turning in a "Riplyesque" performance (whether this is good or bad depends on your perspective) but Gary Sinise basically walks through the movie (while bearing an eerie resemblance to Steve Jobs in the beginning). The other actors move the plot along, but nothing worth saying anything more about.
Oh, this movie has one of the best "jump in your seat" auto scenes ever!
Instead of going into a detailed review of this movie, I would just
like to point out that the DVD of The Forgotten offers the possibility
to view the Theatrical Release or the Extended Version which contains
an alternate ending.
The Extended Version runs 8 minutes longer than the Theatrical version. Basically, the changes consist of 2 scenes that were cut off the Theatrical Release + the alternate ending. If you have not seen this movie yet, GIVE YOURSELF A FAVOR and watch the EXTENDED VERSION. The alternate ending is TOTALLY DIFFERENT and in my humble opinion a lot more in tune with the rest of the movie. I have not seen this movie in theaters and I decided to watch the Extended Version first. I'm glad I did! After the viewing, I decided to check the Theatrical Ending and I can totally understand why many people have talked negatively about the "Hollywood Ending" of The Forgotten. The Extended Version fixes that very well. I cannot understand why this was not the version showed in theaters.
All in all: good acting, good story - 8/10.
Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) is mourning the loss of her son to a
plane crash 14 months ago. One day a couple small memory-related
oddities occur. First she forgets where she parked her car. Later, she
swears she was just drinking a cup of coffee but her psychiatrist says
she wasn't. Soon, this snowballs and her memory of her son is even
challenged. First her husband, then her psychiatrist, then friends say
she never had a son. As if that's not bad enough, she ends up in
trouble with the police. Is Telly going crazy, or is something more
I'm a sucker for stories that throw the main character into some extremely alienating situation where they have to spend most of there time trying to figure out what's going on. Films such as Vertigo (1958), The Matrix (1999), Cube (1997), Saw (2004)--heck, even that television show "John Doe" (2002)are all gems for me. So I was a prime candidate for loving The Forgotten.
Gerald Di Pego's script is stimulating for switching the usual device of amnesia around--instead of a protagonist who can't figure out who they are or how they got somewhere, we have a protagonist who swears they know exactly who they and who their family and friends are, it's just that the relevant other characters can not seem to remember.
The crux of the film is an ever-tightening tension as Telly first works to gain allies, then works with them to solve the mystery. Director Joseph Rubin is excellent with straightforward thriller/mystery material, and shows off extra chops with some of the most memorable "shock" scenes I've come across in a long time. There is an amazingly paced car crash that is sure to jolt most viewers. There is another incident with a car and a person that wonderfully puts the viewer off balance while giving them a clue to the mystery. Some characters are absconded in a bizarre and disturbing way. Rubin also takes clichéd thriller climax material and gives it a fun new spin as he plays with character's powers and reality.
It might throw some viewers off that The Forgotten is just as much a sci-fi film as a thriller. It firmly veers into X-Files territory--much more strongly than you'd ever expect from the first half of the film. This is yet another great example of why it's better to approach films with zero preconceptions/expectations if possible. There is also a romance subplot that always remains visible, but relatively far below the surface. On these more conspicuous levels, The Forgotten is an excellent, enthralling yarn, as long as viewers have a taste for fantasy.
Equally interesting, though, are the more subtextual readings of the film. Di Pego and Rubin have poignant things to say about the nature of memory and its effects on beliefs and behavior. The past doesn't exist substantially; it isn't "alive". Only attentiveness and present intentionality can keep the past alive. It can disappear in a wisp, perhaps never to be regained, the moment that attentiveness and intentionality are gone. Ultimately, the film suggests a balance between obsessively keeping the past alive, which can void the present and even precipitate other dangers (this is even stronger in the alternate ending available on the DVD), and fatalistically taking the fact that the past doesn't exist substantially as a cue to completely neglect it. In the dénouement of The Forgotten, such a balance is rewarded, and leads to hope for the present and future while maintaining a reasoned embrace of the past.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) is a mother who can not forget her nine
years son Sam, who died in a plane crash. When the memory of Sam is
erased from the persons close to her, Telly investigates and finds Ash
Correll (Dominic West), a father who misses his daughter, who died in
the same accident. A further investigation of them shows a kind of
conspiracy with a surprising conclusion.
"The Forgotten" is a good thriller, which recalls X-Files, but the theatrical conclusion is horrible. I was very disappointed with the last fifteen minutes, but the alternate ending in the DVD is better and better and saves the story. I am suspicious to write about the wonderful Julianne Moore, since I am a great fan of her, but she has another excellent performance. It is amazing how beautiful and talented this actress is. The cinematography is excellent, the effects are sometimes very scary and I enjoyed this movie. I could be better with some improvements in the screenplay, but anyway I recommend it to fans of X-Files. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Os Esquecidos" ("The Forgotten")
Telly Paretta is seeing a shrink as therapy for losing her son in a
plane crash, only she never had a son but is convinced she had. All the
people in her life don't remember Sam including her husband. When she
confronts the alcoholic fathers of another child from the flight they
set out to discover the truth and the truth is "out there".
Part X-Files and part Lifetime movie of the week, "The Forgotten" seems to really channel Chris Carter's hit TV show, look it even has a redhead. The story is interesting and Julianne Moore's performance is sincere but you can't help but think that something is missing. The clever twist is good but they could have easily expanded the storyline and made it more "something".
Good but not great, "The Forgotten" seems to lack its own identity due to the derivative nature of the storyline which needed a bit of assistance from Fox Mulder.
Now THIS is what I want from a thriller. I had high hopes for this
movie, and for the most part it delivers. The story grabs you from the
start, and what I like is that nothing is revealed too soon. The movie
pulls you along and keeps things nice and subtle until BAM it hits you
with an uppercut. The pace smooths out and then WHAM, a right hook to
the jaw. Pretty much the same method my mom used to employ to keep me
on my toes.
The big mystery surrounds Telly's son. She clearly remembers him, and she has a difficult time dealing with his apparent death. About a year ago, he boarded a plane that was bound for camp, but the plane was never heard from again. Soon, all evidence of her son's existence begins to disappear. His image has vanished from a picture, photo albums are now empty, and a home video shows nothing but static.
Is somebody trying to mess with Telly's memory? Is her husband (Edwards) in on it? What is her shrink's involvement? Is she crazy, or is it everybody else around her who's lost it? Has Anthony Edwards started to regret leaving ER yet? Or am I confusing him with Julianna Margulies?
When Telly meets up with Ash Correll (West), she realizes that he's forgotten about his daughter, who was also on the plane with her son. It's at this point she's convinced that she isn't crazy, so she seeks to find out exactly what is going on. I love how the characters don't know who they can trust, and neither does the audience. Even characters who are attempting to help must be looked at with suspicion. You are to question everybody at all times!
The acting is very solid. You won't find my name in any Julianne Moore fan clubs (although I was once a member of the Bon Jovi Secret Society), but I have to admit she does a very good job here. And I'd never seen Dominic West before (because I typically avoid snoozers such as Mona Lisa Smile like Richard Simmons avoids women), but I thought he was great. Both characters react in situations exactly like you want them to. They're two distraught parents trying to find out what happened to their children, and they're willing to do what it takes. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll leave it at that.
I definitely recommend you see this at the theater because there are two jump scenes that quite simply have to be seen on the big screen and heard with the best sound system possible. I'm talking two of the better jump scenes I've seen in a while. Stephanie doesn't jump much (even at times when I'm hoppin' like a giddy school girl), but she was even jolted out of her seat. Well, she didn't literally go flying out of her seat like a circus freak, but you know what I mean. One of the scenes caused her to jump and clench my arm. Poor thing hurt her hand on my bicep though.
Comparisons to The X-Files and The Twilight Zone are accurate, but don't listen to the movie snobs claiming it feels like a "mediocre" episode of one of the two. Keep in mind, this isn't the kind of thriller that will have you trying to figure out the plot for days afterward. It's not gonna make you think like Memento, and it's not gonna shock you or disturb you like The Butterfly Effect. It's simply gonna keep you guessing and entertained.
The Forgotten is a solid thriller that delivers a good mystery and some of the best jump scenes I've seen in a while. If you wanna cause yourself heartache and nitpick over some minor plot holes, then go ahead and be a little curmudgeon. But what's the point? Allow yourself to be entertained for an hour and a half. It won't hurt. This is a very good date movie, but guys, do a few reps beforehand because your gal might be grabbing your arm quite a bit, and it's best if that's not an embarrassing situation for you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie deserves a little defending. It's not a classic, but I can't
believe how many people are not looking at what we are presented with.
I'm afraid I make no attempt to avoid spoilers, so be warned.
In the first 20 minutes of the movie we are set up with an interesting story of a woman who is paramnesic, who creates her own memories from fantasies. But as she gets better, she is losing those false memories, and to her it feels as if she is forgetting, or as if someone is stealing away her memories.
It is not spelled out completely, but we know she's wrong a lot. She thinks she remembers parking her car where it isn't, she thinks she remembers putting a pen in her bag that isn't there. Reality is clearly a problem. And then she's confronted with what her condition is, and faced with institutionalisation because she can't come to terms with it.
Thereafter she has a complete break with reality, and she enters into a complete fantasy world involving 'Ash' who correlates her story, 'Ash Correl', a chimera called 'Sheemer', her quest after thin air and a company called 'Quest Air', all created in the style of the X-files, parroting TV. Our heroine's name is Telly Parrota.
We are warned against how the condition works - when Telly remembers, she adds to the memories, they get longer, more detailed. And this is what drives forward the plot as she enters deeper into her fantasy.
Every time she dreams, she re-remembers the last time she saw her son, and the sequence gets longer. She adds new clues that propel her on her journey. She wakes up in a panic and running. It all comes from her dreams.
Like the Matrix series, this movie doesn't explain itself. Like those movies, the character names, costume colours and visual symbols are clues to what's going on. In The Forgotten, we see circles over-obviously placed on screen to indicate (perhaps) the circular trap of her mind, certainly the circles the plot is going in. If you see a big circle on the screen, expect another turn in her psychosis.
Not convinced? The 'aliens' have no spaceships or technology, rather it seems they operate out of the moon, which sucks people out of your life like a scary hand of god - the very feeling of her recovery snatching away 'memories', snatching away her family and friends. You are aware of the aliens because of chattering whispering voices.
The movie underlines how this modern mythology of paranoid conspiracy theories and alien abductions has strong psychological side.
Her psychiatrist enters back into things and plays along, 'cooperating' with the aliens. At last she meets the alien, actually a hypnotherapy's, who offers her her last chance to come back and lead a normal life in the real world. In a very suggestible state, he helps her erase that first false memory, upon which everything was built, the memory of the birth of her son, actually miscarried. But the emotional connection to her fantasy world is too strong. Even if her son was never born, never existed as that little boy, the life was in her, she affirms. Her emotional attachment is too strong for logic to make any inroads - the doctors give up, and she is left in the happiness of her psychosis, a tragedy of a kind. But would she be happier in the real world?
"The Forgotten" is a film that has provoked quite a number of comments
to this forum. Never saw it in its commercial run, but we caught it on
cable a few nights ago. The film, as directed by Joseph Ruben, and
based on Gerard Di Pego's screen treatment has the feeling of a long
Sci-Fi channel offering, or maybe an extended "X Files" episode.
The exposition and prologue to the story are excellent. We watch as a disconsolate mother, Telly Paretta, deals with the possible death of her son Sam, who she last saw boarding a flight, in the company of other children on his way to camp. There are indications that an accident occurred, judging by newspapers clippings Telly has in her hands. She has kept Sam's room as it was when he was alive.
Terry, on the other hand is being told by her psychiatrist that she is delusional. Sam never existed; Sam is a product of her imagination. Yet, Telly never lets go. She continues her search for the young son, but suddenly she is being persecuted by secret service men who want to put a stop to whatever she claims. Telly pays a visit to Ash, who is a father whose daughter was also in the ill fated flight, but she finds a drunk man, slowly killing himself with alcohol. Telly discovers a wall in his apartment that has been wall papered over, but it's clear the daughter painted the walls underneath the paper at one time.
Thus begins the quest in which Telly and Ash embark in their search for the truth. Little do they know what they have gotten into. The director takes us on a ride, that at times, makes a lot of sense, but then, we start questioning what we are seeing. The film is by no means a bad one, it's just the resolution that seems not to make much sense at all, unless we buy the twists and turns that Mr. Di Pego has concocted for us.
Joanne Moore makes an interesting choice for Telly. Ms. Moore, one of our best actress working in films today, is a beautiful presence that makes a credible woman that will not stop until she finds out what happened to her young son. Dominic West, as Ash, is also up to task. Both actors do great work together. The solid supporting cast is also interesting, Gary Sinise, Alfre Woodard, Anthony Edwards and the excellent Linus Roache, who alas, doesn't have anything to do in the film, with the exception of appearing out of nowhere, every now and then.
This is a film for Sci-Fi fans. They certainly will find more in it than the average viewer. The direction by Mr. Ruben is inspired and the different Brooklyn and New York area locations make a good background to the story. James Horner's music score is eerie and compliments the film, as well as the cinematography by Anastas Michos.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Weak Sixth Sense rip off that gives up most of it's cards way too early in the game and just leaves you cold right after it's all said and done. Julianne Moore is such a class act that you don't mind taking the familiar trip with her but at the end, you end up more and less at the same place at where you started. The scenes of people flying in and out of the air is really cool in terms of special effects but the reason for it once you find out is kind of a cop out and very far fetch. The whole conspiracy angle that it tries to play also does not fit the context of the story and ends up confusing more than adding to the story. I will give this movie high marks for the game performances of Julianne Moore, Gary Sinise, Anthony Edwards and Christopher Kovaleski but it's too bad that they did not have a script to support their talent.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
what starts out as an interesting psycho-mystery quickly descends into
the abyss of alien abduction going from the plausible to the absurd.
completely ridiculous. it is entirely possible that one might have a
potentially serious readjustment to the loss of a child (most parents
would agree) and if the story continued along these lines staying in
the realm of the real it might have been an interesting story. what if
telly really had a son and his death traumatized her so much that she
couldn't recover. how would that affect her life and the lives of those
in her circle? that would be an interesting story. what if she never
had a son and for some reason (bump on the head, party hypnosis trick,
former government security agent etc) was supposed to believe she had
one and forgot that she was role playing a mother? that would have been
even if the story drifted into a government conspiracy theory story or a realistic "need to know" movie such as deep impact ((1998) it might have been interesting. as it is, the movie take the viewer on a ride through the interestingly possible and takes a hairpin turn with no road signs while going too fast sending the viewer over the cliff to the rocky shores of a cheap, no-imagination story line with laughable special effects.
though not a julianne moore fan to begin with, she did a believable job in spite of a lagging script. even gary sinise couldn't help this plot go from pot to plausible.
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