The Forgotten (2004)
Where's The Memory Wiper
Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) is a woman in grief, it has been 14 months since her son was killed in a plane crash or was he? You see everyone else including her husband Jim (Anthony Edwards) and therapist Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise) say that their son never existed and this story of Sam dying in a plane crash is her way of dealing with a miscarriage, the loss of what might have been. With Telly becoming not only more convinced about her son's existence but also more forgetful Dr. Munce feels that Telly shout be committed to a hospital, something which causes her to go on the run and to her neighbour Ash (Dominic West) who she is convinced lost a daughter in the same plane crash but says he never had a child. But then something causes Ash to remember and together they go seeking answers. The question is what answers will they find?
Utterly disappointed is how I feel about "The Forgotten" and for more reasons that many other reviewers have gone into. But firstly "The Forgotten" could have been a really clever movie which gives us a character that we begin to question not only whether her son existed but whether the events which unfold are figments of her imagination, embellishments to allow her to deal with a miscarriage and what might have been. Now that is a movie I would like to watch and in fact have come close to seeing in the made for TV movie "Invisible Child".
Anyway why am I so disappointed by "The Forgotten"? Well there is the set up and it is a good set up as we have the character of Telly who is convinced she had a son but everyone says there was no son. It throws enough at us to make us question what the truth is as on one hand you have Telly who appears to have relapses in memory, forgetting where she parked the car and so on. Yet then you begin to question whether they are relapses or whether someone is intentionally screwing with her, trying to make her accept there was no son through removing photos from cherished albums and wiping home videos. For a brief minute it grabs your interest yet it is all incredibly Hollywood with Julianne Moore delivering the Hollywood version of a grieving mum who is on the edge of sanity. It may make it entertaining but fails to convince that here was a woman dealing with loss and the denial of others over a child's existence.
And then there is how the movie plays out and as I said a clever movie would lead us down the path of questioning whether everything we see is a coping mechanism, a figment of Telly's imagination which is spiralling out of control in a desperate bid to deal with a tragedy. Instead it just leads us down the garden path into the world of la la. Yes I know that "The Forgotten" a long with being a drama and mystery is a sci-fi movie but man does it take a huge side step into another reality, quite literally. And heck they even manage to deliver a cheese ball ending to boot involving a park. Maybe for those who watched because they heard of the sci-fi aspect it will work but for those drawn by the first half of the movie will find it hard going.
Now I will say it again, "The Forgotten" is Hollywood from start to finish with a nice Hollywood cast delivering solid performances with Julianne Moore delivering a character who is attractive enough on various levels to draw you in. But what we get is the Hollywood version of emotional, of paranoia, of depressed and of strange and whilst for some it is what they want it lets the movie down and removes the depth which could have made it fantastic.
What this all boils down to is that "The Forgotten" didn't do it for me and will be one of those movies I will try to forget. It is sadly a case that what the movie starts out as is not how it ends and takes a huge side step to deliver a fantasy second half which might appeal to some but didn't appeal to me.
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