par·am·ne·sia (prm-nzh) n.
– A distortion of memory in which fantasy and objective experience are confused.
Such is the basis of the movie The Forgotten, starring Julianne Moore, Dominic West, Linus Roache and Gary Sinise, and directed by Joseph Ruben (whose previous best movie was 1995’s Money Train).
Moore plays Telly Paretta, a mother who lost her son 14 months ago in a plane crash. She starts noticing things are different – her photos of her son start disappearing, books filled with photos and news clippings are suddenly blank, even a videotape is erased. She is then informed that she is suffering from paramnesia – her son was a still-born child, and she has spent 9 years imagining that she had a son.
In an instant her whole world has changed, everyone has no idea who her son is, or that he ever existed. But Telly knows she had a child, and goes on a mission to find out what the heck is going on.
That is as much as I can tell you – The Forgotten is quite a unique film, since it gets straight to the point. While it maintains suspense right throughout, it never really makes the viewer wait for long before delivering. There are several minor twists throughout, but all are quite obvious. Basically, its just a story about one character (Telly) who is going through a journey of sorts, so it follows her, telling her story, without adding all the little suspenseful things that would make it too much like a Shyamalan film.
Its meat-and-pie film-making – everything in it is necessary to the plot line, its a simple story (even though it does raise a few more questions than it can answer), and its totally entertaining.
If there were 3 things that disappointed me about this film, it would be these:
1) The story answers a lot less than it asks. I was a little disappointed because I felt as though not much got explained in the course of the movie, aside from the obvious facts. I had a lot of questions after seeing The Forgotten, but I’m quite happy to just make up answers for myself. The basic storyline was good enough to make me forget.
2) Inconsistencies in the plot. The Forgotten is a pretty good movie, but it’s lacking when it comes to consistency in what it does explain. For example, a lot of things are brought up (like Ash’s alcoholism) but aren’t explained too clearly (it helped him sleep) – explanations are subtle, but are there (the viewer just sees Ash drinking, then suddenly not drinking). But the film in general would’ve benefitted from a little clarity in that respect.
3) Lack of screen time for great acting talent. Anthony Edwards (of ER fame), Gary Sinise, Alfre Woodard, Linus Roache – all have parts in this film, but share a combined 10 minutes of screen time (OK, maybe a little more, but not much more). A great film uses the acting talents of all involved, and while this film didn’t really have the capacity, they still could’ve done more than they did.
Overall, The Forgotten is a pretty great film – I was certainly pleased that I went to see it, and found it to be entertaining, provocative in parts, and a little scary. I give it a 6 out of 10.