" The plane, where’s its mommy? "
— Anne Heche, Six Days Seven Nights

MRQE Top Critic

Beauty and the Beast

Diamond edition adds to a top-notch film —Andrea Birgers (DVD review...)

Beauty and the Beast fall for each other

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TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation ended almost a decade ago, which is too bad for screenwriter Gerald Di Pego, whose The Forgotten, with some improvements in tone and philosophy, would have made a good hour-long episode. In the feature film directed by Joseph Ruben, the story is the weakest link.

I Remember Mama

Moore's character has only one note
Moore’s character has only one note

Telly Peretta (Julianne Moore) lost her son in a plane crash 14 months ago — she could even tell you how many days, hours, and minutes if you wanted to know. Her husband (Anthony Edwards) and her therapist (Gary Sinise) try to help her cope.

But when they start altering old photographs and erasing home videos to pretend little Sam never existed, they have moved beyond therapy into cruelty, thinks Telly. But they both seem so convinced that Sam didn’t exist that we have to wonder if maybe he didn’t. Maybe, like they say, the miscarriage was so traumatic that she invented her son Sam

A third explanation reveals itself when she strikes up a conversation with her swarthy neighbor Ash (Dominic West), a former hockey player whose daughter used to play with Sam. (Minor spoiler alert: skip to the next section unless you’ve seen the trailer.) He too says that Sam never existed, and neither did his daughter, but at least he’s nice about it — an appropriate reaction by a lonely man approached by Julianne Moore. Ash drinks, and he passes out while Telly is still in his apartment. She takes the opportunity to snoop and discovers evidence that his den was once a little girl’s bedroom.

The next morning she tries to convince Ash that he is a father, and that his daughter is dead. He maintains that the girly decorations were from a previous tenant. Ash calls the cops, who remove Telly from his apartment. But before they can get Telly into their cruiser, federal agents — yes, the Feds — arrive to take her in to custody. Obviously, she Knows Too Much.

By now, the movie has dug itself in so deep that it will require a huge, ridiculous conspiracy to wrap things up. And indeed, although the ending has a few “surprises,” the ending offers no surprises in this department.

Craftsmanship

The Forgotten is not a complete loss. The movie looks slick, and the sound design is excellent, setting a tense, dark mood. Twice the movie made me jump in my seat. Moore is a good actor, although her panicked-mother melody only has one note. Sinise is finally looking mature enough to be comfortable just about any role he takes. And West, whose previous film was Mona Lisa Smile, is the big surprise of The Forgotten. He’s an actor who doesn’t let his handsome features do all the talking, even though he probably could.

But all the competent craftsmanship in The Forgotten can’t make up for a script that is essentially no more than a sci-fi TV episode, and it’s not worth the price of a movie ticket — or more than 60 minutes of your time.