The Forgotten

It's pretty impressive to watch how quickly a promising premise turns into complete idiocy during The Forgotten.  Given the atrocious script, it's very odd that somebody like Julianne Moore decided to accept the lead role.  Although she does sometimes make some dubious choices, Moore (Laws of Attraction, The Hours) usually makes better choices.  The only explanation here is that she read the first third of the script and thought, "wow, this could be interesting" then ignored the rest.  Like many other movies, The Forgotten chooses to forgo an interesting, thought-provoking route that would make for a good film, and instead opts for the same route that many other movies take.  Random car chases, explosions, and a stupefying twist at the end substitute for anything meaningful.

Moore is Telly Paretta, a grieving mother.  Her son Sam died fourteen months ago in a plane crash, and she is still profoundly affected.  Her doctor, Jack Munce (Gary Sinise, The Big Bounce, The Human Stain) and her husband Jim (Anthony Edwards, Thunderbirds, Northfork) implore her to move on, but she still spends time looking at Sam's dresser, toys and clothes.  Slowly, odd things begin to happen.  Sam disappears from all of the family pictures.  Scrapbooks containing pictures are now blank.  She lashes out at Jim, who has no idea what is going on.  Munce tells her that she imagined Sam.  Years ago, she suffered a miscarriage, and is still dealing with the aftereffects.

So are Telly's memories real or false?  Up to this point, The Forgotten is interesting.  Then, director Joseph Ruben (Return to Paradise, Money Train) and screenwriter Gerald Di Pego, Angel Eyes, Instinct) effectively ruin things by having Moore look up to the sky and what she sees blatantly foreshadows the end of the film.  Paretta's actions are increasingly bizarre to those around her as she continues to insist that Sam is/was real.  Soon, the National Security Agency is after her.  Yes, the NSA.  She enlists the help of Ash (Dominic West, Mona Lisa Smile, Chicago), the father of one of Sam's friends.  It turns out that he too now remembers having a daughter, yet everybody else claims she never existed.

The Forgotten turns into a bad episode of The X-Files, with Moore and West substituting for Mulder and Scully, without the brains.  After the one bad scene of foreshadowing, it's easy to see where the plot is going, and Ruben and Di Pego do not disappoint in this aspect.  The story becomes increasingly convoluted and full of holes, and there's really no point in following it lest one desires a headache.  The real disappointment is Moore, who is capable of so much more.  The loss she feels at the beginning of the movie is real.  She knows that Sam is real because she feels it.  To juxtapose this with a lame action movie downplays all the emotional aspects in favor of things that go boom.  There are a few cool moments in the film where something relatively unexpected happens (one of which plays in the credits, and the other involves the fates of Alfre Woodard and Linus Roache), but otherwise, The Forgotten should be forgotten.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.

1 hour, 31 minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense thematic material, some violence, and brief language.

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