A forgettable Forgotten

Sept. 29, 2004, midnight | By Olivia Bevacqua | 16 years, 3 months ago

The Forgotten is one of those movies that talented actors prefer to forget once they've been paid and the production is done. It's more than just a weak movie with a dumb plot; it's an embarrassment.

Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) is the grieving mother of a dead son. Early on, we see that images of her son have begun to disappear from photographs and home videos. Telly is enraged, convinced that her husband, Jim (Anthony Edwards) has removed all evidence of their son so that she can move on with her life. But Jim and Telly's psychiatrist, Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise) respond to Telly's hysterical accusations by telling her that she is delusional—the photographs were always blank and she never had a son, just a miscarriage that clearly left her emotionally scarred. Up until this point, the movie is actually pretty decent.

And then writer Gerald Di Pego screws it all up by clumsily bringing science fiction into mix, ruining what could have been an absorbing psychological thriller. Telly rejects everything that her shrink tells her, and meets up with Ash (Dominic West), a former hockey player whose daughter died with Telly's son, although his memory gets a little fuzzy on the topic of his daughter—it seems that he too has forgotten about his child.

The movie spirals downhill from there. While there are definitely a few images that spring at the viewer quick enough to make people jump in their seats, these little thrills cannot save a weak plot and a script that becomes laughable by the end.

Telly and Ash embark on a quest to find out what happened to their children, and are chased through New York by federal agents and a mysterious man who looks like he might be something more than a federal agent(hmm).

Telly and Ash seem to know how to get everywhere in New York—they find their way to remote airports and Long Island residences without ever opening a map. Maybe their sound knowledge of places they've never been cancels out the fact that they forgot their children (well, Ash did anyway).

By the time the disappointing climax rolls around, everyone is sick of Telly's incessant whining about her son. We know that she's mourning, but her grief is emphasized ad nauseam, and it's not long before you find yourself thinking that forgetting her son isn't so bad after all.

The Forgotten (89 minutes) is rated PG-13 for violence, profanity and mature themes

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