It is hard to give a proper review to this movie without a couple spoilers; however, what really spoiled this movie was the director's mishandling of a great idea with a stupid plot.
The Forgotten opens with our victim/heroine Telly (Julianne Moore), who has been mourning the loss of her 9 year old son, Sam, for a little over a year. She obsesses over him daily with visits to his bedroom to thumb through photographs, watch videos, and fawn over mementos. Her husband (Anthony Edwards), who has seemed to move on from the tragedy, is quite patient with his wife’s inability to let go and accept Sam's death. Her shrink, Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise), is trying to convince her that she is delusional, as Sam never existed. He tells Telly that she was once pregnant, but miscarried, and as a reaction to the trauma, she’s fabricating these memories of her lost baby. Then one day, without warning, all of her photos of Sam disappear from the home, as if someone is trying to erase him.
The only person who seems to believe her is her alcoholic neighbor Ash (Dominic West) who also had a child who “died” in the same tragic accident as Sam. Of course he needed Telly to remind him that he had a child to begin with. Here is where things start to fall apart with the movie. We learn that the children’s demises were part of an alien abduction conspiracy and somehow the NSA is involved. True to cinematic form, the Feds do nothing more than show up in unmarked Crown Victorias and Ford Expeditions making inquiries and taking people into custody for “reasons they are not at liberty to discuss”. The local police, led by Alfre Woodard, are trying to make sense of what is being put before them. Sadly, they too do little more than travel from crime scene to crime scene to scratch their heads and say “hrm?”. Watching silently from the shadows is and unnamed stranger (Linus Roache) who seems to have an interest in keeping Telly and Ash from the truth.
Strangely, the movie stayed mildly interesting, even after you learned that you were dealing with an alien abduction and experimentation that didn't involve anal probes or sex with severed bovine parts. Perhaps that is due to Julianne Moore’s reputation as an actress and the believability of her character. I guess when it comes to getting visits from E.T., people seem more apt to believe an educated middle class mother in Brooklyn brownstone than they would be a Capri-pant wearing, trailer dweller in Alabama.
The whole alien abduction, and what happens to people who discover the truth or are otherwise involved in this experiment, is really an absurd idea for a movie that really had potential otherwise. If director Joseph Ruben would have just stuck to the idea of a mother who mourns a made-up child, and did a good job with it, that would have been superb. Instead he takes a really good concept and fucks it up with a really stupid story. Some of the things that occurred in the movie made you laugh because the likelihood of them happening is so remote. Had it not been for the extraordinary cast, the entire movie experience would have been torturous.
This movie is not really bad, but it isn’t that great either. I would have to price this one as a matinee, or better yet, a rental. It’s billed as a psychological thriller, but I wasn’t thrilled. Although there is a psychological aspect to the film, the only one I employed was the suspension of disbelief-- because you will definitely need to do that to get through the film.
Note to guys: This movie can be construed as something of a chick flick. Proceed cautiously.
Czarina's Caustic Comment or Captious Compliment: The Forgotten is somewhat forgettable.
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