ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Movie Review: The Forgotten (2004)

Updated on October 5, 2013

Director: Joseph Reuben
Cast: Julianne Moore, Dominic West, Anthony Edwards, Gary Sinise, Alfre Woodward, Linus Roache

The Forgotten just might very well be the hardest movie I've ever written about. On the one hand, this is one of the most chillingly atmospheric thrillers of recent memory, and the solid performances ensure that it keeps your attention throughout its unusually short 91 minute running time (86 minutes if you don't count the end credits). On the other hand, the screenplay by Gerald DiPego is filled with so many holes and silly plot turns that it becomes downright maddening at times, especially during the closing moments of the film. There are too many things that work in The Forgotten to fully dismiss it, but once the central mystery finally reveals itself, it's hard not to feel a little let down.

Julianne Moore plays Telly Paretta, a New York City book editor who lost her son in a plane crash 14 months ago. Still mourning the loss of her child, she wakes up one morning to find that every picture and tape recording she had of her son has disappeared. At first, she believes that this is an attempt from her husband Jim (Anthony Edwards) to help her let go, but soon she is informed by her psychiatrist, Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise), that she never had a son. She had a miscarriage, and for the past eight years she has been suffering from a trauma induced hallucination.

Refusing to accept this explanation, Telly tracks down an ex-hockey player named Ash Correll (Dominic West), who lost his daughter on the same plane crash that killed her son. At first, he doesn't remember ever having a daughter, but when Telly forces him to say his daughter's name, he slowly begins to remember. How can two people remember two different children that never existed? Are they both crazy, or is there something far more sinister at work? What do you think?

You ever get the feeling like...you're being watched???
You ever get the feeling like...you're being watched???

The first thirty minutes of The Forgotten are easily its strongest. Director Joseph Ruben subtly drops in little hints that Telly may, in fact, be out of her mind. She wakes up one morning and finds that her car isn't where she remembered parking it. When she visits with her psychiatrist, she seems to have misplaced her cup of coffee, until her doctor tells her she didn't have a cup today. “I can still taste it,” she argues. Ruben does such a successful job at toying with his audience during this portion of the film that when Jim and Dr. Munce tell her that she miscarried her child and has been hallucinating all this time, I was bound to believe it. It's a potentially tragic plot revelation, and Julianne Moore turns in such a heartbreaking and realistic performance that, had the film remained a story of a woman broken by the miscarriage of her child, I wouldn't have mind it. The ingredients were all there.

Of course, Ash eventually remembers his child (in an incredibly haunting scene), and soon the movie goes in a more X-Files like direction. This too, didn't bother me, especially considering there are a number of suspenseful interludes and effective jolts (there is one scene in particular that is bound to make movie goers jump out of their skins) sprinkled throughout the film. It's all very well-made as well. Cinematographer Anastos N. Michos films the movie in frigid blues and grays, giving the film an icy visual polish that is positively spellbinding (the film's opening shot, a bird's eye view of New York, is especially eye-catching). James Horner contributes to the atmosphere with an elegantly eerie musical score, and production designer Bill Groom manages to create a number of memorable and atmospheric sets (the isolated Long Island home; the dilapidated airport hanger; etc).

The performances are also very strong throughout. Moore brings a vulnerability and fierce determination to her role. Dominic West is likable as Telly's sidekick Ash, and is given some of the best lines in the film (When he wakes up one morning, hungover, to find Telly fixing coffee in his apartment, he asks, “Did we get married?”). Linus Roache has a sinister presence as a stranger who follows our heroes around, and Alfre Woodward turns in another solid performance as a friendly cop who wants to help Telly and Ash until she's taken off the case (in a manner of speaking). Sinise and Edwards aren't given a whole lot to do, but they are both commanding actors, and they manage to make the most out of their small roles.

Image from "The Forgotten"
Image from "The Forgotten"

The movie has so much going for it, that it's more than a little frustrating when those glaring plot holes and inconsistencies begin to rear their ugly heads. Thirty minutes into the film, a group of NSA agents are introduced to try and track Telly and Ash down. We assume these agents are working for the beings responsible for everything. They're introduced, chase Telly and Ash around for a time, and are then completely dropped from the movie all together half way through. There's no payoff to the NSA agents, leading one to wonder why DiPego even bothered putting them in the story in the first place.

Eventually, the movie reveals the truth about everything that's happened, and the big revelation leaves too many of the questions raised over the course of the film unanswered. This is especially true of that closing scene at the playground. Can anyone make sense out of it? It's a truly bizarre way to conclude the film, especially when you consider that certain characters (like Telly's husband and the Alfre Woodward character) are completely left out of the equation.

And yet, when the end credits started rolling, I could still feel this movie's spell working on me. The atmosphere is so strong in The Forgotten, and the acting is so good, that not even the film's botched climax was enough to completely cripple it. It's always frustrating to watch a potentially very good movie lose its way in the end, but when the elements that work in a film work as well as they do in The Forgotten, it makes it somewhat easier to forgive it of its failings.

Final Grade: *** (out of ****)



What were your thoughts on this film? :)

1 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of The Forgotten (2004)

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Danielle 

      5 years ago

      Very true Patrick, very true.

    • priley84 profile imageAUTHOR

      priley84 

      5 years ago from Warner Robins, Ga

      oh, it wasn't just the trailers that gave it away. The film's opening shot is a big give away as well. :P

    • profile image

      Danielle 

      5 years ago

      Oh not judgment on your liking it...I know I've had my share of films I've liked that I know you weren't keen on, lol. I think I would have liked the film better if the preview/trailer hadn't given the secret away...though I still don't think it would have been one I would have loved by any means.

    • priley84 profile imageAUTHOR

      priley84 

      5 years ago from Warner Robins, Ga

      I can't say I was too disappointed when I saw the film. I kind of had low expectations going in, so I was surprised that the movie worked as well as it did for me. It's not a movie I would be pushed into defending too much, but I do stand by my opinion and say I thought it was decent for what it was.

    • profile image

      Danielle 

      5 years ago

      I remember when I saw this movie in the theater with some of my friends...they wanted to see it, I told them I didn't but was overruled. You see, just from having seen the trailer I knew/could tell what the conspiracy was and was in no way shocked when the "surprise" was revealed. I was overall disappointed and by the end credits so were all my friends who were expected a totally different type of film.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)