Movie Review: “Unforgettable”
Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson) has not had great luck with relationships. Her last relationship was with a severely abusive man that left her emotionally traumatized. Now she has fallen for David Connover (Geoff Stults). He is a seemingly perfect guy and he treats Julia well. The two are engaged, but this would not be David's first marriage. David has an ex-wife, Tessa (Katherine Heigl), and a daughter. Both Tessa and David's daughter come across as perfect, but Tessa is not as perfect as she initially seemed.
Julia has moved in with David when his ex-wife drops their daughter off to stay with David and Julia for a few days. Julia does not like having Tessa around, but her and David share a daughter together, so Julia cannot exactly tell David to stop seeing his ex-wife. Thus, she tries to be nice, but Tessa immediately makes things difficult and uncomfortable for Julia by being condescending, hostile and treating Julia as though she is stealing her life. Tessa is clearly not over David. She is manipulative, crazy, and dangerous, and as the next few days go by, Julia must survive Tessa's mind games, which become increasingly hostile.
The Pros & Cons
Rosario Dawson (+6pts)
Katherine Heigl's Character (-6pts)
Katherine Heigl (+5pts)
The Ending (-5pts)
The Fight (+3pts)
The Writing (-10pts)
Pro: Rosario Dawson (+6pts)
Rosario Dawson was easily one of the best parts of this movie. Her performance made this movie watchable, as she delivered the dramatic and charismatic performance that made her character both relatable and interesting. The were a few scenes in which she significantly out performed everyone else in the movie, even though she was not given much to work with. Her character was a bit dumb at times, but she still made the audience care about her character in an otherwise weak movie. It is always an impressive thing to me when an actor or actress' talent can shine through an otherwise bad movie and that was the case with Rosario Dawson in this movie. Bad movies can sometimes hurt a performer's career or reputation, but have no fear, Rosario Dawson will survive this one just fine. I did not like this movie, but I can admit that Rosario Dawson did a great job with her part in it.
Con: Katherine Heigl's Character (-6pts)
Tessa Connover was the centerpiece of this movie. She was the villain, she was the plot, and she was the suspense. This story needed this character to work, but she just did not work for me. There were some scenes in which she was creepy and menacing, but as a whole, she was a one-note villain that was so obvious in her obsession that it took away all of the suspense and all of the uncertainty. A movie like this can only be as good as its antagonist, and Tessa Connover was not a great antagonist.
First there was the lack of development. Tessa was extremely poorly developed, which made for a fairly boring story. It was not that the filmmakers did not try to develop the character, they just did so very poorly. She was cold, and unlikable, which made her uninteresting, so it was weird when the filmmakers spent so much screen-time on her, seeing as how there was nothing complex or compelling about her story. It was also just unrealistic that anyone could believe she was not a psycopath. It was ridiculous that David seemed to not believe Julia for so long. Tessa was very obviously a crazy, dangerous person, so it was frustrating for the writers to keep suggesting that David just did not see it.
Pro: Katherine Heigl (+5pts)
While I thought her character was one of the worst parts of this movie, I actually thought Katherine Heigl did the best she could. She was given a one-note, uninteresting character and added depth to it any way. I am not normally a fan of hers or her movies, but I was actually impressed with her performance in this one. Katherine Heigl mastered "the look" in this movie.
She is not a very intimidating person in real life, but when she would turn on the psychopath look, she made the character feel dangerous and capable of anything. She also consistently turned that look on and off, which only enhanced the craziness of her character. If there was a more well-written character behind her, Katherine Heigl could have made this a very effective antagonist. That unfortunately was not the case, but Katherine Heigl did pretty well with this role.
Con: The Ending (-5pts)
The entire plot of this movie led to a couple of questions. The first: will David see his ex-wife for who she really is? The second: will both Julia and Tessa survive this feud and be able to put all this behind them? I will not be answering either of those questions here, but I will tell you that the ending was pretty anti-climactic. To be more specific, everything after the fight was anti-climactic. The whole movie villified Tessa Connover, but the audience was expected to sympathize with her.
It just did not work. She was clearly a lunatic, and had clearly done horrible things, so I did not buy the scene that was meant to make us sympathize with the character. Then the movie ended with a terrible attempt at a plot twist that audiences will see coming from miles away. The filmmakers just had to leave this door open for a potential sequel, and they sacrificed the ending of this movie in order to do that.
Pro: The Fight (+3pts)
The whole movie led up to a showdown between Julia and Tessa. Audiences will be able to feel the building tension from the first time the two met, and it only built from there. Then there was a whole movie that led up to this fight. The story leading up to it was not great, if I am being totally honest, but I really enjoyed this fight. It felt raw and it felt brutal. Both characters took plenty of hard hits, but gave out just as many. My only complaint was that the fight was too short and ended somewhat abrubtly, but the fight was fun to watch while it was happening.
Con: The Writing (-10pts)
The worst part of the movie by far, was the writing. None of the bad things that happened to Julia would have happened if she had talked to her fiancé. The antagonist seemed to be executing an elaborate plan, while simultaneously seeming to have no plan whatsoever. The filmmakers also handled cell phones in a conveniently ridiculous way, but my list of plot issues could honestly go on and on. My point is that this movie was riddled with plot holes and lazy writing, which made this movie frustrating to watch at times.
Grade: D+ (68pts)
This movie was somewhat of a mess. Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl did the best they could with what they were given, but their best was not enough to save this movie from the awful writing. The main antagonist suffered from very poor development, and ended up being a one-note character that was not interesting to watch. The filmmakers tried to pretend that there was some mystery to the story, but again, the writing ruined the mystery by making the truth way too obvious.
This movie also had an abundance of plot holes and lazy writing. Then to cap all of this off, the movie ended with an anti-climactic finish that did not make up for the poorly written rising action. My impression of this movie was that the writers were like a high school student who forgot about a huge essay, so they stayed up the night before it was due to start and finish the assignment without giving it any real thought. This movie looked like it had potential, but it ended up being a pretty big disappointment for me.