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A grieving mother, Telly Paretta, is struggling to cope with the loss of her 9-year-old son. She is stunned when her psychiatrist and her husband tell her that she has created eight years of memories of a son she never had. But when she meets the father of one of her son's friends who is having the same experience, Telly embarks on a mission to prove her son's existence and her sanity.
Tonight's tale of woe begins as we find Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) mourning the loss of her son Sam (Christopher Kovaleski). He's been dead for a while now after being involved in a plane crash, but Telly still can't move on with her life. She's invested some time into seeing Dr. Jack Munce (Gary Sinise), a psychologist who is attempting to help her work through these issues. The movie picks up the pace when she returns home from one of these sessions and finds out that her scrapbooks have been cleared of all of the pictures with Sam in them and that all of her home movies have been erased. Thinking that her husband Jim (Anthony Edwards) did this in an attempt to help her forget about their son, she comes unglued and demands a divorce. However, that's when things get a little interesting... we find out that, according to Jim, they never had a son. It seems as though Telly had a miscarriage and is repressing this by creating nine years of memories of the son she never had, and we also find out that Jack knew about this all along and was trying to slowly work her through these memories in order to bring her back to reality. Telly is convinced that these memories are real, and with the help of former hockey player Ash Correll (Dominic West), a man who lost his daughter in the same plane crash, she intends to prove this to everyone. The only problem here is that Ash doesn't even remember having a daughter...
Review by Chad
Added: January 16, 2006
Prior to watching this movie, I had seen a few trailers on television and on various other DVD releases. I'd always thought that it looked mildly interesting, but I've always managed to find something that seemed to be just a tad bit more interesting when rental night rolled around. In these trailers, I saw the general gist of the storyline, which is the same thing that I revealed in the above synopsis. It's a good idea for a storyline, or else, I wouldn't have kept this movie in mind for over a year now. Sadly, the movie takes a step towards the bizarre towards the middle of the running-time, and then manages to completely leap into that realm of the bizarre towards the end. While I'm not going to completely bash the film as so many other critics have, I will say that these revelations did drag the movie down, and quite a bit at that.
Assuming that you, the reader, haven't seen this movie and haven't had it spoiled, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you may have your own ideas about what happens in the ninety minutes featured on this disc. There seems to be two logical conclusions - either Telly is crazy or everyone else is. One of these conclusions would be the typical Hollywood film, and the other would be something that would be damned interesting to see. Although I'm not going to spoil it (though it should be obvious), this movie takes one of those routes with its storyline. With that firmly in place, it's necessary to reveal the details behind how and why this has happened... and that's where things pass that aforementioned bizarre realm and starts to tread into the downright ludicrous territory. Go on, pick whichever one of the above "crazy" routes that you like and attempt to come up with an explanation for it in your mind. I'm still assuming that you haven't seen or spoiled the ending here, and if I am correct in my assumptions, then I can pretty much guarantee that you won't see the twist coming. That's normally a good thing, if the twist makes sense and is reasonable. Here, the twist is... well, it's not too good, if that explains anything about my take on the writing found in this script.
Now, to be fair towards the movie, the twist had some strength behind it. It could have worked out nicely had it been done in the hands of a better writer. However, it falls flat in this movie thanks in large part to far too many unanswered questions throughout the running-time, and with even more thanks to the typical happy ending that seems to be required from Hollywood films these days. Even though I found the movie to be bordering around the average mark towards the middle, this ending left me disgusted, full of questions, and wishing that I hadn't invested my time into this piece of cinema. It makes no sense, and instead of answering questions that the previous eighty-five minutes raised, it merely throws out a few more in order to send the audience home with a smile on their face and a tear in their eye. If that's what you want, be sure to check this out... however, if you're looking for something that will make you think or intrigue you with a well-developed storyline, you may want to look elsewhere.
There's a certain movie that came out back in 1998 that I won't reveal here for reasons that will soon be apparent. This movie wasn't a huge summer blockbuster or anything, but it should be fairly well-known to most sci-fi fans. The Forgotten seemed to borrow heavily from this movie for its twist, and while this idea worked out nicely as the general storyline in said mystery movie, it did not work out too well as the big twist found here. If you do decide to check this film out, I will say that it starts out very nicely and easily grabs your attention. You'll find yourself wondering what's going to happen, you'll become sucked in even as the bizarre revelations unfold, but when the credits start to roll, you'll likely have the same "That's it?" feeling that I walked away with. 4/10.
- added January 16, 2006 at 7:29pm
One thing I forgot to point out in my review. If
you decide to view this movie, make sure to watch
the extended version with the alternate ending
found on the DVD. While the ending is basically
the same as the theatrical version (contrary to
what one would believe from the "alternate" tag),
it answers a few questions that weren't covered in
the original version. It's still not perfect and
it still suffers from the same problems that I
described in my review, but it works out slightly
- added January 17, 2006 at 12:10am
Shit, shit, shit. That is what this film was. I
enjoyed Anthony Edwards and Alfre Woodard, but
everything else was worthless. This has to be one
of the worst films I have ever had the displeasure
of sitting through. Yuck. 2/10.
- added June 12, 2007 at 2:14am
This looked so good in the trailers, but somehow
when stretched into a full length movie they
managed to screw it up. Yeah, watching it I was
fairly certain Id seen this movie a few times in
years before. The "alternate endings" were almost
the same thing but with parts left out of some.
Either you get a sugar sweet happy ending, a
cliffhanger, or a meh.... suppose its over now.
Thin plot that tries to have a big twist ending
that winds up being stupid. Surley its some
strange government experiment or mental disorder
or even an opening of a paranormal gateway in the
universe but no its *spoiler*.......Aliens, just
mucking with people for the hell of it.
- added February 1, 2009 at 7:28am
What was the mystery movie in 1998?
- added February 1, 2009 at 7:36am
I wrote this three years ago - to be perfectly
honest, I don't even remember the twist, much less
what movie I was referencing.
- added July 12, 2010 at 12:59am
Julianne Moore should stay away from lead roles.