Retro Review: The Forgotten

What was that?

That is basically what audiences will be saying as they exit the theatre after witnessing director Joseph Ruben’s thriller “The Forgotten” which stars Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore.

Moore stars as Telly Paretta, a grieving mother who is trying to cope with the death of her young son Sam after a horrific plane crash. Telly’s daily ritual of remembering her son, including keeping his room intact, frustrates her husband, Jim (Anthony Edwards). Telly’s long coping sessions with her psychiatrist Dr. Jack Munce (Gary Sinise) also doesn’t seem to be helping.

One day when Telly decides to make a special dinner for her husband she witnesses the most peculiar thing. The Paretta family picture has changed and now it is missing Sam. Telly is horrified and immediately blames Jim for messing with her memories. Is Telly going insane? What would Jim accomplish by fooling his wife? Is there something bigger and more sinister going on?

Director Joseph Ruben of 1991’s “Sleeping with the Enemy” and 1993’s “The Good Son” knows about thrillers and the dynamics that make them work. He also knows how to get performances from his lead actors. It isn’t surprising that Ruben relies a lot on the strength and displayed emotion of Moore. The film relies so heavily on this that she overpowers co-stars Edwards, Sinise and Dominic West. Because she is so powerful it is difficult for the audience to get confused to believe anyone but Moore.

By the end of the 30 minute mark, “The Forgotten” has completely given up on the idea that the lead character is going insane and it practically becomes a given. Then the film falls apart.

What is left is sort of a hybrid between a really spooky and disjointed episode of the “X-Files” and a really awful episode of “The Outer Limits”. Do you remember any episodes of “The Outer Limits”?

The episodes I am referring to are the ones where the stories setup a beautiful premise, give us some intrigue, drop some spooky language and then wrap-up without explaining a single, solitary thing. “The Forgotten” is just one of those episodes except it’s 90-minutes and stars Julianne Moore.

After watching the trailer and really getting excited about seeing this film, the film ended up being just one big tease without the justifiable payoff. Hopefully I will have forgotten about this film by the time you read this.

(1.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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