Warning: This review contains minor spoilers and plot-developments that must be told if this critique is to be longer than two paragraphs. If you prefer to see this film without knowing any facts (which I recommend) then come back after you have seen the movie.
I have learned from several critics that "The Forgotten" resembles a feature-length "X-Files" episode. I guess this is supposed to be a negative assessment. I don't know, I never watched "X-Files." But I do know "The Forgotten," and I know it isn't a bad movie. Maybe I should start watching "X-Files" reruns if the two are so similar.
It's been 14 months since Telly Paretta's (Julianne Moore) 9-year-old son, Sam (Christopher Kovaleski), died along with nine other kids in a tragic plane crash. Unable to let go of her loss, Telly spends much of every day in Sam's room, going through his photo albums, videos, clothes and toys, all so the memory of Sam will never be forgotten.
Her psychiatrist, Dr. Jack Munce (Gary Sinise), believes she is fabricating much of her past and convinces Telly to limit her trips to Sam's room. Then sadly, one afternoon she discovers that all of the photo albums and videos have been erased. The clothes are not there and no toys can be found. She immediately blames her husband, Jim (Anthony Edwards), who tells her something frightening. When Telly turns to her neighbor, Ash (Dominic West), who has also lost a child in the plane crash, the bad news gets even worse.
It appears that there never was a plane crash. Telly is told there never was a Sam. She had a miscarriage nine years ago and forever since has fabricated the life of a son she never had. Baffled by this revelation confirmed by both Jim and Dr. Munce, Telly wonders how she could have contrived such a vivid dream. Her memories of Sam (shown amply through typical flashbacks) feel real. Is she going insane?
Or is there a conspiracy afoot? How has everyone, including Ash, forgotten about the plane crash; about the kids? Telly's investigation leads to her to believe that supernatural forces may be at play, and someone -- or something -- doesn't want her to know the truth.
"The Forgotten" is a stylish thriller written by Gerald Di Pego who's not so much concerned about the substance of his story but instead the outcome. And for those who haven't seen the dastardly trailers that reveal how characters are "removed" from the story, there is much potential for a good scare or two. Even though I saw it coming I had a good time watching it.
Perhaps the greatest scare comes when Telly and Ash are having a heated discussion on one of their many car rides throughout the city investigating the mysterious happenings. I won't say what happens and I must not go any further in this review. The only way to appreciate this movie is to learn everything about it as it happens, and the trailers and television ads defeat the purpose.
I admire the ending in that little is answered by the character whom in these films is responsible for taking care of whatever the screenplay itself leaves out due to lack of intelligence. This movie allows us to form our own conclusions about the mystery behind the mystery.
"The Forgotten" is on par with Gothika in that neither are great horror films but have certain enjoyable points. Depending on your value of Halle Berry's most recent horror flick is a good indicator of how much interest you might have in "The Forgotten."
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