The Forgotten

06/17/2022 06:44

Film: The Forgotten

Year: 2004

Director: Joseph Ruben

Writer: Gerald Di Pego

Starring: Julianne Moore, Dominic West and Linus Roache



This was a film that I saw in the theater back in high school, twice. The second time was with a couple other people when we had nothing else to do and I enjoyed it that much. I hadn’t seen it since then. This did come up as part of the TPUTS Summer Challenge Series.

Synopsis: after being told that their children never existed, a man and woman soon discover there is a much bigger enemy at work.

We start this off with Telly (Julianne Moore) dealing with her grief of losing her son Sam (Christopher Kovaleski). As viewers, we see her taking items out of a dresser and there is voice-over with Dr. Jack Munce (Gary Sinise). He wants her to do this less and less for progress. We also see that she is married to Jim (Anthony Edwards). She goes back to work since the loss of their child so it does seem she is getting better.

On her way to see Dr. Munce, Telly goes to where she thinks she parked her car. She speaks with a friendly man, Linus Roache, who points out that her car is across the street. There’s another lapse of memory with Dr. Munce where she thought she had coffee, can even taste it, but he points out she declined to have any this session. This is showing how memory can be unreliable, despite how strong our convictions are.

Telly has a freak-out when the next time she goes to the dresser, all the pictures in the album are gone. The tapes are blank and she accuses Jim of removing them. He’s confused as they never had a child. She goes off into the night where she runs into Ash (Dominic West). He is drunk and propositions her. He doesn’t realize that she knows him as their children where friends. He lost his daughter on the same flight that her son died on.

She is still upset with Jim but seeks him out. He doesn’t remember her though. This causes her to go to Ash’s place where she puts him to bed as he is drunk again. While he’s asleep, she removes the wallpaper in his office to reveal the drawings his daughter did. Ash doesn’t remember having a daughter and he calls the police. Oddly enough when they arrive so do agents from the NSA. The detective who takes over this case is Anne Pope (Alfre Woodard) and she becomes concerned seeing the evidence before her. She questions what is going on and seeks out Dr. Munce to help Telly. Ash also remembers that he had a daughter and aids Telly as well. Did they really have children or is the memory they create that strong? Also, who is this friendly man we keep seeing?

Since I kicked off that I really liked this movie after the first couple times I saw it, I was nervous what time would do to it. It had been 17 years in-between viewings and I’ll admit, this is one of the hidden gems I would toss out there despite not seeing if it did still work or not. Where I want to start here for my analysis is that I like the idea of memory here. I learned in psychology that memory isn’t very reliable. That is partly why in courts it doesn’t necessarily hold up. This movie does well in setting up that memory is going to be important with Telly. We get that we her not being able to remember where she parked or if she had coffee. It is also giving us the idea that she might not be reliable.

It is strategic that we see that Sam exists in the beginning. As we go though, we don’t know if she is delusional or not. We’re on her side throughout. While watching this time, I did get vibes of Bunny Lake is Missing except where there we never get to see the little girl, here we do. They do well in playing off like we’re seeing memories that aren’t real.

What is behind this movie is quite interesting. I’m not going to spoil it if you don’t know, but I think the explanation behind it works. It is something that seems plausible to me for sure. There is a heavy creepiness to it and interesting reason as well. That is where I’m going to leave it, but how it all fits together makes sense.

Where I think I should go next would be the acting which is the strongest part. Moore as our lead works. I wouldn’t say it is her best performance, but what I like is that we get this feeling of desperation mixed with determination. Despite what she is told, she is clinging to the idea that she is right and that everyone is trying to convince her otherwise. I believe her even when I’m questioning things. I like West as her counterpart. He brings a bit of sleaze at first, but I like that her belief makes him remember things. He plays a drunk well. Roache is good as this creepy, yet friendly guy who keeps popping up. Sinise, Woodard, Edwards and the rest of the cast are solid. There are cameos throughout of actors and actresses you would recognize as secondary people which I think helps.

The last thing that I need to go over would be the effects. To be honest we don’t get a lot of them and that is in part to the fact that this isn’t that type of movie. It also doesn’t need them. We do get some CGI here. Some of it works. There is something that happens a few times that I think couldn’t be done any better with them. There are a couple of times though that the CGI didn’t hold up. Aside from that, the cinematography was solid.

In conclusion, I think that this movie isn’t as good as I remember it, but that isn’t to say that it is bad. We get a story here that blew me away at first and then after you know, it is interesting to see how different parts fit in. It does have rewatchability to see if you can pick out different things. Exploring memories and how strong they are is interesting to me. The reveal works, even though some of the CGI that does come with it doesn’t necessarily. The acting is strong and the soundtrack fit for what was needed. I would say this is a good movie still and would recommend it for horror and non-horror fans alike.


My Rating: 8 out of 10