The Forgotten should be used to give mainstream Hollywood an ultimatum. Except for very special cases, the twist ending needs to be completely done away with. M. Night Shyamalan should forever be looked down upon for bringing this about with The Sixth Sense. Ever since that movie, it seems like every screenwriter has felt they need to throw their audience for a loop, no matter how out of place it is and how little sense it makes in the context of the rest of the movie.
Because of the twisty nature of the plot, it is unfair to reveal much. But very briefly, Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) has lost her young son, Sam, in a plane crash, and a year later, is still coping with the loss. She starts having strange memory lapses, which eventually culminate in her husband Jim (Anthony Edwards) and her therapist Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise) telling her Sam never actually existed, and all memories of him are made up. Telly eventually meets up with Ash (Dominic West), a former hockey player who also has memories of his daughter dying in the same plane crash. Of course, all is not as it seems. The exact details are for the unsuspecting viewer to both find out and be very disappointed by.
Back to the ending, which is all one can really think about upon exiting this film. It is really a shame, because the first 45 minutes of The Forgotten are rock solid. It manages to build up a nice creepy Twilight Zone vibe, and has at least two genuinely shocking moments. There is a certain point, and everyone who has seen this movie probably knows exactly when this is, where everything starts to go haywire. Things take a bizarre turn into X-Files territory, and the viewer is left with the feeling that screenwriter Gerald Di Pego wrote himself into a corner, and he could not find his way out.
He is not helped by how everyone in the movie besides Julianne Moore seems to be completely phoning in their performance. Moore belongs in a better movie.
Her single-minded, haunting portrayal of a mother looking for her son should have been surrounded by more solid support.
Ultimately, the only thing that matters is the utter absurdity that ends this film. And if a completely nonsensical, inadequately-explained finale isn’t enough, Di Pego had the nerve to try and tack on a completely unfitting happy ending to the precedings. The last five minutes of this movie reeks of reshoots, when in reality, they should have just started the whole script over.
Chuck DelRoss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.