Julia (Rosario Dawson) couldn’t be happier to be moving in with her fiancé David (Geoff Stults), who she is madly in love with. However, she becomes disheartened when David’s daughter Lily (Isabella Kai Rice) isn’t really warming up to her. Matters are worsened by the fact that David’s ex-wife and Lily’s mother, the meticulously well-organised Tessa (Katherine Heigl), seems to be watchful and critical of her every move. As she sees Julia become more involved with David and Lily, Tessa becomes increasingly possessive and controlling, with devastating consequences.
The film may be called Unforgettable, but you’re likely to start forgetting the film as soon as the credits start rolling. The screenplay is totally ordinary and predictable. It is utterly lacking in anything original or interesting. How someone could pick up a script like this and give it the go ahead without falling asleep in the process of reading it, I have no idea.
If erotic is what you’re looking for, there’s quite a bit of sex in it at least, and while again there’s nothing really new here, at least the scenes are better than the Fifty Shades movies. However, considering the film is being marketed as an erotic thriller, what comes to mind are some of the great examples of the genre over the years, like Basic Instinct, Eyes Wide Shut and Fatal Attraction. Such movies were full of twists and turns and thus really engage audiences. Heck, even not so good ones that ended up developing something of a cult status (Single White Female, to give an example, comes to mind here) were at least able to create a genuinely penetrative sense of unease.
Unforgettable is mainly relying on its casting, which feels appropriate though kind of obvious. While Dawson is the hard-to-dislike, kind-hearted female who is just trying her darn hardest to take care of both David (played by the lovely, safe – again an appropriate casting choice – Stults) and Lily, this movie is clearly Heigl’s, as the marketing around the film has made clear. Heigl has gained something of an ill reputation following issues relating to Grey’s Anatomy (she opted out of the Emmy race in 2009 saying she felt the material she'd received on the show didn't warrant awards consideration, which the producers and writers saw as a jab at them) and Knocked Up, which she commented in a now infamous interview was "a little sexist." She’s had roles since but no hits and it’s clear that she’s hoping for one with this (anyone who has seen her do interviews publicising the film will see her being as sweet as pie). The character she plays here is essentially a b****, but she’s also sympathetic, particularly when we meet the mother who raised her. Maybe this film could be the one that takes Heigl away from the negative associations she has gathered about her, but only time will tell.
In any case, Unforgettable also feels out of date. It tries to make up for that fact by having Tessa use the ever-expansive marvels of the internet to set plans in motion against Julia (who herself doesn’t have a Facebook, in spite of being the online content editor of her company Chapterpad – oh, and working from home, i.e. her computer, once she moves in with David). Again, we’ve seen the dangers of the internet represented before, and certainly in a more compelling way than they are here.
Part of the reason for the film’s feeling out of touch with audiences is that it relies on misunderstanding and distrust between the characters for any kind of narrative tension. All its issues would be resolved simply through a little good old-fashioned communication. But to be honest, at the end of the day, one really couldn’t really care less about whether these characters are communicating or not because everyone is so flat and dull that their fates are really of no concern.
Review by Deirdre Molumby | 16:00 | Thursday 20th April 2017 | Movie Review