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The Forgotten - Preview & US reaction



Preview by: Jack Foley

JULIANNE Moore reportedly stepped into the shoes of Nicole Kidman to appear in The Forgotten, a psychological thriller that is getting very strong word of mouth from America at the moment.

Moore portrays Telly Paretta, who, while undergoing therapy to deal with the loss of her young son, is shocked to suddenly be told, by her therapist, that she never actually had a son, and that she's unconsciously fabricated all her memories.

Aghast, and unable to comprehend the truth any longer, she meets another patient, Dominic West, who claims to be in the same situation, and resolves to investigate the disappearance, in an increasingly desperate bid to uncover the truth.

The script for The Forgotten has been penned by Gerald Di Pego, who also delivered Jennifer Lopez's Angel Eyes, and was quickly snapped up by fledgling Revolution Studios, which reportedly paid seven figures for it - the most expensive spec script purchase to date.

It also co-stars Gary Sinise, Alfre Woodard, Linus Roache and former ER star, Anthony Edwards, and is directed by Joseph Ruben, who was previously responsible for Julia Roberts flick, Sleeping With The Enemy.

He says: "This is a movie about a woman who will do anything to find her lost kid. The only problem is that everyone is telling her she has no kid - that she's had a psychotic breakdown."

Said premise is based around the condition of paramnesia, where people completely invent imaginary lives. But for Moore, such a possibility is unthinkable.

She has commented that 'her reality is her reality' and 'no matter what it is, she doesn't think there's anything wrong with her'.

By teaming up with West's equally disturbed former Rangers hockey player, she hopes to offer some counselling, and the chance to unlock the secrets of her past.

The film is already being touted as a possible Oscar contender for Moore, given the time of its release, and could well have Kidman looking over her shoulder in regret.

It is due to open in the UK on November 26.

US reaction

In spite of its creepy trailer, quality cast and positive advance word, critics in America seemed largely unimpressed with The Forgotten.

Some hailed it to be one of the most compelling thrillers since The Sixth Sense, but most were under-whelmed by what it had to offer.

The Chicago Sun-Times, for instance, stated that 'the movie begins with a premise: A mother remembers her lost son, and everyone she trusts tells her she only imagines she had a son. That's a great story idea. But it's all downhill from there'.

While Entertainment Weekly lamented that 'it's enigmatic in the worst sense, in that every explanation for what's going on holds less water than the last'.

Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, found that 'as the psychological thriller moves steadily into science fiction, the switch in genres is never convincing'.

And the Washington Post found it to be 'an uneasy mix between Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the The X-Files, and one not nearly as smart as either'.

Worse still, the New York Post lamented that it 'devolves into a best-forgotten clone of an utterly illogical X-Files episode'.

But more positive was the Los Angeles Times, which wrote that 'such unabashed ludicrousness can be fun, in a brainless sort of way, especially when it's coupled with lots of sudden defibrillator jolts underscored by crashing cymbals'.

Likewise, the Boston Globe, which opined that 'maybe you'll kick yourself upon leaving the theater, but while the lights are down you're engaged and increasingly, pleasurably thunderstruck'.

And the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which said that 'it struck me as the most exciting and original Hollywood thriller, occult or otherwise, since The Sixth Sense'.

Variety stated: "Perhaps wisely leaves more questions than it answers and for the most part manages to maintain its suspense."

But the New York Daily News reported that 'it has been 17 years since Joseph Ruben last directed a good thriller (The Stepfather), and it may be another 17 if he can't find better material than Gerald Di Pego's script for The Forgotten'.

And the San Francisco Chronicle stated that it 'never comes out from under the weight of its dreariness, despite fine acting, foot chases and conspiracy theories galore'.

The final word, however, goes to Arizona Republic, which concluded: "Now we find out what The X-Files would be like without Mulder and Scully. And it's not good."

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