Unforgettable (2017)

  • Time: 100 min
  • Genre: Drama | Thriller
  • Director: Denise Di Novi
  • Cast: Rosario Dawson, Katherine Heigl, Cheryl Ladd, Geoff Stults

Storyline:

Tessa Connover (Katherine Heigl) is barely coping with the end of her marriage when her ex-husband, David, becomes happily engaged to Julia (Rosario Dawson). Trying to settle into her new role as a wife and a stepmother, Julia believes she has finally met the man of her dreams, the man who can help her put her own troubled past behind her. Tessa’s jealousy takes a pathological turn, and she will stop at nothing to turn Julia’s dream into the ultimate nightmare.

2 reviews

  • “I’m done with crazy.” So quips the trouper of David Connover from 2017’s Unforgettable (my latest review). Me, well I’m not done with kitschy, dramatic thrillers because I go back to them every chance I get. It’s a sickness and a darkened room escape I tell you.

    Taking place in Northern and Southern California, Unforgettable is slick, trashy, lacks artistic value, and provides guilty pleasure entertainment. If you’ve seen the trailer, you don’t need to be a genius to figure out what’s gonna happen over the next 100 minutes (Unforgettable’s lively running time). Similar yet restrained compared to Obsessed, Swimfan, 1992’s Unlawful Entry, The Perfect Guy, and 2015’s The Boy Next Door, Unforgettable is sadly my kind of contrite, film scanning. Call it a cinematic love-hate relationship for the viewer. Call it a stock, agitation-filled train wreck that you can’t look away from.

    Now Unforgettable despite a minor twist and some decent performances, still comes off as predictable with a sort of hooey ending. Watching it, you feel one step ahead of everyone and the foreseeable actions they partake in. Oh well. Director Denise Di Novi does manage to create a little tension and for much of the way, Unforgettable masks itself as a nasty, manipulative ride. Heck, you’ll never look at Facebook, online chatting, or a hair brush the same way again.

    The story is as follows: Julia Banks (played by Rosario Dawson) and David Connover (played by a low key Geoff Stults), are about to be engaged. David also has a child with his ex-wife, Tessa (played by Katherine Heigl). Julia and David’s engagement doesn’t sit well with deranged, unstable Tessa. She literally lives right next to the future spouses and looks to make Julia’s life a living hell. There are murders, a framing of a murder, legendary cat-fights, and gerrymandering of today’s social media (cell phones, cell phone photos, and the aforementioned Facebook). Heigl’s Tessa is everywhere, looking as though there are holograms made for her.

    Zuckerberg’s creation and batsh*t craziness aside, if you’ve seen the movies mentioned earlier in this review, you’ll know that Unforgettable is familiar stuff. The thing that helps it become almost recommendable is the acting of Dawson and Heigl. They rise above the material presented, throwing themselves into character and giving nerve ending turns. I’ll give Heigl and Dawson a rating of three stars and every other element in Unforgettable two. My overall rating: 2 and a half stars. Unforgettable isn’t entirely “forgettable” but compared to something like the superior Fatal Attraction (I almost forgot about that flick), it’s second tier and not that “compatible”. My advice for Dawson’s Banks from the first half hour of Unforgettable was this: Get out of the inevitably bad situation woman! It’s real simple.

    Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

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  • A glossy thriller that almost plays like a parody of the guilty pleasure psychosexual dramas of the Eighties and Nineties, Unforgettable is a tale of two stories – one serious, the other borderline camp – that somehow manages to work despite itself.

    The serious is embodied by Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson), seen at the start leaving her job as a writer for a website in order to embark upon her new life with fiance David (Geoff Stults), a former Wall Street shark turned brewery owner. Julia carries a great deal of baggage with her – the daughter of a neglectful mother and alcoholic father, she’s also recovering from an abusive relationship with her ex-boyfriend Michael (Simon Kassianides). Her insecurities surge to the forefront as she steps into the life that was once Tessa’s.

    Tessa is David’s ex-wife, a statuesque platinum blonde played to icy, crazed perfection by Katherine Heigl. Tessa is a controlling and possessive perfectionist, groomed to within an inch of her life, and recovering from the dissolution of her seemingly perfect marriage. The two women do their best to civil, not just for the sake of David, but for the sake of young Lily (Isabella Kai Rice), whose custody is shared between David and Tessa. It’s a period of adjustment that’s all too relatable and, though Tessa is obviously the villain, the film affords her some sympathy before she goes into full-on woman scorned mode.

    Indeed, as wonderfully warm and sympathetic as Dawson renders Julia, it’s difficult not to delight in Tessa’s ludicrous machinations, which range from the minor (undermining Julia’s parenting abilities, stealing her engagement ring) to the major (creating a fake Facebook account as Julia so she can reach out to Michael). The high point of her insanity? It may be a toss-up between Tessa masturbating during one of the increasingly sexual online chats with Michael and deliberately falling down the stairs and telling David that Julia pushed her. Oh, and Tessa also frames Julia for murder. It’s all utter nonsense and yet so enjoyably watchable.

    Despite the inherent silliness, producer Denise Di Novi, making her feature film directorial debut, does elevate the material with fine production values and a keen eye for seeking out the insightful observations about human nature in Christina Hodson’s screenplay. Persona this most definitely is not, but Unforgettable in its own way explores how identity and image can lead to a type of insanity. Though the two are ostensibly fighting over a man, as Julia herself notes, “it’s not about David” (which may go a long way in explaining the blandness of the character and Stults’ performance). Yes, it’s about the ultimate showdown between the two women, but it’s also about how insecurity and jealousy can scramble the senses.

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