Release Date: April 21, 2017
Director: Denise Di Novi
Writer: Christina Hodson, David Leslie Johnson
Cast: Rosario Dawson, Katherine Heigl, Geoff Stults, Cheryl Ladd, Whitney Cummings, Robert Wisdom, Simon Kassianides, Jayson Blair, Isabella Kai Rice, Alex Quijano, Marissa Morgan, Aline Elasmar, Kincaid Walker, Leslie A Hughes, Lauren Rose Lewis, Mitch Silpa, Katelyn Kay, Alex Staggs, Robin Hardy, James Augustus Lee, Frederick Keeve, Mia Moore, Wendy Suzann Miller
MPAA Rating: R
Production Company: DiNovi Pictures, Warner Bros.
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Budget: $12,000,000 (estimated)
From the release of the first trailer, Unforgettable appeared to be a forgettable soap opera drama that we’ve all seen before. If you were one to roll your eyes during its marketing, know that you’re weren’t alone. These sentiments were most likely shared across the board, for it seems this story has been told an exaggerated number of times, though here there is the bonus of two prominent stars. Surprisingly, with her directorial debut, Denise Di Novi was able to craft an entertaining film that takes its time to bloom. The performances were as great as they needed to be, with the thrilling sensation of not knowing how it would end. It also contains a cliffhanger ending that leaves you full and satisfied.
Once upon a time it looked as if Tessa Connover (Katherine Heigl) had the life some women would call perfect. A great husband, a beautiful daughter, a large house, and enough money at one’s disposal. In some situations, there’s not too much to complain about there. What’s great about her casting is the director had to pull off the look of a cold-hearted ice queen that you simultaneously felt sorry for at times. Di Novi was able to accomplish this with ease with Heigl. From the first shot I was a bit frightened by Tessa’s stone faced persona as we got to soak in her demeanor. Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson) was the exact opposite in her role, appearing to be a beautiful butterfly you wouldn’t want to harm. Pitting these two against each other was fun, seeing as both had valid reasons to take a noble stance.
Tessa is the ex-wife, while Julia is soon to replace her, and the film teases you as to why the initial marriage didn’t work to begin with. As you’re waiting for that answer, in some cases you sympathize with Tessa’s predicament. A man she loved has moved on, and another woman is taking her place and becoming her daughter’s step-mother. So as an audience member, you’re on the fence on which side you should take, but deep down you know there’s a mystery afoot. Though, while Julia may seem like the perfect angel, she still has a past that may spice things up. Honesty is key, and her decision to not be honest thickens the plot in a unique way. I loved her character and how she patiently waited for the right time to strike, and she knew how to hold her own. It was a difficult situation for her to be in, but she handled it with strength and class.
Films like these have to have a grand payoff that shines towards the end, and in that sense I’d say Unforgettable does. It takes a while to get there, but along the ride, the script constantly brings different appetizers to the table to keep you entertained. The confrontation towards the end of the film is inevitable, and slightly came out of nowhere right at the perfect time. Seeing that Julia and Tessa are becoming sworn enemies that have to share a life, you’re not sure who, or how, one would come out on top. I’d have to say this decision to handle that part of the story was near perfect in its conclusion. What stood out the most was Tessa’s desire to stay in a role that wasn’t hers anymore. She’s beyond crazy and would stop at no lengths to get what she wants. Even if it means killing someone, she’s likely to snap maniacally to get her way.
This film had a few good surprises that you’d never see coming. It’s not completely original as most films aren’t, but it still gives you its own sense of flavor. As far as the plot there was an instance or two where a certain line of dialogue was ignored, which prolonged the flow of things, but overall the writing done by Christina Hodson and David Leslie Johnson was exactly where it needed to be. You could watch this film on repeat, and it is great enough to keep your attention, or have it playing in the background when guests are over. This is all due to the cast putting you in their shoes. I think what would grab most people’s attention is how relatable some of the characters are, but hopefully they wouldn’t take events as far as the characters did.