Unforgettable review: Katherine Heigl returns to the screen for this rather generic psychological thriller where she goes up against Rosario Dawson’s character, a woman who has just moved in with he ex-husband.
Unforgettable review by Paul Heath, April 2017.
As the title card for Unforgettable was projected onto the screen at the beginning of our preview of this new psychological drama from debut director Denise Di Nova, I could only imagine the thoughts of irony going through my fellow critics’ heads as the film played out before us.
Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl lead the cast of Unforgettable, the first directing gig from Denise Di Nova, the super-producer responsible for bringing the likes of Edward Scissorhands, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Heathers, amongst dozens of others to the screen. With those films, and particularly that last title in mind, there’s absolutely nothing to suggest that we’re in for anything less than great with her latest offering. How wrong we all were.
The film revolves around Dawson’s character of Julia Banks, a thirty-something, very successful businesswoman from San Francisco who has seemingly fallen for the man of her dreams. The opening scenes show us a leaving party at her place of work, a lovely cake and a best friend/ business partner who very much doesn’t want her to leave San-Fran for the warm climbs of southern California where said man of said dreams David Connover (Geoff Stults) lives. As she arrives at her new home we discover that David has a young daughter, Lily (Isabella Rice), who shares time between him and his ex-wife; the perfect-looking Tessa Connover (Heigl). Things start out relatively positively with Tessa offering to show Julia around town, sharing her friends and being all-out nice. Those niceties don’t last for long though as Tessa slowly begins to resent the presence of the young, beautiful Julia and jealousy slowly starts to seep in as David’s new girlfriend becomes more and more involved with her and her daughter’s lives. When Tessa uncovers details of Julia’s dark past, she begins to hatch a plan to tear the new couple’s lives apart.
There’s a scene in Unforgettable prior to any of the above happening, one where Julia’s past is presented before us. As interesting as it all is at this early stage, it doesn’t take a genius to piece together the entire plot of the film as those opening credits start to play. In fact, everything was so obvious in terms of set-up in that opening scene that we were all expecting the film to head into an entirely different tangent. No spoilers, but frankly, it does not.
That said, Denise Di Nova manages to deliver some suspense in some of the scenes, but the film can’t quite manage to work out whether it is playing for laughs in terms of black comedy, or completely straight. Some of its success in terms of intensity is owed to the performances of her two leads actresses, notably Heigl who is delivers a deeply disturbing turn as Tessa. The character winds us, the viewer up all the way through, so much so that you’ll find yourselves screaming at the screen at various points throughout, willing for the worst to happen to her. With that in mind, I guess the film succeeds in terms of that aspect. The problem is the rest of it; the plodding story and the rest of its very weak script with cliched plot points and a rather unsatisfactory ending which unfortunately leaves you massively unfulfilled.
Unforgettable is far from terrible, but it’s not a great film either. It’s hard not to see it as merely a slight step up from an episode of a disposable serial TV drama, which is a shame as with a few short plot tweaks and a slightly more polished script, it could have been a totally different film altogether. As it stands – and I am going to say it – it’s completely forgettable.
Unforgettable review by Paul Heath.
Unforgettable opens in UK cinemas on Friday 21st April 2017.