By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
Going into this movie, I was expecting something a little different from what I actually watched. The main trailer for the film comes across more melodramatic and fantastical, like a feature-length soap opera. The preview actually misleads, as the drama and thrills in Unforgettable are actually decently written and executed. Though the climax and conclusion more or less play out as expected, writers Christina Hodson and David Leslie Johnson do manage to put an interesting twist on things during the journey there.
Rosario Dawson stars as Julia Banks, a woman with a troubled past that still continues to haunt her psychologically; though she is trying to put that all behind her. On the brighter side, Julia is now pursuing a new life with fiance David Connover (Geoff Stults) and his little daughter Lily (Isabella Kai Rice). This new life, however, means that Julia must win the trust and affection of her soon-to-be step-daughter and that she must deal with Lily’s mother and David’s ex-wife Tessa (Katherine Heigl). As Julia gets settled into her new home, Lily seems to adjust well to the situation, but Tessa, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to handle the transition as well.
Directed by Denise Di Novi, Unforgettable actually works decently as a psychological thriller with a few surprises. Sure, the screenplay by Hodson and Johnson does have its corny moments, but overall, the intensity, thrills, and shocks work well. Di Novi builds up the tension well and the chess match between the two lead actresses definitely gratifies. Both Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl perform well in their roles in this psychological tug of war with Tessa having a psychological edge over Julia.
Rosario Dawson delivers a poignant performance with a lot of on-screen charm and much heart. The writing and her performance make Julia a highly sympathetic character for whom audiences will root. Katherine Heigl offers a delectably sinister turn as Tessa, a woman with a somewhat troubled past of her own and an obviously difficult childhood. Her character may get ugly and hateful, but the writing and Heigl’s performance earn the character some empathy of her own. The movie also has solid work by Geoff Stults, Isabella Rice, Whitney Cummings, and Marissa Morgan. Cheryl Ladd also makes a welcome appearance as Tessa’s strict and uptight perfectionist mother and delivers a performance that hints a character with a very ugly side.
Because the writing and direction keep this movie well-grounded and not outlandishly over-the-top, Unforgettable has turned out to be a better movie than the trailer promises. Audiences should expect an inventive thriller with a not so inventive finish. Nevertheless, it delivers solid entertainment and thrills and I feel that this movie is certainly worth a matinee trip to the theater or a fine rental when it becomes available in a video format.