When Disaster Opens Our Eyes
I picked up a movie during the summer at a local Blockbuster with my sister. I remember looking at the “Top 20 Most Recent and Viewed Rentals.” Normally, I hate chick flicks, but I was drawn to “Remember Me.” It wasn’t to drool over Robert Pattison like most girls do when watching “Twilight,” but instead, to see him act as someone other than a pasty, white, sparkling vampire. My sister and I usually don’t agree on the movies we want to watch, but I knew she liked chick flicks, so she hurriedly agreed.
I read the synopsis on the back, which described the movie as:
“A romantic drama set in New York City during the summer of 2001, where Tyler, a rebellious young man, meets Ally through a twist of fate. Her spirit helps him heal after a family tragedy, though soon the circumstances that brought them together threaten to tear them apart.”
I remember wondering why this movie was set so long ago, but I just shrugged it off thinking it was to give the movie a different scene from the new releases.
In the movie, Tyler as Robert Pattison, has a bad relationship with his successful father, who seemed only interested in his business. With the help of Ally, Tyler comes to realize that his anger was a result of blindness. Blindness to the fact of how much his father really cared for his kids, but was just too stubborn to show it.
Near the end of the movie, Tyler decides to visit his father at work and apologize for his own ignorance that caused the family divide. Tyler’s dad isn’t in his office at the time, so Tyler decides to wait until his father comes. The camera shows Tyler standing near the windows of his office and zooms out to show the towering building of where Tyler’s father works, with Tyler on the highest floor, looking down into the city streets.
The scene changes to a different setting with Tyler’s younger sister sitting in a classroom. The camera changes to the teacher slowly writing the date on the blackboard: September 11th, 2001.
My heart became heavy, my head was pounding, and in that moment, it all hit me: It’s 9/11…this is New York…this is the day terrorists hijacked planes and crashed them into OUR Twin Towers and Pentagon and killed many…Tyler’s dad works in the Twin Towers…Tyler’s going to die. I don’t know how to describe the feeling I had, but it wasn’t a good one. I felt ashamed, maybe even embarrassed, for having forgotten such a devastating and life-changing event. I was asking myself, “How could I be so stupid…so ignorant. Why didn’t I realize when reading the synopsis that “New York City” and “2001” should instantly remind me of 9/11.” My eyes were opened.
Rebecca Solnit in her article, “The Uses of Disaster,” describes the selfish, independent individuals of today’s society. We have the notion of “privatization,” until disaster strikes. Solnit states:
“Disaster makes it clear that our interdependence is not only an inescapable fact but a fact worth celebrating.”
We come together during disaster to help each other out, and we become a “community” of people working together because these events “undo the loneliness of everyday life.” However, after some time, we go back to the daily ritual of this lonely life, and we become the same private individual as before.
“We will never forget” was so powerful and strong before…but what happens when we do? I was reminded from watching a movie that I thought would be a usual, boring chick flick. This movie instantly became one of my favorites because of the its powerful impact on making me realize how easily we forget until something’s there to remind us.