Julia (Rosario Dawson) is having a tough time re-adjusting to her new life. She's moved away from her friends, put a dark relationship behind her, and started anew with perfect husband David (Geoff Stults). There's just one problem: David's ex-wife Tessa (Katherine Heigl). She's not ready to let go of David and their life together, And she'll go to any lengths to get David back...
The Best Lifetime Movie Lifetime Never Made
You probably already have an opinion on Unforgettable even without seeing it. It occupies a genre that doesn't get a whole lot of respect: the erotic pulp thriller. People often look down on the genre, although we used to get fairly prestigious releases like Basic Instinct back in the day. With Lifetime Channel movies overtaking the genre (and saturating it with less-than-great films), we don't usually give these movies a fair shake or judge them on their own terms. That's a bummer when something like Unforgettable comes along because it's a fun example of what the genre can achieve when you treat it with a little more finesse.
Written by Christina Hodson and directed by Denise Di Novi, Unforgettable embraces its sordid nature and doesn't apologize for it. When it's firing on all cylinders, it's a horror film that doesn't mind getting trashy without losing its class. Granted, there are some inherent issues with the genre. Pacing is often uneven and Unforgettable does suffer from this problem. It doesn't help that the movie has a clichéd opening in a police interrogation room that then flashes back to the real start of the story. It's a structural mistake that sucks some wind out of everything, but the direction and mood keep you invested.
But if Unforgettable has one virtue worth extolling, it's the two lead actresses. Rosario Dawson is so lovable as Julia without making her piteous or weak. She spends the majority of the film in a paranoid state, afraid that her violent ex-boyfriend is going to hunt her down. Dawson brings incredibly sympathy and charm to the role and proves that she's one of Hollywood's most dependable actresses.
And Katherine Heigl? She totally understands the material and plays it like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. Her arch nature is utterly delectable and it's the kind of villainy I wish we saw more of from female characters. Tessa isn't a total cartoon though; her backstory and relationship with her condescending mother (the always wonderful Cheryl Ladd) are tragic but we learn about it in fairly peripheral ways. It would have been great to see some of her past in order to better understand her motives.
And the final climactic showdown between the two is a blast. I was cheering in the theater when they finally got into a knockdown brawl. The violence is a little restrained but there are some great little moments that impacted exactly as they should. The fact that I was so invested in the ending battle goes to show how much I was loving Unforgettable. For a movie like this, that means some seriously good work was being done.
Is Unforgettable Good?
As a piece of pulp entertainment? Absolutely. It hits all the right notes and never stops to make excuses for itself. There are times when the movie dives into stereotypical fare but runs with it and makes it part of the fun. The fact that the two leads are so damn good goes a long way in elevating this above other similar fare and the movie is worth seeing just for them. It's not going to please everybody but fans of these kinds of stories would be doing a disservice by passing it up.