UNFORGETTABLE (2017) – SUSPENSE THRILLER FILM REVIEW

 

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By Melissa Antoinette Garza

 

Nothing draws me in more than when a film’s antagonist is an obsessive nut-job.  They’re a guilty pleasure that are without question, chick-flicks.  I’m grateful to my husband for agreeing to take me as I really wanted to see this one.

First, I like Katherine Heigl.  I think she’s a fantastic actress with a lot of range.  The only reason she hasn’t obtained more recognition is because she’s not a doormat.  Over the last decade, she has gotten a lot of bad press, mostly rooting from the film KNOCKED UP (2007).  She was honest in an interview and said her role was written in a sexist way.  Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen being the thin-skinned SJW versions of frat boys decided to go public trashing her and making it difficult for her to get roles.  Apatow is of the mindset that he can call everyone else out for micro-aggressions, but if anyone accuses him of being less-than progressive, he will scorn, embarrass and ruin them.

In many ways, this was Heigl’s comeback role.  Unfortunately, this style of movies typically doesn’t fare too well in cinemas and may not receive the acknowledgement it deserves until it’s streaming or on DVD.

UNFORGETTABLE (2017) begins as Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson) moves in with her fiancé David (Geoff Stults).  Prior to David, she was physically abused by her ex and still has a lot of emotional scars from it.  She hasn’t told David and only her closest friends are aware.

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When she moves in, David’s ex-wife Tessa (Katherine Heigl) comes over with her and David’s daughter Lily (Isabella Kai Rice).  Tessa is all smiles, but it’s easy to see she’s wound up very tight.

As the movie progresses and as Lily gets more comfortable with Julia, Tessa gets more and more obsessed.  She travels to insane lengths to ruin David and Julia’s relationship even involving Julia’s abusive ex in her plan.  She pulls so many stunts, that David begins to think Julia is the crazy one and Tessa is just a concerned mother.

In the end, it comes down to a massive showdown between the two women, who are both ready to fight to the death for David and Lily.

There is something that feeds into my female brain when a film casts strong talented women in both the protagonist and antagonist roles.  The dynamic is always interesting and entertaining.  Whether SINGLE WHITE FEMALE (1992), THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE (1992) or OBSESSED (2009) these suspense thrillers are always a treat.

UNFORGETTABLE was directed by Denise Di Novi and written by Christina Hodson.  Having two women at the helm of this story assists in ensuring the believability of both characters.  As crazy as Tessa was, Heigl made certain that there was a level of sympathy for her.  Julia’s vulnerability and fear also translated in a fashion that the female audience gets.  Any woman who has been assaulted, stalked, or encountered an insane situation that they were put in the center of, immediately gets Julia’s reactions and the methodology of her mind.  At times, when men direct or write for women they don’t grasp how to create female characters that make irrational moves seem realistic.  The motives of the women are often skewed in a manner that makes them either look like an unflattering idiot or a super human.

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Here that’s not the case.  Heigl and Dawson both clearly showed the motives of Tessa and Julia. It wasn’t all about David or all about Lily.  Tessa and Julia weren’t one dimensional characters fighting over a man.  Tessa was insecure.  She was driven and influenced by ridiculous expectations and the actions of her mother (Cheryl Ladd).  She feared losing Lily and losing her place in life.  She didn’t know where she belonged and acted on impulse. She made Julia her enemy and struck hard.

Julia, meanwhile, had PTSD from an abusive relationship and the words of her violent ex often rang in her ears.  She had self-doubt regarding being a step-mother and walking into David’s life.  She put all her effort into it, but was faced with insanity.  Her desperation to feel normal made her apologize for things that weren’t her fault, withhold information from David and give Tessa the benefit of the doubt more than once.  Julia also suffered from an abusive childhood which increased her self-doubt.  It wasn’t until the need to protect Lily surpassed her need to pretend everything was okay that she truly found her strength.

I highly suggest seeing this film.  The acting was topnotch, the characters had depth and the story was a strong one.

Photographer  1F763663   first look for scoop 12.26.16 UNFORGETTABLE  Photographer UNF-04788rc (L-r) ROSARIO DAWSON as Julia and KATHERINE HEIGL as Tessa in Warner Bros. Pictures’ dramatic thriller "UNFORGETTABLE," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Karen Ballard

 

Scared Stiff Rating: 8/10