Motherhood Conquers Demonic Forces
Release Date: September 24, 2004
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 91 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony
Address Comments To:Amy Pascal, Chairman
Chairman and CEO
Sony Pictures Entertainment
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000
Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
GENRE: Supernatural Thriller
In the story, Julianne Moore plays a mother who can’t let go of the memory of her son who died in a plane disaster of some kind. Fourteen months later, she obsessively keeps mourning over his photos and baseball things. Then, she discovers that her distraught husband Jim may be hiding the photos from her to encourage her to normalize her life.
Soon, it becomes evident (or does it?) that dark forces with supernatural or alien powers of some kind may have actually kidnapped her son. She teams up with the father of a girl who supposedly also died in the plane disaster to find her son and the girl.
The premise of THE FORGOTTEN is a moral, redemptive one. It shows a strong mother figure stubbornly fighting and defeating demonic powers threatening her child. This is a classic American motif of dark forces threatening women and children. This motif is a mainstay of many great American movies, novels, and television dramas and adventures, such as John Ford’s THE SEARCHERS and Don Siegel’s DIRTY HARRY. The movie has a slightly feminist tone, however, which discredits the connection between fathers and their children. Also, the heroic mother in THE FORGOTTEN is eventually victorious without relying upon the power of God or Jesus Christ, who play no role in this particular story. Thus, the movie has a humanist worldview with pagan elements that leaves many worldview questions unanswered. Considering the flair that the filmmakers display in the rest of the movie, the lack of a provocative, powerful twist and a more complete explanation for the demonic forces at the end makes for a somewhat anti-climactic ending.
The filmmakers are too cagey about who or what exactly the villains are. Thus, the conflict in the story is not fully resolved, and the ontological, metaphysical and anthropological aspects of the movie’s worldview and premise are left hanging.
Perhaps, the filmmakers of THE FORGOTTEN should have consulted reviewed some of Alfred Hitchcock’s old movies so they could wrap things up in a more conclusive manner. Better yet, they could have consulted MOVIEGUIDE® and the Christian Film & Television Commission to give their movie a surprise Christian or biblical ending that would also have given fathers a fairer shake. That would have been an even more heroic, more redemptive and more powerful movie.
There are some nifty twists and sudden thrills in THE FORGOTTEN, but the ending is slightly anti-climactic because it lacks the final big twist to wrap up things. The premise of THE FORGOTTEN is a moral, redemptive one. It shows a strong mother figure stubbornly fighting demonic powers threatening her child. The movie has a slightly feminist tone, however, which discredits the connection between fathers and their children. It also has a humanist worldview with pagan elements that leaves many worldview questions unanswered.