BEST OF ME
SYNOPSIS: Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, THE BEST OF ME tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they've never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.
REVIEW: Nicholas Sparks is known for his romantic, tear jerker movies, movies even men, yes men will cry at. Movies such as the “Notebook”, “Nights in Rodanthe”, “A Walk in the Clouds”, “Message in a Bottle”, just to name a few. His latest book and now film, “The Best of Me” is true to his love found, love lost, love will make you cry recipe but I can’t say that I would put it in the same category as his other films.
My husband, Cine Marcos and I were over due for a date night so I thought, early dinner and a romantic movie (ok, so it was part date night and part work), I was sure, due to his reaction to the “Notebook” (he cried) that no matter what, I would be entertained at the end of the day. Well, I’m sorry to tell you that disappointment was in store for us. I mean, the recipe was still true to Sparks’s genre but there was a noticeable difference. Cine Marcos said it best “it was a little cliché”.
The story is about a young couple meeting early 90’s Louisiana. Amanda (Liana Liberato) from a privileged southern family and Dawson (Luke Bracey) from the wrong, wrong I mean wrong side of the tracks. These two could not come from more different backgrounds and yet they come together and fall hopelessly in love. Dawson comes from a notoriously bad family and this kid just can’t seem to catch a break until he meets the adorable, sweet flirtatious Amanda and she’s nuts about him. Just around the same time, Dawson, through an unfortunate situation, also meets a man who will come to be somewhat of a savior to him and in many ways Amanda. In typical Sparks manner, something goes horribly wrong for these two young lovers (you will be angry) and time and circumstances will separate them until they are brought back together 21 years later. Amanda (now played by Michelle Monaghan) has moved on with her life, married and had kids and by all appearances is living well. Dawson, you would think is not so lucky, you would think, working hard on a lonely oil rig, but he seems to enjoy his life this way. You get the feeling from the beginning that Dawson is meant to live a tragic life and you won’t be wrong. As far as location goes, the scenery in certain scenes is lovely but in a formulaic kind of way. I never really got the feeling that I could tell that this is Louisiana.
Now, on to why I was disappointed in this film. There are a few reasons. 1st off, the story was, as I mentioned before, clichéd. Scenes were too easy to predict. The script was just… weak? The twist at the end is a good one but you kind of figure it out. Another thing was the casting. Now, here is the hard part. I love the two young actors; Liana is adorable albeit her acting was a little too cute at times. I would NOT change Luke in the part of young Dawson; he does his part so heartbreakingly well. I love Michelle Monaghan and James Marsden as the older Dawson. But here’s my issue, when you put them together, it is painfully obvious that the younger and older actors look nothing alike! Gerald MacRaney’s part was short but as always great (we need to see more of him) and Sean Bridgers (Dawson’s father, Tommy Cole) plays evil too well.
In the end, in the words of Mr. Nicholas Sparks himself “I’m sure it’ll do fine at the box office. They all do,” he laughed. “I mean, it’s why they keep making them, right?”
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