So far 2015 has not been a strong year for movies IMO. Aside from the carry-overs of 2014 the only thing mainstream to really dazzle me is Cinderella and Paddington but there have been a lot of single base hits even without the home runs.
I looked at the movie options this weekend and it seemed pretty dry. I could see a poorly reviewed sci-fi film like Chappie or Jupiter Ascending or go see the new Nicholas Sparks movie The Longest Ride. I went with the latter figuring I could at least make fun of it. But so help me I actually enjoyed it. Is it a masterpiece? No but its a heck of a lot better than anything he has made in a long time. I’d put it right up there with his best The Notebook. I really would.
It’s actually similar to The Notebook in a lot of ways. We get the story of an older couple and a young couple and we see their love stories play out. In this the young couple is Sophia played by Britt Robertson who is a budding art history graduate with a big job in New York coming up and Luke played by Scott Eastwood who hopes to mount a comeback as a professional bull rider.
The two have a meet cute but there is also genuine chemistry and the script is passable. Robertson is especially winning although she feels a little young for the part. She reminds me a little of Rachel McAdams innocent sweetness in The Notebook or Mandy Moore in Night to Remember. So much of these kind of movies depends on the connection between the lead couple and these two had it and I bought them being together.
While they are on their first date they come across an old man who has crashed his car and they are able to save him. He is played by Alan Alda who is so good in the part. It is a bit of a plothole that Alda would have to be 95 years old to be the character in the flashbacks but I will give it that.
The two younguns become friends with Alda and Sophia ends up coming and visiting him and reading him letters he wrote to his wife Ruth over the years. (Some of the letters don’t quite make sense because they are supposedly written in 1941 but cover events after that…but again I will give it that). In the flashbacks young Ira and Ruth are played by Jack Huston and Oona Chaplin. I really liked her but for some reason never liked him and so their chemistry wasn’t as good as the modern couple.
Their accents were also extremely corny but I liked how Ruth loved art and that love carried them through some tough times. They couldn’t have children so she taught and they collected art. Of course modern Sophia responds to this because she also loves art. (Opposites attract on both stories but I didn’t mind it).
I kept waiting for the cancer or terrible event to happen like in every other Nicholas Sparks movie but this actually stays away from that trope (spoiler I guess). This is just a love story about 2 couples. Hurray!
Maybe I’m just a sucker for a man in a cowboy hat (that would be true…) but I liked it. It’s a sweet, simple love story with an appealing cast and actually a little bit of a sports movie thrown in there too. I can see why some people would hate it but like I said compared to other Nicholas Sparks movies this is one of the best. Take that for what you will.
The ending surprised me because I was expecting something more melodramatic but it was sweet and simple. I teared up but not in the emotionally manipulating ways of many Sparks films. This was because I was genuinely moved.
A lot of my readers are men for some reason and they will probably hate the movie but if you have a girl I can think of a lot worse you might have to sit through. But I would suggest to the girls out there get a few of your friends and go together. There were 3 women who sat behind me and were a little vocal whenever our hunky cowboy took off his shirt, smiled, tipped his hat. Whenever something sweet happened they sighed. Normally that might be annoying but I found myself jealous and wishing I could have gone with a group of my girlfriends. That is totally the way to see this movie.
Now I’m ready to be rebuked and mocked for liking a Nicholas Sparks movie. Bring it on! At least you know I’m being honest with these reviews. Why would anyone pretend to like a movie like this? 🙂
As far as content its a pretty strong PG-13. The sex scenes are very racy so I would check it out on screenit.com for more details before recommending it to your teens. I probably would say this is adults only although the language and other aspects are fine.
It doesn’t reinvent the wheel so I can’t give it an A but I feel a solid B- is fair. It is above average but not spectacular. Still I enjoyed it.
Overall Grade- B- Content Grade- C