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The Best of Me

Coming Soon

I suppose I should begin this review honestly – I am not the world’s biggest Nicholas Sparks fan. I feel like his books and adaptions are hit or miss (more often miss) as they are the same story over and over with a few tweaks, but perhaps that’s the appeal. Romance and reliability.

We start in present day as Dawson Cole (James Marsden), is working on an oil rig where he saves some people from an explosion, and he himself is blown to high waters, barely surviving the blow. While Dawson experiences this near death experience, he thinks of his ex-girlfriend Amanda (Michelle Monaghan), when they were both in their teens.

Dawson receives word that his mentor and father-like friend Tuck has passed away; Tuck died of old age and has split his property among Amanda and Dawson in the will. He has a wish that they will clear his home together, which reluctantly, they start to do. Amanda is currently married with one son, while Dawson has not had a serious relationship since the 90’s, back when they were dating.

Amanda is angry and resentful towards Dawson although, we don’t really know why. As we weave in and out of the past and present, we see how their love came to be, with cliché, albeit cute moments that have now become staple in a Nicholas Spark’s book-to-movie adaption. The male lead is born of the wrong side of the tracks with an unstable father. The female lead is a rich, well rounded young woman who has had most things handed to her. Flashing back between loving moments in their teens to moments of them rekindling their love tells a romantic tale that you know will end horribly, as that is how all these stories end.

Amanda is in a loveless marriage, and only after she gets home does she realize what a jerk her husband is and calls Dawson to tell him they can make their relationship work. Soon after, Amanda discovers her son was in a horrible car accident and needs a heart. But wouldn’t you know it – Dawson gets killed by his crazy father. Amanda’s son receives Dawson’s heart. From my understanding this is somewhat different than the book, but it follows a similar storyline.

The older Amanda and Dawson have a lot more chemistry as actors (or perhaps are more experienced) than their younger counterparts. The younger Dawson (Luke Bracey) does not look much younger than his older self, which I found to be quite odd. We truly get a sense of the south as this film was shot in New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana. Easy on the eyes with sweet country tunes on the soundtrack by Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Cowboy Junkies.

It’s no longer a shock when these romantic films have an “unexpected” tragic ending, but that doesn’t take away from the sting of watching someone for two solid hours get murdered. I would have preferred if the majority of the film took place in the present, as those actors were more believable.

Overall I give the film 2.5 stars.

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