Saturday, October 18

REVIEW: The Best of Me

Directed by Michael Hoffman
2014 Romance Drama
1 hour 57 minutes
From Relativity Media

Michelle Monaghan
James Marsden
Luke Bracey
Lianna Liberato
Gerald McRaney

I guess this is our annual dollop of romance from novelist Nicholas Sparks.  He got everyone’s attention, including mine, with the 2004 film The Notebook.   And it seems that every year since he has been trying to duplicate its success but has not particularly succeeded.   Nothing has changed here.

In some ways this is one of the worst.  It reminded me for some time of a train that couldn’t get out of the station and once it did it was a runaway.  There wasn’t much happening for quite some time of much interest and then its final moments simply turn into one bit of melodramatic silliness after another.

Like The Notebook, the main couple is played by four actors because we see them at an early age and then an older age (but not as senior as Gena Rowlands and James Garner in The Notebook).  Here the older ones are played by James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan and the younger by Aussie Luke Bracey (who reminded me of Heath Ledger with better hair) and Lianna Liberato.  One problem is that Marsden and Bracey, while both good-looking (actually I think Marsden is the bomb), they look absolutely nothing alike and that was most distracting.  And Bracey at 25 hardly looked like a 16-year old.  The second deal-breaker here is that the storyline featuring the younger actors is just downright dull.


Sparks’ latest goo-goo-eyed couple is back together after a 21-year absence, which entailed some heartbreak, after a treasured mutual friend has died and jointly left them his property.  Though she has married, they both profess their love for one another has never faltered.  If so, my curious mind wondered, what took them 21 years to reunite?  It would have taken me 21 days.  I never bought it.

His redneck family is so cartoonish that I never bought he could have turned out as normal as he did.  Of course, my main problem with most of the movies based on Sparks’ works is that they’re so cornball.  His films seem to always include southern locales, mean parents and overly-sentimental, hand-written letters.

Monaghan (particularly) and Marsden are good actors, but they deserve better.  You’ll find this movie missing from their résumés in years to come.  This was to have starred Paul Walker, but after his unexpected death, Marsden came aboard.

Poor Michael Hoffman, the director.  He has only made one film I have truly ever cared for... 2009's The Last Station.  It's not looking good.

Word-of-mouth will kill this film except for horny teenagers.  Sparks needs to try writing something different.

(By the way, excuse that this didn't get published on my promised Tuesday or in this case Friday. I have never missed a scheduled publishing date until now. After I saw this film, I rushed home to write my review but the computer was down and would remain so until after I returned from seeing a friend in a play. So here I am very early Saturday morning... finally getting this published. Grrrrrr.)

Jackie B

No comments:

Post a Comment