When you go to the movies to see a Nicholas Sparks adaptation, you know what you are getting. The formula works and it’s just the degree of heart-string tugginess that differs from movie to movie. This is Sparks’ 9th movie adaptation (you cannot ignore this fact when you google for pictures), starting all the way back in 1999 with Message in a Bottle.
But anyway, how much heart tugginess does this one have?
Dawson (Marsden) and Amanda (Monaghan) were desperately in love as teenagers but life and tragedy conspired to keep them apart. 20 years later, they are reunited after the death of an old friend Tuck (McRaney). As their romance is rekindled, we see the beginning of their story with the younger Dawson and Amanda played by Bracey and Liberato respectively.
Dawson is from the wrong side of the tracks. His family are the local drug dealers and he is the black sheep, wanting more for himself and being smart enough to try. Amanda is from a wealthy family. She is a pushy, feisty little thing with a heart of gold, she loves Dawson and prefers to hang out with him and Tuck.
The pair grow closer and make plans for the future when tragedy strikes and they are ripped apart. Amanda gets pregnant in college and gives it all up to be a wife and mother. Dawson goes off to work on oil/natural gas (?) rigs.
But they never stopped loving each other.
As I stated at the very start, if you go see a Sparks movie, you know what you’re getting. Each movie’s success relies solely on the chemistry between the lovers. The stories are all pretty interchangeable and don’t deviate far from the formula….boy meets girl, boy can’t have girl, drama, drama, drama, boy gets girl in some way or another.
And that’s not a bad thing, it’s just not a particularly interesting thing.
So what did I think? I liked it. It is romantic drivel but it is sweet and endearing and I enjoyed watching this particular leading man for 2 hours. I think that may have been the main hook for me, the Marsden man. With these sort of movies, I can slide down in my seat and just let the story wash over me. This story, particularly the final act, was, how shall I put it….. reaching. It was contrived and kinda ruined the whole thing for me but it did give me a chance to start rifling through my Chicks at the Flicks gift bag. Wait what? Oops sorry …
It was lovely and full of beautiful people yet I won’t remember a word of it tomorrow. However, I enjoyed it tonight. And really, isnt that what sappy, romantic movies are all about?
I give this 2.5 stars
Love Flick xx
Director : Michael Hoffman
Starring : James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Luke Bracey, Liana Liberato, Gerald McRaney, Caroline Goodall, Sean Bridgers, Robby Rasmussen
Running Time : 118 minutes
Release Date : 30 October 2014