Nicholas Spark movies have managed to mould our expectations for a heart-wrenching, warm tale that makes us want to go hunting for our own love story. His books tell the story of two strangers that come together so perfectly that we want to end up alone at a beach in the hope of The One.
Unfortunately Best of Me, staring James Marsden (as Dawson) and Michelle Monaghan (Amanda) in the lead roles, fails to bring out any of these emotions. The story is one of a perfect high school couple who are forced by circumstances into separate ways after graduation and meet 21 years later.
Sean Bridgers flawlessly plays the role of Dawson's evil, drug dealer pa. Young Dawson escapes from the clutches of evil and falls straight into the lap (read garage) of a sensitive widower Tuck (Gerald McRaney) who is almost waiting for a helpless young boy to come into this life. A typical Nicholas Sparks character, Tuck becomes the father figure that young Dawson and Amanda come to respect and love.
Tuck’s death 21 years later reunites the former sweethearts. Amanda is married (loveless marriage of course) and Dawson is looking for his life’s purpose after a miraculous escape from death. What will happen next? Will there be forgiveness or more tragedy? Will they finally come together or will circumstances rule their relationship one more time?
Even if you are expecting cliches and make-out sessions in torrential rains, Best of Me doesn't live up to expectations. The movie fails the standards of a Nicholas Sparks for three significant reasons:
>The American countryside that is usually the crucial backdrop of a Sparks movie is not exploited enough in this one. The nature of the country is the beautiful blooms in Tuck's backyard, where are the beaches and the long windy empty roads?
>The dialogues seem like a cut paste job from the book or previous Sparks movies or just a lazy writing. Amanda's dailouge 'How can I fall in love with you again, when I never stopped loving you?' does not befit the character sketch of mature mother of two.
>The chemistry between James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan does not come through. They are good looking individuals but together on screen there is no fire. We do not leave the theatre wanting a love like theirs.
The poorly edited movie does not do justice to Spark’s writing and no one brings out their best in the movie.
Best of me is playing at Novo Cinemas at The Pearl and their Nachos with salsa and Jalapeño are sometimes worth a movie.
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