Review: The Best of Me
Be sure to pack some Kleenex when you go to see The Best of Me this weekend – you’re going to need it! Nicholas Sparks’ newest adaptation continues his trend of emotionally exhausting his audiences with this bittersweet tale of high school sweethearts who reunite 20 years later when a tragedy brings them back to their small Louisiana hometown.
James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan star as Dawson and Amanda, Sparks’ couple du jour, both giving a surprisingly likeable (and extremely attractive) performance. What is striking about this film though, is that it’s one of the rare occurrences where the teens out-perform the adults. Newcomers Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato give us hope for Hollywood’s next generation as they act their young hearts out and deliver impressive chemistry as the couple’s adolescent selves, building a strong foundation for Marsden and Monaghan’s refined older characters.
Unfolding through flashbacks of their infatuated teenage romance and punctuated with heartfelt letters, we watch their lives subtly intertwine as they attempt to survive without one another.
The flashbacks are certainly the most enchanting portions of the movie, depicting first love in all its glory and angst. She was a college-bound southern princess, he was a soft-spoken mechanic from a broken household. Their worlds couldn’t have been more different, yet they were ready to risk their reputations, their futures, and even their lives to be together.
Now decades have passed and the star-crossed lovers, torn apart by circumstance, are reconnected by… fate? Chance? Destiny? You’ll have to decide for yourself.
Be warned, Sparks once again relies on his standard crowd-pleasers: the disapproving high society parents, the noble and naïve sacrifices of young love, the picture-perfect southern backdrops and of course, an epic kiss in the rain. Although the bestselling author shows little growth, we are simply reminded that he has perfected his art.
When it comes to this romance, Sparks certainly does not tell it like it is (for us common folk), but he does tell it like we wish it was.