Even when riddled with clichés, I still manage to eventually see the latest Nicholas Sparks productions. He had two in theaters this year alone, however this is the first one I’m seeing. Reason being, I actually read the book on which this is based. Without further ado, it’s time to find out how this one stacked up against some of my prior Sparks favorites.
The Longest Ride (2015) Film Review
A year earlier, Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood) nearly dies. As a professional bull rider it’s not if you get hurt, it’s when. Tonight is his first night back on the rodeo scene and the stress of returning to the place he nearly died gets to him. But it’s on this night that he meets her…
Sophia (Britt Robertson) is a college senior whose goal is to graduate and jet off to New York for the promise of the prestigious job that awaits her. The only reason the New Jersey native is in North Carolina is thanks to her scholarship. But meeting Luke at the rodeo might change things. While on a spontaneous date, the pair rescues an elderly man (Alan Alda) whose car broke through a guardrail. Ira Levinson’s integration into Sophia’s life changes everything…
This is the one Sparks production I don’t necessarily like better than the novel. The film gets a lot right, but it also fails in one way (early on) that might not be its best mistake to make. Most of the cast is amazing! I like Scott as Luke, and of course, his good looks match the image his character is supposed to have. The rest of the cast is really quite good including Jack Hutton and Oona Chaplin (The Crimson Field) stepping into the 1940’s. But, I’m not 100% sold on Britt Robertson as the leading lady. Early on, she seems immature, whereas I never think this of Book Sophia. As the film progresses, I like her better in a way, she kind of eases into the role, which is nice. Not to be forgotten, we also get a glimpse of what Melissa Benoist can do; CW’s new Supergirl.
As a love story, the novel has an advantage in telling Luke and Sophia’s story. Their romance is more “organic” and the pace is honest and true to who the characters are. Meaning, neither Luke nor Sophia are particularly irresponsible people, so how their story progresses is genuine, sweet and believable. The film rushes them a smidgeon. Considering its time constraints, this is understandable, but not always respected. The greatest improvement is Ira’s entrance into Sophia’s life. His story is much improved on screen. Book Ira remembers everything while isolated on the side of the road. Movie Ira is able to spend time with people, not just his memories and the unpacking of his love story is much prettier because of this. The bond he has with Sophia is more what I would anticipate from the novel, so seeing someone understand this makes all the difference.
Perhaps not my favorite adaptation of this NYT Best-selling author’s box office pictures, The Longest Ride is still enjoyable. The script softens Luke’s troubled home life, which is a pleasant change though it also fails to explain the driving reasons of his dangerous pursuits, plus omits another pretty big arc from the novel. The scenery is gorgeous and the romance of the film is beautiful. Journeying through the lives of these characters gives lots of sweet encounters. Flaws or no, I still like this romantic drama. It’s quieter than I remember most of the prior Sparks adaptations, meaning a slow-moving story. I’ll certainly re-watch this in time.
If you like these adaptations, I’d recommend you check this out. Sure, you’re likely to find faults – similar or differing from mine, but as an adaptation, overall, I think it ranks pretty good. Considering the quibbles I had with the book, this is enough for me to enjoy seeing The Longest Ride. Imperfect though it is, that’s part of what makes the story “real.”
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You can find The Longest Ride (2015) digitally on Amazon Video‘THE LONGEST RIDE’: Multi-Generational Story of Two Extraordinary Love Stories. A review of the 2015 romantic drama. #Movies #FWArchives #Romance #NicholasSparks #WhattoWatch #Adaptation Click To Tweet
Content: there are two sex scenes, both feature removal of clothing and side nudity – the first involves the pair undressing and a shower. We see a full a full back shot of male nudity. There’s very little profanity, and what there is, is more of the garden variety. The film is PG13.