‘THE LONGEST RIDE’: Multi-Generational Story of Two Extraordinary Love Stories

August 20, 2015 7 Comments

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

‘THE LONGEST RIDE’: Multi-Generational Story of Two Extraordinary Love Stories. A review of the 2015 romantic drama. Text © Rissi JC

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…  

BOOK REVIEW | The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks: Romance at the Rodeo!

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.

We share the longest ride. This thing called life. – Nicholas Sparks

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.”

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

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.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Meghan Gorecki August 20, 2015 at 6:57 PM

    Gabrielle got this for me for my birthday in addition to the book which I haven't read yet.
    I watched this movie a few wks ago with my parents and they both teared up. I cried at the end and multiple times. ;) But the during those two scenes you mentioned under Content, well, let's just say my cheeks flamed because the DVD remote I was in control over decided not to work at those times. With my parents in the room. So that mortifying memory will be associated with the movie…
    But I adored the movie. I prefered and was more attached to the 1940s storyline and characters, and Scott Eastwood was perfect. Having known very little about the story prior, I expected his character to be super arrogant and cocky so imagine my surprise and delight when he was basically a bull-riding, Southern Captain America gentleman. ;) LOL

    • Rissi August 21, 2015 at 8:32 PM

      How very fun. Gabrielle has great taste. :) (Ps; she liked this then too?)

      I really did enjoy the film despite my petty complaints. Oddly enough, I liked Book Sophia and Luke better whereas Movie Ira and Ruth's stories were far better represented in the film. That alone makes me lean more towards liking the film. I'm really glad you enjoyed it, and would agree; the 40s story was charming.

      Sadly, every romance film "has" to include some content that well, most families I know, don't appreciate. It's the way of Hollywood, I guess.

      I love how you described Scott's Luke! That is exactly what he is… and hooray for that. I do adore Captain America. If you read the book, I hope you enjoy. :)

      Thanks for sharing your experiences watching this one. Always fun to chat with others who've seen the latest films. :)

      (And, in closing, I hope you're doing okay, Meghan. I think of you often when seeing your IG posts or seeing Rachel's social medias mention you. Wishing you all kinds of good wishes and a speedy recovery. :D)

  • Lydia August 22, 2015 at 7:18 AM

    I watched the movie on the plane and I wish the whole story had been about Ira and Ruth. There was much more depth, emotion and maturity to that storyline than Luke and Sophia. I agree that the casting of Sophia didn't fit well (and I haven't even read the book!) and couldn't help feel at times that I was watching a movie intended more for teens. I would give the movie a C+, but if it had all been Ruth and Ira my rating would probably be much higher. I feel like Nicholas Sparks is trying to appeal to two demographics at once and the result ended up being lukewarm on both fronts (too much of one and not enough of another). I really enjoyed your review Rissi!

    • Rissi August 25, 2015 at 3:15 AM

      Ruth and Ira's story is much, much improved here, in my opinion. I thought theirs had more "room" to breathe in a sense whereas, in the novel, it was far too… well, stifled and unfortunately, boring. Here, it's sincere and romantic, in the best sense.

      Britt improved as the film went on, though in the beginning, she was too immature to suit me. But perhaps that's just because I adored the chemistry between her and Luke in the book. :)

      Thanks a bunch for reading and commenting, Lydia! Always appreciate getting your opinions and thoughts. :)

  • […] FILM REVIEW | ‘THE LONGEST RIDE’: Multi-Generational Story of Two Extraordinary Love Stories […]

  • […] 8: The Longest Ride […]

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