Like clockwork, a new Nicholas Sparks production seems to pop up at the box office at least once a year – and sometimes twice. The Choice (2016) is based off a novel of the same name, and is actually one of my most favorite stories written by him.
The Choice (2016) Film Review
Life is good for Travis (Benjamin Walker). He works with his father (Tom Wilkinson) in the family business and on the weekends, he’s on the water with close friends. There is just one problem with this way of life. All of his friends are married and raising their young families. Travis doesn’t mind until now; and then his neighbor Gabby Holland (Teresa Palmer) breezes into his life.
Opinionated with a sassy attitude that intrigues Travis, Gabby is the first woman to tell Travis “no” at every turn. Whether he invites her for a casual dinner or an afternoon with his friends on the water, Gabby doesn’t fall for Travis’ southern charms. Already in a committed relationship with her doctor boyfriend, Ryan (Tom Welling), Gabby’s happy. Is Ryan the man she is meant to settle into life with? Or is the pull she feels towards a new choice her future?Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer co-star in the #NicholasSparks adaptation of The Choice (2016) – A Romantic Drama about True Love and a Second Chance #GoodMovies #FeelGoodMovies Click To Tweet
Unless my memory fails me, I think this Nicholas Sparks’ book-to-screen title is very different. The differences are small yet significant. Contradiction or no, I don’t know how better to explain this without giving away plot points from either the book or film. The book offers less resistance to see Gabby and Travis together (props) whereas the film gives them prior relationship cliches. This is one small example of the changes between the two.
BOOK REVIEW | The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
As a story, The Choice is lovely. I like its themes and the genuine chemistry and love between the couple. Travis’ feelings for Gabby comes across as all-consuming in the novel not to mention he doesn’t “feel” like such a playboy in the book (again, Travis’ annoying ex hinders this). Unlike most of the romance films playing at the box office, what’s so charismatic about this film is the sense of completion it has. The movie spans seven some years, and instead of leaving its characters apart, they are together for those years, and more importantly, happy. Lest you assume otherwise or I say too much to spoil things, I will just say this don’t assume that’s where or how the story ends.
Unlike some of Sparks’ earlier adaptations, this one features a group of newcomers. Australian actress Teresa Palmer from Warm Bodies and I Am Number Four. But it’s Walker who is the real unknown. It’s interesting that after so many familiar faces in the leading man role, producers cast someone unfamiliar. If it was any kind of risk, I feel like it pays off. Though it might not be a favorite on-screen couple for the masses, I really like Teresa and Benjamin together. Their scenes are sassy and entertaining in turn, and I especially like how the writer’s allow the proposal scene to play out. It was unlike any I’d seen on-screen which is what made its feisty scripting so memorable. Maggie Grace (Taken) also co-stars as Travis’ sister, Stephanie.
“I’ve said all the words, all I need is a lifetime to prove it to you.” – The Choice
Basically, this will be a suitable for one kind of person. Anyone who is a fan of Nicholas Sparks, seeing The Choice is something you’re likely to enjoy. The script contains more adult content than the novel (like profanity), and there is alteration; but at the heart, the story is the same. For me, that was good enough.
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You can find The Choice (2016) digitally on Amazon Video
Content: There are two sensual scenes; one involves the removal of clothing with close up shots of caresses or kisses, another shows the couple in bed, sheets obscuring anything graphic. There’s social drinking and the garden variety of usual PG13 “acceptable” profanity.