The Best of Me (2014)

Luke Bracey and Liano Liberato in The Best of Me (2014)So I saw my first Nicholas Sparks movie and … I didn’t hate it? Maybe the two glasses of wine beforehand affected my judgment, as I can hardly defend the film from an “objective” perspective. It’s riddled with problems, including:

  • The casting of Luke Bracey as the teenage version of James Marsden; not only does he look closer to forty than eighteen, he couldn’t look more different to Marsden. I’m assuming he was cast entirely for the scene where he gardens shirtless.
  • A cornucopia of romantic clichés; dances in the (studio-perfect) moonlight, convenient rose bushes … a list too long to continue.
  • Its “everything-happens-for-a-reason” narrative (hinted at with the early appearance of Hawking’s The Grand Design), where the potential to examine the calcification of disadvantage across the film’s two timelines – where natural talent is swallowed up by poverty and crime – is wasted due to the script’s insistence on coincidence and convention.

Despite all this, it wasn’t the painful experience I’d expected. I suspect I’m secretly a sucker for the kind of undisguised, oversized emotion that defines these sappy melodramas. If I could tolerate – and intermittently enjoy – The Best of Me, perhaps I should finally get around to watching The Notebook…

2.5 stars

7 thoughts on “The Best of Me (2014)

  1. LOL! Well, at least you didn’t hate it. I’m personally not a huge fan of The Notebook, I’d much rather go and sit through A Walk to Remember, but thats me. I fully acknowledge these Nicholas Sparks are all over dramatized and cliche romance, so very formulaic but somehow, I don’t quite hate any of them with the exception of The Last Song and Dear John that I really wouldn’t want to rewatch

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