Movie Review: The Best of Me (In theaters today)

 

Best of Me Theater

The Best of Me

Starring James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Luke Bracey & Liana Liberato

Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they’ve never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.

 

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Last week I was able to attend the screening of The Best of Me with my sister-in-law.  I had read the book twice, she had never read it.  We both loved this movie.

I admit I am a huge Nicholas Sparks fan. I love this type of movie.  And I’m sure my love for this particular film was influenced by my visit to the set back in May.

This movie opens in theaters today. Take your girlfriends and go see it together.  It’s a great chick-flick! While I personally didn’t shed a tear there were many around me who did so you might want to bring some kleenex.

As far as a book to movie adaptation there were quite a few changes but I felt it stayed fairly true to feel and message of the book.  The Best of Me is not my favorite Sparks’ book. I read it a second time shortly before spending a day on the set so it would be fresh in my mind and I enjoyed it way more the second time through.

I really wondered how they would handle the ending of the movie.  Sparks has been know to change things up a bit when he adapts books to movies.  While that did happen to some extent, overall the ending played out in a way that left me feeling the original message of the book was preserved in the film.

There is a great supporting cast. I loved Tuck, he was cast perfectly!  The Coles also did a great job. You couldn’t help but hate them because they were so awful.

The critics haven’t been kind to this movie but personally I really enjoyed watching it. One of my favorite scenes was of young Dawson and Amanda’s father. Amanda’s father tries to bride Dawson to stay away from Amanda and I loved how that scene played out.

The one thing I actually appreciated about the book is that Amanda and Dawson don’t actually have sex when they are reunited 21 years later.  They spend a night together but Amanda is married and stays true to her vows mainly because of her children. In the movie that scene is portrayed much differently.  I get it, really I do. This is a movie and they gave people what they wanted but being someone who firmly believes in marriage I appreciated the book version showing someone who actually stayed true to her vows for better and for worse. Something admirable and all too rare these days which is rarely portrayed in books or movies.

Don’t take your tweens, it’s a little too mature for younger audiences.  Content is fairly typical for a PG-13 romance movie. There is language throughout including 1 use of the F word. There are also 2 sex scenes, one when they are in high school and one when they meet again 21 years later.  There is plenty of skin but no “parts” are shown as they get blocked by an arm.  It was a little much for the tweens and some of the teens who were in the theater, there was a lot of giggling going on around us.  There is also some violence and blood.

As for the scenes I got to watch them film the day I was on set. They were cut from the movie. I can see why a good movie goes through lots of editing as the scenes we watched them film weren’t necessary to move the story forward.  While you might not get to see those scenes I’ll forever have an unforgettable memory of watching Liana Liberato learn to drive a stick shift while trying my best not to laugh because the cameras were rolling.

5 stars

Rating: 5 Stars – Loved it!

Content: language typical of a PG-13 movie, 2 sex scenes with skin but no nudity, violence from several fights