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THE BEST OF ME

★★

ANOTHER SCHMALTZY NOTCH ON NICHOLAS SPARKS' BELT

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jess Fenton
26th October 2014

‘The Best of Me’ marks Nicholas Sparks’ ninth adapted novel. They seem to be coming out on an annual basis now, with no end in sight. Fans rejoice with each release, but at the same time there’s no doubt that Sparks has his signatures - and they're starting to get tiresome and predictable.

Dawson (Luke Bracey and James Marsden) and Amanda (Liana Liberato and Michelle Monaghan) fell madly in love with each other when they were 18. Dawson comes from an abusive and drug-plagued family home, one he finally escapes when he finds refuge with a widower named Tuck (Gerald McRaney). Amanda is the sweet, ambitious daughter of a wealthy southern family. When horrible events occur that eventually separate the pair, they’re finally reunited 21 years later when many things have changed... but not their feelings for one another.

'THE BEST OF ME' TRAILER

Transitioning between past and present to tell their tale, it’s not just the nonlinear story that draws the film's ‘Notebook’ comparisons - by far the most successful of Sparks’ adaptations - but the casting too, with James Marsden filling Paul Walker’s shoes after his death required a recasting. This is Marsden’s second Sparks film after playing the wrong guy (not the bad guy) against Ryan Gosling in ‘The Notebook’.

With eight predecessors, we all know what to expect from a Sparks film, which are almost becoming a genre unto themselves. They’re sappy, filled with horrible clichéd dialogue, picturesque locations and ultimately a death - the fun part comes from trying to guess who it’s going to be. Still, there are one or two tissue moments, and you may need a pair of sunglasses to conceal the panda eyes upon exit.

‘The Best of Me’ is enjoyable, tear-jerking schmaltz played out by very pretty people. You know exactly what you’re getting when you walk in - and it doesn’t disappoint.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 30/10/2014
RUN TIME: 1h 58m
CAST: Michelle Monaghan
James Marsden
Liana Liberato
Luke Bracey
DIRECTOR: Michael Hoffman
WRITERS: Will Fetters
J. Mills Goodloe
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