Every six months or so, a Nicholas Sparks film adaptation hits the big screen. Ladies rejoice while significant others groan and hope to god his woman decides to go with a friend instead. Sparks’ novels and their corresponding films have never been great, but there is a pinnacle for which we judge all others - ‘The Notebook’. This tale of love, loss and love again gave us faith in the art of letter writing, a renewed hope in second chances and a burning obsession with Ryan Gosling. With each new film, audience members possessing both the X and Y chromosome flock eagerly to perv on the next Gosling, but he never came... until now... possibly. And he has a mighty fine pedigree.
Women of the world, I give you Scott Eastwood. He shall no longer be know as "Clint Eastwood’s Son", because as of right now, he has made his bones in Hollywood and he’s just Scott. Oh yeah, there’s a girl somewhere in this movie too.
When ambitious college student and art lover Sophia (Britt Robertson) meets equally ambitious bull rider Luke (Eastwood) at a competition, the sparks are instantaneous, but with Sophia set to move to New York in just two months, their attraction has a ticking clock. One night they rescue Ira (Alan Alda) from a car crash and Sophie begins to visit the old man, reading the old love letters to his wife found inside the wreck. As Ira unveils his love story, it starts to inspire Sophia and Luke’s life and the two become intertwined, forcing them to ask the questions: what’s really important? And what are you willing to sacrifice for love?
Women of the world, I give you Scott Eastwood.
No quite the sap-fest we've come to know and tolerate from a Sparks film, 'The Longest Ride' actually holds some water and is held afloat by its really really ridiculously good looking cast and a fresh eye in director George Tillman Jr (‘Notorious’). Here, Tillman hasn’t flooded the screen with oversaturated autumn colours, epic bodies of water, luscious gardens and architecture or endless scenes taking place in the rain. Tillman has actually focused on the story, letting his cast do the heavy lifting and highlighting beautifully the works of art that play a dominant role throughout. The bull riding sequences are most impressive utilising all camera angles to allow the audience to get in and amongst it, including GoPros and mesmerising slow-motion.
With only a trickle of laughter from those gushy one-liners, ‘The Longest Ride’ puts in a solid effort and comes close to reaching the stratosphere made possible by its predecessor ‘The Notebook’. It doesn't quite get there but it still lands pretty damn close. And also, Scott Eastwood... I’m just sayin'.