The Longest Ride
Release Date: April 10th 2015
Director: George Tillman Jr.
Writer: Nicholas Sparks (novel), Craig Bolotin (screenplay)
Main Cast: Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson, Alan Alda
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action
Genres: Drama | Romance
Based on the bestselling novel by master storyteller Nicholas Sparks, THE LONGEST RIDE centers on the star-crossed love affair between Luke, a former champion bull rider looking to make a comeback, and Sophia, a college student who is about to embark upon her dream job in New York City's art world. As conflicting paths and ideals test their relationship, Sophia and Luke make an unexpected and fateful connection with Ira, whose memories of his own decades-long romance with his beloved wife deeply inspire the young couple. Spanning generations and two intertwining love stories, THE LONGEST RIDE explores the challenges and infinite rewards of enduring love.
The Longest Ride marks the TENTH film adaptation for Author Nicholas Sparks. Ten! If Sparks writes a novel, you can bet it’s going to turn into a movie. The Longest Ride is based on the novel by the same name. The film stars Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson, Jack Huston, Oona Chaplin and Alan Alda in a film within a film, where part of the film takes place during present day and the other part takes place just after the second World War.
I must admit that after Safe Haven, I gave up on Sparks film adaptations. Did not care for it at all. I never saw The Best of Me because I was still angry at Safe Haven. I mean it’s a Sparks adaptation. We all know how it’s going to end. (Stop reading now if you don’t know how all Sparks novels end. Spoiler alert.) In a battle of Love versus The World, Love is going to win. I thought that I didn’t need to see any more after Safe Haven, because I already knew what was going to happen. I have since rethought things. Yay, Love. Sometimes you’re in the mood for a sappy love story. Sometimes you want to get lost in a world where love conquers all, and that is why the world still needs Nicholas Sparks, his novels, and his film adaptations.
That being said, let’s get down to business. I enjoyed half of the movie more than the other half. The Story between Ira (Huston) and Ruth (Chaplin) is a real story that I could relate to. There is still all of the stuff about undying love that you have come to expect. But there is some pain and some sadness there. Ruth and Ira will never have the picture perfect union, and that's okay. This is the best story because Alan Alda plays the role of present day Ira, and he's great to see on-screen. He really stole the movie from the cast of fresh faces. He comes across very sincere and totally huggable. Robertson and Alda have some touching scenes. The brightest moments in the film are the ones when he's in the shot. I had some trouble with the chemistry between Huston and Chaplin, but Alda makes it better.
The half of the film that I didn't care for as much was the present day cowboy love story between Luke (Eastwood) and Sophia (Robertson). I love cowboy love stories. I wanted to see this film for the cowboy love story, but it disappointed. The young Eastwood is nice to look at, but he has nowhere near the acting ability of his father. It seemed like he was looking through Robertson and not at her during their scenes together. This part of the film was also very predictable. The story sets up impossible obstacles to overcome, that get overcome in the blink of an eye. Hard to believe... even in a Sparks film adaptation.
The film isn't all bad. It just isn't all good. Fans of Sparks film adaptations will like it more than I did. That's okay. Good for love. See it because you're a Sparks fan or because Eastwood is nice to watch, regards of what he's doing. See it because you enjoy love stories. See if you like one half of the movie more than the other. Never take my word for it. See The Longest Ride playing in theaters now.