run time: 139 mins
considered: Drama, Romance
director: George Tillman Jr.
starring: Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, Alan Alda, Jack Huston, Oona Chaplin, Melissa Benoist, Lolita Davidovich, Elea Oberon, Kate Forbes, Tiago Riani, Danny Vinson, Hayley Lovitt, Tracey Bonner, Jaret Sears, Hunter Burke
movie summary: Love and fate have a funny way of bringing two souls together. Sophia Danko (Brit Robertson) is a beautiful girl in college, with the internship of a lifetime waiting for her in New York City. She’s on a path that will make her happy when she is pressured into a girls night out at a bull riding contest. Inside the arena that night is Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood), a rugged bull rider who is trying to make a comeback towards the world championship. The pair meet at the arena and later at the bar where they agree to go out on a date. On the drive home they notice a car that struck a tree in a ditch. Luke pulls out Ira Levinson (Alan Alda), an older man who is badly injured, Sophia meanwhile grabs a box from the front seat. Over the next few days Sophia visits Ira in the hospital where he reveals letters he wrote his wife over the four decades they were together. These letters allow Ira to relive his great love, while Sophia and Luke continue to grow as a young couple. These letters will help serve as a reminder that love can conquer all when times get tough. Sophia must go to New York and Luke refuses to stop pursuing his dream of being a world champion which threatens their potential long-term relationship.
my thoughts: I didn’t think that one of today’s most romantic authors would continue to provide us with sub-par love stories. Nicholas Sparks career started out with some not so great love stories, Message in a Bottle, Nights in Rodanthe, and Dear John, before taking the world by storm with A Walk to Remember and The Notebook. The Notebook, whether you love it or hate it, has become the standard of which most romantic movies are compared to. He gave us fantastic movies like The Lucky One and Safe Haven before last year’s not overly great film The Best of Me. Sparks returns to the big screen with The Longest Ride which provides us with a modern-day love story that connects to a similar love story that spans 40 years.
There are many parts to like/love about this story, but there is a bunch of things I had issues with. First and foremost, Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood were great choices. They had amazing chemistry on-screen while actually looking like a real couple. Alan Alda really shined as the wounded Ira Levinson, the man who misses his wife Ruth more and more with every passing minute. He is such a loveable character that it is hard not to feel for him after his accident, as he develops a deep and meaningful friendship with Sophia. These present day characters were all amazing, but I never was able to get into the back story of a young Ira (Jack Huston) and young Ruth (Oona Chaplin). Neither Huston or Chaplin appealed to me which took away any chance of me caring about their story. It sounds harsh but if other people had been cast into those roles I may have been more interested. I understand their relationship started in the 1940s and blossomed through the decades, which is all fine and dandy, but I didn’t get the romantic spark between the two like I did from Sophia and Luke.
These two stories intertwined together because Ira and Ruth had several problems that tested their love and devotion to each other. Our two main characters, Sophia and Luke, are both on different career paths which will put their love through the ringer. Their decisions not to abandon their respective career choices for one another is a tough one. This will lead to a lot of drama between the two, but in my personal opinion Luke was the bigger idiot here. He’s willing to risk his relationship with Sophia because he refuses to give up on his dream, which may also kill him. I would think that if someone told me to stop doing something because I could die, I’d most likely choose the girl over being dead. I understand that this is whole point of the story, but to me when you find that one person that changes your life you don’t let them go. You fight for them, you fight for your relationship. Of course like any love story a series of events will make him realize his mistakes which sets us up for an epic finale.
The ending was nicely done and fit the story really well. Just as a warning to all you emotional people out there, it will probably make you cry. The events that unfold really bring these two love stories together, which allowed our main characters to realize that fate brought Ira to them and that everything happens for a reason. Ira and Ruth’s love story will stand the test of time, because two wonderful people were given the opportunity to carry on their cherished memories.
my final thoughts: The Longest Ride is another Nicholas Sparks romance movie where someone dies and out of that death a new romance blossoms. I didn’t hate the film, but would not consider it one of Sparks’ best stories. This movie will be a hit or miss with many of his fans and general movie goers. If for some reason you skipped it at the theatre, you can always watch it on VOD or Netflix when it gets there.
my star rating: 5 out 10
imdb: 7.2 out 10
rottentomatoes: 29% out 100%
roger ebert: 1.5 out 4
richard crouse: 2 out 4