Movie Review: The Best of Me

I read The Best of Me back in December 2011 and I reviewed it on my book blog, and now it's a feature film starring Michelle Monaghan, James Marsden, Luke Bracey, and Liana Liberato. I remembered the gist of the plot, although not the specifics, and from reading the book's Wikipedia page, it looks like only a few details were changed.

Dawson Cole (Marsden) has just survived a boating accident on the boat where he works. He gets a call from a small-town lawyer, saying that his mentor, Tuck (Gerald McRaney) has passed away, and has left some belongings to Dawson. Amanda (Monaghan) gets the same call, and returns to her Louisiana hometown, where she runs in to Dawson - a man she hasn't seen for more than twenty years, but with whom she used to be deeply in love. Amanda is now married, with a teenaged son, but it's hard to keep from stirring up old feelings; meanwhile, Dawson has never stopped loving Amanda. Dawson and Amanda must work together to settle Tuck's estate, and they will learn a bit more about each other in the process, as well.

I found this film to be very similar to Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook, but that movie is better, in my opinion. Some of the lines in this movie may make you tear up, but there are an equal number that are a bit cheesy. I will admit I was more invested in 1992 Dawson and Amanda's stories (Luke Bracey as Dawson and Liana Liberato as Amanda), versus the present couple's stories; although both were interesting (and, of course, they are the same people) Monaghan and Marsden didn't have as much chemistry as Bracey and Liberato.

Yes, see this movie, but I'd recommend it for a date night or a girls night out. I was surprised to find out it's rated PG-13 and not R, as it seemed to have a bit more violence than Nicholas Sparks films usually do. The backstories of all the characters are intriguing, as well as the fact that they've escaped their "small town" lives yet now have to return, for the sake of their friend Tuck. I enjoyed the movie while I was watching it, but didn't think about it or the characters in it much the next day; although I do recommend it overall, I think only certain age groups or those who like "chick flicks" will like it.

The Best of Me is in theaters today, October 17th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 117 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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