Movie Review: The Longest Ride

I try not to compare books to movies, but I just reviewed The Longest Ride over on my book blog last month, so it was hard not to compare the two this time. It's a Nicholas Sparks book, so you know the movie is going to have a couple with major differences that could possibly tear them apart (check), a few love scenes (check), and two leads that fall deeply in love (check). The movie changed much from the book, including putting things out of sequence, but it still was cute and worth seeing.

Sophia Danko (Britt Robertson) is a senior at Wake Forest University who has an art internship lined up in NYC after she graduates. She meets bullrider Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood) when her sorority sisters drag her to a bullriding event, and they hit it off. She tells him that she's moving to NYC at the end of the next month, so he stays away even though he really likes her; eventually, though, they are drawn back to each other. At the end of their first date, when he's driving Sophia home, they see that the highway guardrail has been damaged, and they find an old man, Ira (Alan Arkin), who has been in a car accident. They bring him to the hospital, and Sophia ends up visiting him frequently, where she finds out his love story: he and his wife Ruth (Oona Chaplin), who met when they were young. There are many parallels between Ira and Ruth's story to Sophia and Luke's, and Ira's story helps Sophia decide what she should do in her own love story.

I could talk about all of the differences between the book and movie, but I'll only comment on two: the way that Sophia and Luke meet in the film is different than in the book (they actually remove an entire character, Sophia's ex-boyfriend) and they find Ira in his car accident at the end of their first date, rather than midway through their relationship; in my opinion, though, this actually works better. I also didn't really like that they make Sophia more "blonde" in the movie - she's smart, but the film doesn't dig deep into why she's in a sorority (she mentions it's the cheapest housing on campus, though, at one point) and how hard she's worked to even make it to college. Overall, I did like the book better, but the film worked for me too.

Yes, see this movie, but save it for a matinee. The movie is worth seeing just for the "eye candy" - the main male lead is played by Scott Eastwood, aka the legendary Clint Eastwood's son, who looks just like him at some parts throughout the film. I liked how the film went back and forth between Sophia and Luke's (present-day) story to Ira and Ruth's romance, although at the same time it was a little jarring when we returned to Luke and Sophia's story. Although the film was greatly changed from the book version, fans of Sparks will still enjoy it, and it's a "fluff movie" that will entertain, but that you might not remember much of the next day.

The Longest Ride is in theaters today, April 10th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of about 120 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

{Looking to buy the book? Click here.}

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