By Tava Hoag
As many of you know ‘The Longest Ride’ was released in theatres on April 10th. This movie is the latest film adaptation of one of Nicholas Sparks’ romance novels. ‘The Longest Ride’ was his 18th novel and is his 10th movie. While this movie isn’t terrible, it’s nothing special either. We have seen the same love clichés in all of the Sparks films, yet we keep coming back for more.
The plot is simple, we are introduced to two couples, from very different time periods, (present day and the 1940’s) who fall in love. Each couple faces some type of conflict that results in a break-up, but don’t worry– true love conquers all and they end up back together by the conclusion of the film.
That being said, ‘The Longest Ride’ follows a love story through time, it explores the magic of beginning attraction and the sacrifices it takes to commit to someone forever. This was no easy feat to accomplish, readers of the novel know that there were two stories happening at the same time, and the characters eventually intertwined by the last page. On screen this is a very difficult task to partake in with a 2 hour time limit, and I thought that the transition from one couple to the next was flawless. We are introduced to Ira Levinson played by Alan Alda, early on and from there we watch as Sophia Danko (Britt Robertson) forges a friendship with him that allows him to re-live the romance of his youth through a series of letters, which Sophia kindly reads to him.
I had previously wondered how they could possibly make this movie work, keeping the vast amounts of information present in the book, in the film. I was happy to realize they did it. Naturally, some extra stuff is missing -I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Sophia’s psycho ex-boyfriend- but other than that, the dual love story and all of the necessary background is there and it isn’t as complicated as fans might expect.
Now, although the story-line is addictive to any hopeless romantic, there were still some very cheesy parts that made me squirm. Till this day I’ll never understand how the women in Nicholas Sparks’s movies can agree to go out with some random guy that they meet that same day. Maybe it’s because I’m shy, but I would have to be crazy to just say yes to anyone. I guess it does help that all these men are typically tall, dark, and handsome. They make their female counterparts swoon and then boom, they are suddenly together and madly in love in a matter of days. It’s ridiculous to me that in this movie especially, Sophia gives up her internship in New York for a guy she meets and is with for less than 2 months. Then in the end Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood) gets all emotional and tells Sophia that she is everything he has ever wanted, and even though he walked away and almost ruined it for himself, he’s here now and wants a second chance. If that was me, I would have said screw you and moved on and tried to get my internship back. The reckless abandon in which these characters fall in love is another pet peeve of mine. It takes years to really get to know someone and be willing to make an honest commitment, not a week. Reality is definitely not a strong suit in ‘The Longest Ride’.
Men shouldn’t count themselves out of this movie. Your significant other will try and goad you into watching it with them because there’s action it in. That’s right guys, a Nicholas Sparks adaptation has more than just steamy action, it has actual bull riding action. Luke Collins ranks 5th in the world by the end of the film and we see a lot of his rodeo matches, in which he barely escapes death. Admittedly, these scenes may be the only parts of the movie that men enjoy because they are when the now gorgeous, man of their girls’ dreams is put in danger. And boy is Scott Eastwood dreamy, I’d go see ‘The Longest Ride’ again just to watch that dimpled smile appear and catch a glimpse of his flawless ass. Britt Robertson isn’t so bad herself.
All else aside, the ending of this film is very heart warming, I found myself smiling a congratulatory smile for Sophia and Luke. True Nicholas Sparks book lovers will agree with me when I say, that the ending of this movie and book alike are much happier than any of his other works. It’s actually refreshing to not have to sit and cry through another tragic end. I was happy as the credits rolled around, and some of my faith was even restored in the power of friendship and the kindness that people can possess.
If this is so familiar to us then why do we keep watching it? I’ll admit that even though Nicholas Sparks writes the same cliché love stories, they are always powerful. Despite the fact that we know it’s a fantasy and that most relationships don’t turn out this way, it gives us hope. It grants us the possibility to find a fairytale kind of love and it dares us to be courageous enough to go out there and seek it at all costs.
‘The Longest Ride’ was certainly not the best movie I have seen, but it was an insightful tale of the obstacles that life throws at us, and even in our darkest days love will win the battle and carry us until the end of the longest ride we call life.