For what is such an easily definable word, love is something that a lot of us don’t have an easy time finding. And if we do, we need a good slap to show us that we have in fact found it and it is right in front of us. I feel like in a way I may have just given out the logline for every romance novel known to man and inadvertently saved all of us a lot of money. I am kidding, or am I?
For romance novel fans, the name Nicholas Sparks is well known and the new film “The Longest Ride,” is one of his better stories that have been adapted into film.
When a young bull rider named Luke and a college student named Sophia meet for the first time, they fall for one another almost in an instant. Like with most love stories though, Luke and Sophia are two people in two completely different worlds, which of course brings conflict. However, when they come across a 90-year-old widowed veteran who almost died in a horrific car crash, they soon learn a valuable lesson from his own story of love and heartache with his dear departed wife.
Love requires sacrifice, but in the end it’s worth it.
“The Longest Ride” stars Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, Jack Huston, Oona Chaplin, Lolita Davidovich, Melissa Benoist and Alan Alda. George Tillman Jr. directs the film with a screenplay by Craig Bolotin.
This film brings together a batch of new actors. I am not sure if the intertwining love stories, one present and one past, were meant to show polar opposites, but they do. With Eastwood and Robertson’s characters, we meet two young people in the cliche and premise of being in two drastically different places in life. The only thing they share are their emotions.
They are scared, stubborn and attracted to one another. The steamy love scenes they share are appealing as a visual and even tantalizing plot points, but they lack much when it comes to the actual romantic nature of being in love.
On the other side, we have Huston and Chaplin’s characters, which I feel I must enlighten everyone of the oddity of these two being paired together. Huston is the legendary director John Huston’s grandson and Chaplin is the granddaughter of the great Charlie Chaplin.
Their story as two lovers who are torn from one another because of World War II is told so much better. The passion and chemistry that these actors show toward one another really put the sparks in what needs to be considered when thinking about a Sparks novel.
It is so hard to ever say that a film is better than the novel or book that it is based on, and even as good as these Sparks adaptations are, the books are the real winners. Now this is not to say that the films are meaningless. They are most certainly not; they are the entryway for those who have not had the pleasure of reading a Sparks novel.
The films can entice you. I would say “The Longest Ride,” despite certain hesitations in plot and character flaws, is at least in the top five of the 10 film adaptations of Sparks’ novels.
As far as the bottom line goes, “The Longest Ride” will make for a good movie to watch on date night. It may even have the potential to ignite a spark on a blind date, who knows?
Story by John Gruccio, Contributing writer