The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

The Best of Me | James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Gerald McCraney, Sean Bridges | Review

Submit to DeliciousSubmit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TechnoratiSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

2sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is BAD Judy Thorburn

judy-thorburn-editorLas Vegas Round The Clock -
Women's Film Critic Circle -
Nevada Film Critics Society -
Nevada Film Alliance -
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is BAD


The Best of Me

Nicholas Spark's best selling book of the same name comes to the screen from an adaptation co-written by Sparks, under the lackluster direction of Michael Hoffman.  If you are among the millions of fans of Spark's novels and have seen the subsequent film adaptations, you basically know what to expect, which is more of the same schmaltzy, tear jerking romantic tale Sparks has built a reputation for writing.

The Best of Me, follows Dawson Cole (James Marsden) and Amanda Collier (Michelle Monaghan) two former high school sweethearts that reunite after 20 years in the small Louisiana town they grew up in for the reading of a beloved friend's will. The reunion rekindles the love between the couple, but it is hampered by the interference of Dawson's troublesome, no good father (Sean Bridges) and two brothers, and the fact that Amanda is a married woman with a teenage son.

The story flashes back and forth in time from when they first met and started their romance as teens in 1992, to the present. Dawson, a hunky, laid back, poor boy, comes from a white trash, loser family of criminals. Amanda is the aggressive, pretty rich girl that pulls no punches and goes after whatever she wants, with her mind set on Dawson, in spite of her parents' disapproval. After leaving home to get away from the physical and verbal abuse by his low life dad,  Dawson finds refuge and is taken in by good guy, Tuck (Gerald McCraney)  a widower, who becomes his protective mentor and surrogate father.  McCraney turns in a good solid performance and is the film's only redeeming value.

Without giving much away, eventually a freak accidental death leads to Dawson serving some time in prison and Amanda, forced to move on, winds up becoming a wife and mother.

From the onset, the casting and execution is saddled with problems and disbelief beginning with the ridiculous, almost laughable casting of the younger versions of the two leads that look nothing like their older counterparts.  Luke Bracey is a hottie, but he does not, even remotely, resemble James Marsden to play the younger version of his character. And Liana Liberato looks more like a blonde version of a young Lynda Carter (TV's Wonder Woman) than Michelle Monaghan.

The Best of Me is yet another romantic drama laden with stereotypes, cliches, contrived situations, cheesy dialogue and sentimentality, and an element of tragedy.

I am not ashamed to say I love a good, well executed romantic tale, but I have had my fill of Spark's same old formula, especially one that is bland, boring and a predictable snoozer. Regardless of talk about a miracle and destiny, or the dramatic twist at the end (which I saw coming and was no surprise) that figure into the scenario, only the most avid, faithful fans of Spark's novels will find this film appealing. The way I see it, the emotionally riveting, well acted and executed, The Notebook was certainly Spark's best film and The Best of Me is his worst to date.


You are here: Home Judy Thorburn The Best of Me | James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Gerald McCraney, Sean Bridges | Review