Michelle Monaghan (Made of Honor), seems to be in everything I am watching at the moment, review coming tomorrow of her film Playing it Cool where she stars alongside Chris Evans, and I just started watching True Detective which she also stars in. But the first thing I saw her in was most recently was The Best of Me. Now I am a sucker for a Nicholas Sparks novel and movie adaptation, The Notebook and Walk to Remember are two of my favourite romantic dramas.
I’ve read a lot of his books, even stopped off to some of the towns where they are set on my road trip around America. But I hadn’t read any recently, until Safe Haven was coming out, I picked up the book to read in advance of watching the film, and I was pleased with the adaptation, so I decided to do the same with The Best of Me.
The Best of Me is the story of Amanda and Dawson, two high school sweethearts, who after an accident Dawson goes to prison and they break up. Amanda goes on to get married and have a family, but Dawson, lives his life like he doesn’t deserve a good one. They both are called back to their hometown when a close friend dies and they finally meet some 20 years later and realise that the love between them is still there.
I absolutely loved the book, there was a great mix of drama and excitement, and of could with Sparks, sadness. But the film seemed to cut a lot out, thinking that just focusing on their love was enough, but I think the film lost the uniqueness of the book and just became a generic and predicable romantic drama.
In the book, Dawson kills a late night runner, but even though the accident wasn’t his fault, he still blames himself. He almost dies himself after an accident on an oil rig, but a ghost of a man helps him. Amanda’s alcoholic husband shows she has an unhappy life at home and her happy family isn’t all its believed to be, but her relationship with her mother means she doesn’t feel that she has anyone she can truly open up to. We see Dawson is a decent guy, who supports the family of the man he killed, and tries to help others in the town, all down to his surname as he knows he is from a bad family and therefore he believes that no matter how much good he does it is never enough. These moments are lost or changed in the film, yet I think they were important parts of the story.
But that aside, had I not read the book, I would have thought this was a beautiful tale of love that can never be. Amanda, played by Michelle Monaghan has wonderful chemistry with Dawson, played by James Marsden (The Notebook). The younger Amanda, played by Liana Liberato (If I Stay) and the young Dawson, played by Luke Bracey (Home and Away)are also great and the star crossed teens, but I’m sorry, Luke Bracey looks more like a young Heath Ledger than James Marsden. I’m also pretty sure he has dark blue/brown eyes to James Marsden’s ice blue eyes. So for me that wasn’t great casting. Perhaps because they are only 20 years apart, that it just would have been better to have the main cast look younger with so post production.
I’m hoping that The Longest Ride lives up to expectations, it stars Clint Eastwood’s son Scott! It hits cinemas next week. The Best of Me is out on DVD and Blu-Ray now.
Image sources: nicholassparks.com / moviesharkdeblore.com
The Best of Me
A great film if you haven't read the book, if you have you will be a little underwhelmed.