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DVD Review – The Best of Me

2 min read

Ah, tragic love. Nicholas Sparks knows all about it. It is basically the theme of all his bestselling books that have been adapted to screen and The Best of Me is no exception.

The Best Of Me DVDStarring James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan, The Best of Me is a standard poor-boy-meets-rich-girl love story with few surprises. Dawson and Amanda meet, a series of awkward interludes follow until they embark on a torrid high school love affair that is cut short via a tragic twist of fate.

20 years later, they return to their small hometown for the funeral of a mutual friend. Predictably, their unexpected reunion reignites their love and they embark on a brief yet passionate love affair. Although Dawson and Amanda’s love is obviously true, once they’re finally reunited they realize that the only logical thing for Amanda to do is return to her absent, alcoholic husband as staying in her unhappy marriage is ‘the right thing to do’.

Wait…what?

This defeatist behaviour completely goes against Amanda’s character, which is initially set up as a hard-headed, strong young woman who sees what she wants and goes after it. Sadly she loses all these character traits when she loses Dawson.

The first half of the film is arguably the best but the red flags quickly emerge when we meet Dawson’s hillbilly, drug-running family who could be extras from Call of the Wild Man (TurtleMan). Cliché after cliché ensue while the actors struggle to keep the film grounded in reality. But despite their efforts, the plot continues to unravel until finally descending into predictable farce that makes you want to throw popcorn at the screen…and also cry…a lot.

While the scenes are mostly overblown and melodramatic and the story is driven by a sequence of plot devices rather than an organic narrative, it is a very romantic film and there are moments of sweetness. Plus, looking at James Marsden’s face for two hours is not the worst thing that could ever happen to you. That’s a good face to have. It’s just a pity that it bears no resemblance to his younger self (Bracey). Dawson Cole doesn’t have a cent to his name for most of the film but all of a sudden he’s managed to afford drastic plastic surgery? So many questions, but ah, love!

The Best of Me doesn’t really contain the best of Sparks’ work and if you’re expecting The Notebook, prepare to be disappointed. It is also heavy on the violence for a romantic drama so maybe think twice before taking your grandma along. But if you’re after a no-surprises romantic drama with all the feels and a therapeutic cry, then this is the flick for you.

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