Famed author Nicholas Sparks is known for writing stories that pull at an audience’s heartstrings, so it’s no surprise that many go to the movie adaptations of his novels. However, reviews following the release of the new film this past weekend cast a dark shadow on the movie and its future. The Best of Me is the ninth big-screen adaptation for the king of literary romance, but the $10.2 million grossing opening was the lowest ever for an adaptation of his novels.
Based on the bestselling novel, The Best of Me follows the lives of two former high school sweethearts, Amanda (Michelle Monagham) and Dawson (James Marsden), who are drawn back to each other and to their hometown twenty years later following the death of a close friend. Their reunion recalls memories of their past and the events that drove them apart. It’s a movie about self-discovery and returning to bittersweet times past, as the two of them try to piece together their shattered feelings for one another as adults.
The movie/novel is reminiscent of many other Nicholas Sparks productions. The story is one of love, tragedy, loss and moving on. So if viewers are hoping to see something different from other Spark’s productions, they will most likely be disappointed. Even though 67% of movie- goers said they enjoyed the film, other film critiques such as the one by Rotten Tomatoes claim that only 8% of viewers liked the movie.
Relativity Media, the production company who has consistently teamed up with Nicholas Sparks Productions, issued a statement after many harsh reviews about the film. They stated, “We have had great success with Nicholas Sparks over the years…we are confident the film will play well over the coming weeks given its word of mouth and strong CinemaScore.”
Elements of the plot are certainly predictable, and the word melodrama comes to mind when watching the storyline unfold, but the movie still has depth and an interesting story that appeals to different generations, along with some unexpected twists. As long as viewers go in hopes of just enjoying a good film and aren’t expecting an epic romance to rival them all, they should be pleased and just might come out of the theater a little teary eyed.