"Every time I watch a Nicholas Sparks adaptation, I think I die a little on the inside."
-Anyone with sense, 2014
Another Nicolas Sparks romantic drama makes its way onto cinema screens to exploit the vulnerable and make everyone else retch and writhe in agony at the film's existence.
As expected, this is very much like every other Sparks adaptation. Though, if you want more detail, it comes off like he is attempting a version of 'Endless Love', just minus the unintentionally amusing stuff about the psychotic father of the female protagonist and with the addition of all this corny talk about destiny and being there for a reason (which, interestingly, is what 'Annabelle' also touches upon. Oh, how this film could have done with a possessed doll. Though I'd rather Chucky appeared as he is more likely to kill off everybody in this faster than Annabelle).
At the heart of this loathsome romance is a pathetic duo who were once high-school lovers but haven't seen each other for 20 (oh, I mean 21, but who's counting?) years. But they still apparently are very much in love because... destiny... or something. Well, at least Sparks isn't recycling ghost-wife for this story.
The film starts with the older versions of our protagonists moping about something or other. Amanda (Michelle Monaghan) is apparently in an unhappy marriage. You see, the husband isn't shown as the nicest guy. He obviously has to be shown that way to show how perfect the male protagonist is. But, as this is a Sparks adaptation, it isn't done in a subtle or carefully handled way. The male protagonist here goes by the name of Dawson (James Marsden), and he starts the film on an oil rig as a well-liked employee. But disaster strikes and he plays the superhero before being blasted off into the water. He survives and is told that this is a miracle because he should have either a) drowned or b) been killed on impact with the water. A pity, really.
Both lovers are then summoned to where they used to live as teenagers to deal with the will of a dead friend. It is here where they re-Spark their romance and we are privy to their past. Amanda has rich parents while Dawson is the son of an abusive father who deals in drugs or such. For whatever reason (destiny), Amanda and Dawson immediately feel attracted to each other (makes life easier) and they start hanging out with each other. Nothing can split them apart... until some more bad stuff happens in a typically Sparksy way (I really hope no-one takes what he does seriously as it is always the same to the point of it being a joke). And then even more bad stuff happens when they're the older versions of themselves. But worry not! It all works out in a way you can see miles away but I think we're still meant to find touching. Why does it all work out? Because... DESTINY! And because this is Nicholas Sparks and true love conquers all! Mwahahahahaaaaaaaa!
I'm not sure if it is a good thing or not, but the film was exactly what I thought it would be. Hey, I'm glad it wasn't worse. *shudder* I dread to think what the film would have looked like if that was the case. As with other Sparks adaptations, this was bland and boring. The characters/stereotypes/caricatures have no personality and are restricted to minimal attributes to suit this shallow romance. It's also all done in typical fashion.
Yet none of that should be a surprise. You should know exactly what you're getting when you watch one of these films. Sparks fans will lap it up (poor souls) while the non-converted will remain as they were. I thought it was a highly unpleasant experience and I'd advise you to steer clear of it.
Oh my goodness, it's painful to even just watch the trailer again.