There’s a formula to a Nicholas Sparks movie. First, you take two pretty white people. There has to be an obstacle that makes love between them impossible, but then they fall in love anyway. Then, an exploitative disaster happens that turns the romance into a tragedy. Someone has to die, and you have your movie.
In this movie, the pretty white people are Dawson Cole (James Marsden) and Amanda Collier (Michelle Monaghan). The obstacle is their family situations. Her family’s rich and he comes from a family of criminals. There’s even the obligatory scene where her father offers to pay Dawson if he’ll stay away from Amanda.
The love story is told mostly in flashback. Young Dawson (Luke Bracey) and young Amanda (Liana Liberato) meet in high school and fall in love, despite their differences. Early on, Dawson runs away from home and is taken in by Major Dad, I mean, Tuck (Gerald McRaney). Tuck’s wife died recently and taking in a runaway is exactly what he needs, I guess.
Tuck’s death is what brings old Dawson and Amanda back together. We know right away that they didn’t end up living happily ever after, so for most of the movie, we’re just waiting to find out why they split up. When we do find out, it’s because of … wait for it … a manipulative disaster where someone dies. Now that the late Tuck has arranged for old Dawson and Amanda to reconnect, will they fall back in love, or will they remain apart? Or will there be ANOTHER disaster where ANOTHER person will die?
I tried to cut this movie some slack … oh, who am I kidding. I knew the movie would suck, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s badly written, it’s manipulative, and it’s way too long. There’s a reveal in the last five minutes of the movie that had the entire theater laughing.
Nicholas Sparks is a menace and he needs to be stopped. Don’t waste your time seeing this movie.