A Very Very Long Ride
Directed by George Tillman Jr (Faster, Notorious), The Longest Ride is the 10th Nicholas Sparks movie adaption! The film stars Britt Robertson (Tomorrowland, The First Time), Scott Eastwood (Fury, Gran Torino), Alan Alda (The Aviator, M*A*S*H), Jack Huston (American Hustle, Outlander) and Oona Chaplin (Quantum of Solace, What If). 'After an automobile crash, the lives of a young couple intertwine with a much older man, as he reflects back on a past love'. Will The Longest Ride follow the dreaded footsteps of the other Nicholas Sparks adaptions? (minus a few exceptions)
I really think The Longest Ride is an 'iffy' movie - its definitely not great but its not terrible either. In comparison with the other 2015 romantic drama - I definitely prefer this. However, the running time was way too long for this type of movie - it could have been cut down by 20-30 minutes. Yes, it follows the same formula as every other Sparks adaption but I just think it has a heartwarming feel that makes it watchable and at times likeable. The Longest Ride is definitely not a masterpiece and has a lot of problems but it is a pleasant surprise as its a lot better than I was expecting.
Like I mentioned before, the film follows the formula of every other Sparks adaption - Yes, there is a death but I won't spoil it for you but you can kind of see it coming. However, I really liked how there were two parallel stories occurring and how they both related/were pretty similar. One of the stories is set in the olden days and the other is of present day - it basically gives you an insight on what the same relationship would be under different circumstances (The war and present day). Both stories were 'sweet' but I definitely preferred the story set in present day as I found them characters more likeable. I also felt the marketing of the film has misled audiences as I'm pretty sure the other story was omitted or very discrete in any of the trailers (a lot like the young brunette girl in Tomorrowland). The story also had some pretty dumb moments that aren't explained very well but they are generally forgivable.
I have 3 things that I really liked about the film. The first is the soundtrack which I thought went perfectly with the western setting and was just really well chosen/scored. My favourite song that was used is 'Wildfire' which I have added to my Spotify playlist because I like it that much! The second thing I really liked is Britt Robertson - during certain moments, I was like 'this girl doesn't have much diversity - she is basically playing the same character she's played before' but then she had to show emotion and I was really impressed - I thought she did a really good job and really had the best performance in the film. The third thing that I really liked is that the film was comedic at times - I especially enjoyed the moment where Sophia (Robertson) accidentally walks into a ditch and gets soaked!
Even though I believe Robertson put on a good show, good performances also came from Alda, Huston and Chaplin. The only cast member that makes the acting bar lower for this film is Scott Eastwood - he had some really charming moments but he also had some very wooden moments which made his performance not really consistent.
The film tries to be emotional at times but I feel that they mostly fail - yes, the idea of what is happening on screen is sad but I believe that it is not executed very well. Compared to films like 'The Fault in Our Stars', this had a very little impact.
The Longest Ride is quite forgettable - I doubt I'll remember it in a few months time. The story has so many loose ends and is a little dumb. Also, the ending is nearly as far fetched as Safe Haven's ending - all of a sudden the couple have a happy ending - that 'amazing' feeling is also not executed very well which made it just seem a little random and unrealistic. The biggest issue with the film is its running time though and that made me lose my attention at certain points because I'd been seeing the same relationships develop for over 2 hours and was pretty bored of them towards the end.
The film also has a major scene that I completely disliked as it was a prime example of the male gaze theory. Robertson's character became completely objectified for about 15 minutes. This lowered the quality/rating of the film and could have probably been executed better or not included at all.
The Longest Ride is a generally likeable film and is definitely watchable. However, the movie doesn't explain some key points and is very generic. It will please its target audience as the relationships are very sweet and dreamy. Robertson puts on a great performance and saves the movie from a lower rating. I can't really moan about the running time because they kind of warned us by the title - if a film was a ride, this would be the longest and slowest one ever!