Sparks hits another high note with fans

by Jessica Snyder

The latest movie by Nicholas Sparks is almost exactly what you expect. Except, it’s not as tragic. “The Longest Ride” is a long ride for viewers with a run time of 139 minutes. This is awesome for Sparks’ fans, but not so much for those who are over the romantic love stories.

Two stories unfold in the newest film.

There’s a love story beginning to blossom between Sophia Danko (Britt Robertson) and Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood) that falls short of the usual Sparks romance charm. Luke is a bull rider, Sophia a passionate student studying art. Their love takes shape just before Sophia is set to move to New York for her dream internship. Eastwood does a fabulous job in his portrayal of Luke Collins. He pulls off the chivalrous country boy like he’s been doing it his whole life. Robertson is a little more awkward in her role. That is hard for me to say, as I am a big fan. She giggles way too much.

The true beauty of this film is in the relationship between Ira and Ruth Levinson. Luke and Sophia rescue Ira (Alan Alda) from a burning car at the end of their first date. Ira insists that Sophia get a box as he is pulled from the car.

Just before the car explodes, Sophia pulls the box from the car. Later at the hospital, she sees the box is full of letters. She reads these letters to Ira, as his eyesight is not so great anymore.

The letters tell the story of young Ira (Jack Huston) and the object of his affection, Ruth (Oona Chaplin.)

The shining star in this movie is Chaplin. She plays Ruth in such a way that not only does Ira fall in love with her, but so does the audience. Alda and Huston also both do a fine job in their roles.

The meat and heart of this story shine with Ira and Ruth. The audience gets a sense that this is the secondary story, but it is the only one that captures the heart. The two stories become intertwined when we learn Ruth had a passion for art.

Ruth and Ira both have heart-wrenching choices to make in this film.

Sophia’s choice is a disappointment. Does she stay in town with her new boyfriend who won’t give up bull riding after a life-threatening injury or does she travel to New York for an unpaid internship. Neither choice seems life changing.

Overall, I would give this film a B. It made me smile, laugh and cry. If movies can pull these emotions out of people, they are doing a good job. My only real criticism is that I would have loved to see more of Ira and Ruth, and a little less of Sophia and Luke.

“The Longest Ride” is PG-13 and the two brief sex scenes are tastefully done. pic

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