‘The Best of Me’ movie review
By Lauren Paulsen, Senior Columnist
Nicholas Sparks is a well-known author whose novels have been adapted into film, one of the most popular being The Notebook. After seeing several of these movies, I decided I wanted to read one of his novels and chose The Best of Me. When I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. It was, to put it plainly, a masterpiece of literature. I was in awe of Sparks’ way with words. So when I heard that The Best of Me was coming to the big screen, I knew immediately I wanted to go and see it. I’m happy to say, it didn’t disappoint.
The Best of Me is about two high school sweethearts, Dawson and Amanda, reuniting after many years due to the death of a mutual friend. Past and present are weaved together beautifully. We know something goes wrong in their relationship as teenagers because they are leading separate lives in the present, so it compels us to keep watching and find out more. Even after that is answered, there remains the question of whether or not they get back together after many years.
Dawson is played by James Marsden (who played Scott Summers in the X-Men movies) and younger Dawson played by Luke Bracey. Amanda is played by Michelle Monaghan (who is known mainly for her roles in action movies such as The Bourne Supremacy) and younger Amanda by Liana Liberato. All of the actors did very well in their roles. I especially liked Bracey’s performance of a smart, quiet, and somewhat socially inept Dawson who doesn’t come from the best circumstances and doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. I also liked Liberato’s performance as bubbly, energetic, well-to-do Amanda who has everything planned out for herself.
If I had to pick one downside to the movie, it would be that older Dawson and younger Dawson do not look at all alike. Despite enjoying both Marsden and Bracey’s performances, I found it jarring enough that it bugged me for the first half of the movie. I usually expect when an actor is cast as a younger version of a main character that he will at least look similar. After browsing reviews on the Internet about the movie, it seems I am not alone in my feelings about this.
If you are a fan of Sparks’ work, or enjoy romance, you should definitely watch this movie. I feel that even the unromantic among us could walk away pleased after this performance. On the other hand, if you haven’t enjoyed any of Sparks’ other movie adaptations, this one may not be for you. As for myself, I look forward to reading more of Sparks’ books and seeing them adapted into movies.