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Review: The Best Of Me is no masterpiece

By Paloma Sharma/Rediff.com
October 31, 2014 09:52 IST
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A scene from The Best Of MeThe Best of Me fits well enough in the genre to which it belongs and will obviously prove to be a major tearjerker for hopeless romantics.

The rest of us can only find it amusing, at best, says Paloma Sharma.


Depending on what side of the fence you're on, The Best of Me is either absolutely sparktastic or complete bullspark.

If you're a mush-a-holic, then Michael Hoffman's latest feature is for you.

Based on Nicholas Sparks' novel of the same name, The Best of Me is sure to tick all the prerequisite boxes.

However, fans be warned, it isn't nearly as moving as it's predecessors, The Notebook and Message in a Bottle.

Dawson Cole (Luke Bracey/James Marsden) is a 40-something mechanic who works on an oil rig and reads Stephen Hawkins in his free time.

Amanda Reynolds, née Collier (Liana Liberato/Michelle Monaghan) is a mother of two, married to a man who is conveniently a borderline alcoholic and a full time jerk.

The two might be perfect strangers today but 21 years ago, Dawson and Amanda were what teenage fairytales were made of.

The rich, popular (and obviously beautiful) Amanda was the polar opposite of low on luck (and self esteem) Dawson Cole, who belonged to a drug peddling, white trash, all-male family of criminals.

Yet, as fate would have it, the two fell in love.

Everything was perfect for a while. Nothing, it seemed, could pull them apart. Not even her wealthy, influential father. But what started as the most perfect day in their lives ended with them on different sides of a glass wall.

Twenty one years later, the two of them are practically strangers -- until they are forced to come together due to the death of a friend.

Repressed sexual tension fills the air as the forces that separated them decades ago come back to life.

Will young love get a second chance?

For starters, The Best of Me is horribly cast -- not because the actors are misfits for their characters but because the teenaged versions of the characters don't look even a bit like the grown up versions and it is distracting having to spend a good part of the film wondering,

"How did that turn into *that*?"

Nevertheless, both pairs have amazing chemistry, although one would be partial to the younger ones.

Young love divided by society has always appealed to almost everyone (probably because everyone can relate to it) and will continue to do so.

There is no doubt that The Best of Me's best parts lie in the flashbacks.

An extremely predictable and ill-adapted script mars the fun as you take a smooth, almost uninterrupted ride through the rural South with your iPod on and soft, soulful play music streaming in through your earphones.

However, when the climax finally arrives, The Best of Me falls flat on its face. For a genre film, this signifies disaster.

The last 20 minutes of the film are packed with melodrama that runs so fast you'd think it had a train to catch.

The Best of Me falters under the weight of the story that it suddenly realises it needs to tell after spending three fourths of it show casing fluff.

I have no particular reason to like The Best of Me and I have no particular reason to dislike it either.

This is, obviously, no masterpiece (and I secretly feel that Michael Hoffman is far too intelligent a person to be directing such insignificant films).

It isn't going to make you love/hate Nicholas Sparks any more than you already do.

The Best of Me fits well enough in the genre to which it belongs and will obviously prove to be a major tearjerker for hopeless romantics. The rest of us can only find it amusing, at best.

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Paloma Sharma/Rediff.com in Mumbai
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