Cast: Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson, and Alan Alda
Directed by: George Tillman Jr.
Written by: Craig Bolotin
Based on: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
Producers: Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, Theresa Park, and Nicholas Sparks
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Based on the bestselling novel by master storyteller Nicholas Sparks, The Longest Ride centers on the star-crossed love affair between Luke, a former champion bull rider looking to make a comeback, and Sophia, a college student who is about to embark upon her dream job in New York City’s art world. As conflicting paths and ideals test their relationship, Sophia and Luke make an unexpected connection with Ira, whose memories of his own decades-long romance with his beloved wife deeply inspire the young couple. Spanning generations and two intertwining love stories, The Longest Ride explores the challenges and infinite rewards of enduring love.
I really wanted to see this movie because I read The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks when it was published in 2013. I loved it because it didn't feel like your typical Nicholas Sparks romance. It was different, and that is also the case when it comes to the film adaptation; it just has a different feel to it. It's refreshing when compared to his other popular film adaptations like The Notebook, Dear John, and Safe Haven.
The Longest Ride will appeal to many of today's young and old movie goers because of the two very different love stories that become entwined. There is a little bit of the classic that we all saw and loved in The Notebook but the romance of Luke and Sophia is one to remember because it's cute in a dorky kind of way. There are moments between the two that will make audience members melt, but there are also some hilarious moments that provide comedic relief and it they make the couple seem very real.
I've been a fan of Britt Robertson for a while now, and I think she made a fine Sophia Danko. She made Sophia's character more enjoyable for me because I just don't remember connecting with her when I read the book. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely a few moments when her character felt a bit off when compared to the book and where her acting is just a bit awkward, but she did a fine job. Scott Eastwood also does well in his role as Luke Collins, and I don't think they could have picked a better young man for the part. He's the perfect blend of country, serious, and adorable. But the actor who steals the movie is definitely Alan Alda who plays Ira. He was just perfect, and had me cracking up with pretty much every line he delivered!
There are quite a few noticeable differences between the book and film, and I found that I really liked how many of them played out, especially the movie's ending. The alterations did not change the plot or the feel, but they do give the movie a life of its own. There was only one change that annoyed me, and it wasn't even a big one - just a name change.
The movie's soundtrack is also very enjoyable. It's pretty much all country music, and it made me very happy because it all felt perfectly placed in relation to the plot and scenes. There are a few familiar voices (to me) but also a few new ones that I enjoyed discovering.
So if you've been thinking about seeing The Longest Ride but aren't sure because of just how big Nicholas Sparks has become, give it a chance. It's a wonderfully bittersweet and enjoyable movie that will probably change your opinion on how Nicholas Sparks movies will be seen.