Nicholas Sparks' novels have similar themes and his latest romantic drama is no different. This is the ninth of his books adapted ( A Walk To Remember, The Notebook) and it follows a young couple falling in love, separating and then reuniting 21 years later.
Set in Louisiana, it stars James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan as Dawson Cole and Amanda, They play the adult couple who return to their hometown when a mutual friend (Gerald McRaney) wills them his house. Through flashbacks we see how the couple meet, fall in love and eventually part ways. Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato play the couple as teens.
Young Dawson is a brooding, good guy that loves to fix cars. He lives in a shack with his older brothers and abusive father who knocks him around because he's not interested in being part of their drug business. Amanda is a bubbly, pretty teen with her life planned out. Her family has money and she's heading to college. She knows what she wants and encourages Dawson to apply to college also, but he has his family to deal with first.
You know that this couple is doomed, even without reading the book. She has it all, and Dawson is plagued by tragedies ( none of his own doing - just a result of his unfortunate circumstances). The only one who seems to be rooting for the couple to mak
e it, is their friend Tuck (McRaney, who gives a good performance as a decent, caring father-figure).
Marsden and Monaghan are pretty good actors, but the script is too much for them to overcome. There are too many things going on here, numerous fights, accidents, a shooting and tears, and to top it off Director Michael Hoffman gives us a very predictable ending.