Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

The Longest Ride

The Longest Ride
Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson, Jack Huston, Oona Chaplin, Alan Alda and Lolita Davidovich

Rated: PG-13 for some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action.
Reviewed by: Frank  
Release date: April 10, 2015 Released by: Fox 2000 Pictures

The Longest Ride is a flawed film that works. 

It could be called "The Hat" or even better "the Letters," but The Longest Ride drives our attention to the present day romance of Luke and Sophia (Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson).  They meet when she attends a bull riding rodeo event and gets to keep his hat, as he celebrates a successful ride.  Bull riding is his job from which he holds on to his father's farm that he and his mother (Lolita Davidovich) live on.  

There are two stories here the present on between Eastwood and Robertson and the story in the letters of Ira to Ruth (Jack Huston and Oona Chaplin) which begins in the early forties. They come together when Ira played as an old man by Alan Alda crashes his car, as it burns the two young lovers save him and the basket of letters. That begins a relationship between Ira and Sophia as she reads the letters which are addressed to Ruth and come from Ira for Ira as he recovers in a hospital bed.  

The romance which develops between the two contemporary young folks feels shallow we are manipulated by the difference between the two.  She is a top college student with a future in New York City in the art world.  He is a farmer and a bull rider and goes on a college campus for the first time when he has a date with Sophia.  They are physically attracted to each other but the nice guy from the farm and her sweet personality just don't work.  Some of the time it feels like bull.  

But the love story told in flashbacks from Ira's letters, which by the way are addressed to Ruth but don't appear to have been sent remain in Ira's wicker basket.  Beginning in about 1939, when Ruth comes to town and Ira sees her for the first time he is in love for the remainder of his life.  Their courtship is warm and pleasant to watch particularly as Ruth takes the lead because he is smitten but shy and fearful of approaching her.  In has father's shop and in the synagog he just stairs until she approaches him and asks him to walk her home.  They begin dating that evening. Their time together is a joy to watch. 

In the early forties he is off to fight in the army as most men his age did, he is wounded saving another soldier and it does permanent harm to his body.  Ruth want's children and when they don't come she attaches to a young boy in the class she is teaching who appears to be neglected.  That relationship eventually ends and she is despondent.  After a time away from Ira she returns and they travel through life together collecting art which they both enjoy.  The connection to the young lovers is cemented late in the film through an unexpected revelation and another action taken by Ira. 

We yearn for more of the story of Ira and Ruth and less of the bull rider and student.  The past has a major effect on Sophia and Luke and what their life will be like, but the rich part of the film is the earlier romance which is the best part of the film.  

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Dayra Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
The Longest Ride  B      C                     B- 

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