"The Best of Me": The epitome of a Nicholas Spark's movie

By Lauren Miller
Online Associate Editor-in-Chief
Disclaimer: Going into this you should know I have seen any and every Nicholas Sparks book turned into a movie, some numerous times (In regard to the the Notebook, abouThe-Best-Of-Me-UK-Quad-Finalt nine times).
Before you even enter the theater, take a deep breathe, because you are about to face an onslaught of emotion. Now I want you to take another deep breathe; this one to prepare yourself for the overwhelming amount of twists and turns you are about to face. But these two things are not new, because when you boil it down almost all Nicholas Sparks movies are the same: melodramatic, desperate, young love.
The Best of Me is no different. Set in the Louisiana Bayou, (beautiful setting, just like all Nicholas Sparks movies) Dawson and Amanda were high school sweethearts who haven’t seen each other for 20 years. The movie opens in the present with the oil rig Dawson works on exploding. As he lays dying he looks into the stars and sees a vision of a high school Amanda, walking through the roses (which become a regular stapen of a way of expressing their love to each other throughout the movie). Then it cuts to Amanda, sitting on her back steps, looking into the stars as well and a pained look comes across her face. Obviously the pain Dawson is feeling she is feeling to, because that happens in real life.
After Dawson recovers from the accident, the death of their mutual acquaintance brings them back together. As the movie progresses and we learn their love story through flashbacks to 1992, leading up to why they eventually broke up (hint: it involves Dawson going to jail).
The entire thing has a vague feel of The Notebook, except remade with more action, like a Notebook 2.0, but worse.
Similar to The Notebook, Dawson comes from a poor background, but with an extremely troubled family and few friends (just like Noah). Amanda comes from a rich family with an asshole father and jerky friends (exactly like Allie). Coincidence, I think not. And go figure, Amanda’s family does not like white-trash Dawson so they try to pay him off, but their desperate and rushed love affair triumphs over all!
Another aspect that made me cringe was when Amanda said (regarding when Dawson refused to see her in jail), “I visited you every day for a month, and every week for a year.” Which is suspiciously similar to Noah’s declaration of love in The Notebook to Allie, “I wrote you everyday for a year!”
Now I like cliches, but this is over the top. The gorge-my-ears-out piano ballads, textbook characters, and multiple overly embellished love scenes are exceedingly predictable and almost boring. In 2004 when The Notebook came out such attributes in the movie was new and shiny, but now The Best of Me doesn’t even seem to try and recreate the cliches in an interesting way.
My other main problem is the ending, now I wont spoil it for you, but let me just say, it was terrible. They packed so much action and twists into the final 15 minutes that I felt like my head was spinning, all while I was uncontrollably sobbing because that always seems to happen regardless the Nicholas Sparks movie. That combination left me reeling and needing to process what I just witnessed and how much it emotionally drained me for at least 30 minutes after the movie.
That is not how I want to feel after leaving a Nicholas Sparks movie. I want to feel hopeful and believe that there actually is some slim possibility of my true love miraculously appearing in the five minutes following the movie (of course I know that is completely insane, but wouldn’t that make a good Nicholas Sparks movie? Falling in love after seeing a movie about love??).
Overall the rushed plot line, packed ending, and overly cliche moments really brought down the movie. I even found my self cringing at some of those parts. This is tough for me to admit, because in my eyes Nicholas Sparks could do no wrong, but The Best of Me simply does not stack up well against his other movies.