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The Best of Me Movie Review

Reviewed by on Oct 17, 2014
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews The Best of Me, a romance dealing with the reunion of a teen couple twenty years later. Is it worth a trip to the Cineplex for you, your date or BFFs?

By: Lynn Barker

Amanda and Dawson are teens crazy in love. He’s from a nutball, white trash, lowlife family and she’s a rich girl with a doting dad. Gee, why do I think this relationship won’t run smoothly?

Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato as Dawson and AmandaLuke Bracey and Liana Liberato as Dawson and AmandaCourtesy of Relativity Media

The Accident

Dawson Cole (played by James Marsden and, as a teen, by hot Aussie Luke Bracey) survives an explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf while dreaming about Amanda (Michelle Monaghan and Liana Liberato), the lost love of his life. He looks dreamily at the stars. Back home in Louisiana, so does she. She’s now married with a college-bound teen son and a boring husband who barely talks to her.

Young Dawson hands Amanda a love tokenYoung Dawson hands Amanda a love tokenCourtesy of Relativity Media

The Return Home

When Tuck (Gerald McRaney), old friend to young lovers Dawson and Amanda dies, he has the duo summoned back home. He has left them a beloved retreat which happens to be the cottage where the young couple first hooked up 21 years before. He wants them to scatter his ashes there. Dawson obviously still loves Amanda but she is struggling against her feelings for him.

Adult Dawson and Amanda get ready for a road tripAdult Dawson and Amanda get ready for a road tripCourtesy of Relativity Media

The 1990’s Backstory

While the current versions of Amanda and Dawson try to figure out their reunion feelings, we learn that, as a teen, she was attracted to him but he had zero idea how to flirt. He cared but was dealing with the physical and verbal abuse of his low life, criminal dad (Sean Bridgers) and older bros and didn’t want to involve the upper crusty, college-bound Amanda. She encouraged smart Dawson to go to college as well.

Young Dawson and Amanda in a tense momentYoung Dawson and Amanda in a tense momentCourtesy of Relativity Media

After one especially rough abuse session, Dawson left home and was taken in by garage owner Tuck who treated him like a son. Tuck encouraged Amanda and Dawson’s growing relationship but her dad made it clear to Dawson that he wasn’t good enough for her. None-the-less, she continued to date him and they were prom-bound until Dawson’s dad, angry that Dawson escaped him and that Tuck took him in, beat Tuck up. Furious, Dawson took Tuck’s gun and, accompanied by his best pal Bobby (Robby Rasmussen), went to confront dad. Instead, in a struggle, Bobby was accidentally killed. Dawson went to jail for eight years and refused to let Amanda even visit him. He forced her to move on. She’s never forgiven him.

Amanda and Dawson dance in the headlightsAmanda and Dawson dance in the headlightsCourtesy of Relativity Media

The Present

Having fallen deeply in love….again, Dawson and Amanda spend a blissful time at the old cottage but she must return to her son and husband. Later, realizing that she can never love her husband as much as Dawson, Amanda lets him know that she’s changed her mind. Can the two star-crossed lovers be finally reunited? Will fate and destiny work in their favor?

Adult Amanda with her teen sonAdult Amanda with her teen sonCourtesy of Relativity Media

Wrapping Up

Although both sets of actors in The Best of Me have chemistry and do some believable acting, it’s the predictable and just impossible plot that makes it hard to give in to the emotions that audience members are manipulated to feel.  You catch yourself going “Yeah, like THAT would happen”. Novelist Nicholas Sparks chalks up his plot to fate or destiny etc. in which, evidently, everything conveniently falls into place as he wills.

Amanda and Dawson feel like kids againAmanda and Dawson feel like kids againCourtesy of Relativity Media

The bad guy Cole clan (Dawson’s criminal dad and brothers) are just beyond cardboard evil with no shadings of humanity. They are almost cartoon baddies. Luke Bracey, while certainly hunky, looks way older than a teenager and doesn’t bear any resemblance to the older Dawson played by cute James Marsden. Both actors, not too shabby in the six-pack department, strut their abs while working on cars or gardening but, like the plot, it’s too easy to figure out that shirt removal is one more manipulation of at least the female audience.

Amanda reads a letter from old friend TuckAmanda reads a letter from old friend TuckCourtesy of Relativity Media

One of the best things about the tear-jerker film is Gerald McRaney’s portrayal of Tuck; a curmudgeonly lovable, lonely man who is friend and benefactor to the young couple. His humor and later deep feelings about Dawson and Amanda really ring true.

Young Amanda and Dawson share a sunny dayYoung Amanda and Dawson share a sunny dayCourtesy of Relativity Media

Plenty of tears might be shed and romantic feelings shared if you can get over being manipulated by an impossible plot. We go 3 stars.

The Best of Me Movie Rating:3

The Best of Me Movie PosterThe Best of Me Movie PosterCourtesy of Relativity Media

The Best of Me is in theaters now!


Have Your Say

Will you see The Best of Me in theaters? What is your favorite Nicholas Sparks movie? Comment below and let us know!