Step right up and get ready to ride the bull.
Nicholas Sparks, one of the best romance novelists of this generation, has had 10 of his bestselling novels converted into films. “The Longest Ride,” directed by George Tillman Jr., is Sparks’ latest blockbuster film and the best one yet.
“The Longest Ride” is a love story about two young adults who live in opposite worlds: Luke, a professional bull rider, and Sophia, an art student. Luke and Sophia became close friends with an elderly man named Ira, after they saved his life from a horrific crash. Ira tells the story of his relationship with his spouse Ruth, which was a similar experience to Luke and Sophia’s love.
The way Sparks writes his romantic stories gives the readers mixed emotions. In a good way. On these terms, “The Longest Ride” had the viewers feel intense emotions of anger, sadness and satisfaction – the emotions felt when in love.
The story had the audience wanting the same relationship as Luke (Scott Eastwood) and Sophia (Brittany Robertson). The characters had affection for each other, like those displayed in fairy tales. Luke cared about Sophia as a best friend and a lover. The fact that he is such a gentleman made Sophia want him even more.
Their love is like any other of Sparks’ romantic novels. The boy gets the girl, they fight and they fall in love unexpectedly, but it pries between the characters’ love story and the memories of Ira (Alan Alda)’s love story.
When it comes to acting on the big screen, Eastwood and Robertson delivered as if characters Luke and Sophia were roles they were born to play.
Eastwood’s good looks and natural country boy scruff, was an excellent choice for the role of Luke. Robertson played Sophia making her character seem innocent. Robertson seemed to relate herself to Sophia, which made her a perfect fit for the character. As if Eastwood and Robertson had lifted the persona of their character directly from the imagination of the reader.
The film did lack big effects, even when they seemed necessary. Transitions between the present day scenes of Luke and Sophia, and the flashback of Ira and Ruth, were performed with the most basic of cross-dissolves.
The bull riding scenes had the camera moving along with the bull jumping around. Giving the audience a first person bull riding experience. Had the camera, instead, remained stationary the scene would have lacked a special touch. The simple inclusion of a mobile camera made what may have been a throwaway scene the most memorable of the movie.
Overall, “The Longest Ride” was an enjoyable movie. It may even be the best romantic story ever written by Nicholas Sparks.
Filled with passion, the film evokes emotion the entire duration of the movie.
Sit back, balance yourself and enjoy the ride.