Film Review: The Longest Ride

346-film-page-large

The Longest Ride Plot Summary:

Former bull-riding champion Luke (Scott Eastwood) and college student Sophia (Britt Robertson) are in love, but conflicting paths and ideals threaten to tear them apart: Luke hopes to make a comeback on the rodeo circuit, and Sophia is about to embark on her dream job in New York’s art world. As the couple ponder their romantic future, they find inspiration in Ira (Alan Alda), an elderly man whose decades-long romance with his beloved wife withstood the test of time. (Source: Wikipedia)

“You keep it.”

Photo credit:  Michael Tackett.
Photo credit: Michael Tackett.

That’s the one line that is certain to catapult Scott Eastwood to superstardom and heartthrob status. His character, Luke Collins, is a good ol’ Southern bull rider with chiseled looks and boyish charm. As the wholesome Sophia (Robertson) attempts to return his hat after he looses it at a bull-riding match, he delivers that one line and that’s all she wrote. Mark my words; Scott Eastwood is here to stay.

The latest film from romance favorite, Nicholas Sparks, The Longest Ride is a charming love story that is very enjoyable. While it is certainly no Titanic or Casablanca, it certainly compensates for last year’s The Best of Me and 2010’s Dear John.  In typical Nicholas Sparks fashion, the film is set in modern day South Carolina. It chronicles the blossoming relationship of Sophia and Luke. Sophia is an art student at Uni and Luke is a champion bull rider on the mend from a devastating bull riding accident. Polar opposites, Sophia and Luke not only deal with their feelings towards each other but also must strive to prolong their relationship despite the fact that Sophia is soon leaving for New York City.

The film becomes much more interesting, thankfully, when Lucas and Sophia rescue an elderly man one evening from a car accident. Sophia befriends the man, Ira, and routinely visits him in the hospital. She reads love letters from the man’s younger days aloud and the film becomes a two-part love story of Luke and Sophia and a 1940s couple, Ira and Ruth.

Photo Credit:  Michael Tackett.
Photo Credit: Michael Tackett.

Cinematically speaking, the film is beautiful with its scenic footage of rural South Carolina and enchanting flashback sequences. While The Longest Ride is a love story, it refrains from becoming overly melodramatic and mushy. It also has an uplifting ending, unlike former Sparks film adaptations.

The cast is worth taking note of. While there isn’t too much depth to the role of leading man, Luke Collins, Scott Eastwood (Fury) brings life into the character. Perhaps it’s his Clint Eastood-esqu features or his ability to be both sexy and innocent, Eastwood is following in his father’s foot steps-talented and nearly impossible to not gawk over. Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle), who will soon be seen in Disney’s Tomorrowland, is the highlight of the film. Unlike the typical Sparks heroine, Robertson’s character, Sophia, is confident and headstrong and isn’t afraid to chase after the man she loves.  Alan Alda, who portrays Ira, has certainly aged but still brings the warmth and charm to his performance just as he did in MASH.  While Eastwood and Robertson may be the lovers, the relationship between Alda and Roberston is an equally as beautiful love story just of different circumstances.

Bottom line: For those loyal Sparks fans and those who favor romantic dramas, The Longest Ride is a quaint little romance film with solid performances and beautiful scenery. This film is worth-seeing but don’t look for any Oscar nods here. But, for two hours The Longest Ride serves its purpose well, it entertains.

Rating: 7 out of 10

===========================================================================================
Mallory Delchamp is a writer, model, and performer living in Manhattan. You can routinely read her film and music reviews here on Pop-Break and you can also check out her work on zumic.com and nytheatreguide.com. A social media and pop culture enthusiast, Mallory also enjoys musical theatre, superhero films, and drinking coffee. You can visit Mallory at her website, www.mallorydelchamp.com
===========================================================================================