The Longest Ride

WRITTEN BY: Craig Bolotin
DIRECTED BY: George Tillman Jr
STARRING: Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson, Alan Alda, Oona Chaplin, Jack Huston
RATING: 3.5 stars

Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood) is a competitive bull rider making a comeback after a severe injury. When he meets Sophia Danko (Britt Robertson) they immediately start to develop feelings for each other. The only problem is that Sophia is planning to move to New York for an internship in two months. While on a date, the pair spot a car crash and pull elderly man Ira Levinson (Alan Alda) from the wreckage. Sophia starts to spend time with Ira in hospital and they bond as he recounts his own love story as a young man (Jack Huston) with his now deceased wife Ruth (Oona Chaplin).

At the very least, the world will forever be thankful to Hollywood for giving us Eastwood's naked chest and backside in The Longest Ride. At the end of the screening I attended, people cheered and clapped but it was perhaps more to do with Eastwood's sex appeal than the film itself. That is not to say that the film was not good. In fact, it had all the typical Nicholas Sparks romance and sweetness that we have come to expect from film adaptations of his novels. So, if that is appealing to you, then you will surely enjoy this film. The two sets of couples had great chemistry too, and Chaplin in particular gave a captivating performance. However, unlike the book, which made me cry, the film only had me shedding a few brief tears. That is probably because a lot of the substance and depth of the characters' struggles were lost in the film as writer Craig Bolotin tried to crunch the story down for the simplicity of film. It was also told in a different way to the novel and some sub-plots were left out completely. Despite all of that, director George Tillman Jr. stretched the film out to just over two hours and that was more than it needed. Nonetheless, the cinematography captures the beauty of the landscape and the story itself is romantically uplifting.