The Choice full movie review - It's Nicholas Sparks, You either like these things or you don't
I'm about half way on the Nicholas Sparks Love ? Hate scale. I feel roughly the same when it comes to all of these movies.
I sit there, counting down the clichés and thinking about how it's the same god damn thing, but I'm not tearing my eyes out. I'm not going to attack people for liking it, demand my money back after seeing it or try to call Nicholas Sparks mean names. I mean hell, he's made eleven movies out of this gig, I guess he's doing something right. And yes The Choice feels the same, and it's not really anything new.
Nicholas Sparks based movies tend to not be too strongly centred around the actual story, but the characters. The world doesn't change around them, and the events effect nobody but the protagonists, but the relationship is why people bother in the first place. The Choice is no different and this is no surprise.
The movie tells the story of a girl who moves in next door to a guy, they annoy each other and initially sort-of dislike each other, then time goes on and eventually end up loving each other? Then some other stuff happens. Look the actual story is nothing new. Have you seen Safe Haven? The Last Song? Countless other movies in this genre? Then you've seen this. The difference in these movies are the actual characters, however trivial or gimmicky these differences may be.
Travis is a formulaic easy going guy with a southern accent and a cowboy attitude, he is loud and obnoxious and annoys the girl next door; Gabby, she's an intelligent woman who's interning to be a doctor? with some obligatory drama added in, these characters interact and we see their relationship grow throughout the film. This is used as an obligatory comparison between the two protagonists, as he's introduced partying and listening to rock and roll. There are also some side characters in the film who are simply not people in any sense of the word. They play along as 'Friend Number 1,' 'Friend number 2,' and 'friend 1's wife' and so on. They also seem have all of the free time in the world, can ditch their children whenever it's convenient and look like they're auditioning to advertise picnics on the cover of some magazine as they all smile for eternity and are nothing but absolutely perfect at having fun and partying. I'll keep my complaints here limited, as this isn't too big of a deal considering that they are side characters. Some other side characters with more depth however appear in the film too; Gabby's boyfriend from the beginning of the film Ryan is a doctor whose parents own the hospital where she and he work. (They all have relationships that are super complicated to explain in these movies!) He's predictably played off as some 'Villain' character even though he actually doesn't do anything wrong? The morals regarding this part of the story I personally find to be pretty messy? If anything, Gabby is the villain? Travis' family including his father and sister are also present. His sister doesn't really have a story of her own but acts as a catalyst for dialogue. His father has a sad and cute little story of his own thrown in for good measure as well.
The movie uses many open shots of lakes, beaches, stars and so on to romanticize everything in the film from something as prominent as the protagonists' relationship to even minor details. Everything looks perfect. This movie is like an advertisement. It glorifies its' settings, praises its' characters and unrealistically portrays a life of? perfectness. It's an advertisement. You want to have a relationship like this, you want to live in a place like this and you want to be as happy as all of the perfect people in the movie. Anything that does go wrong is soon shown as a good thing because it showed how much characters loved each other or it helped in some way that wasn't obvious at first.
The dialogue is cheesy, but the actors are competent enough and do sell the emotion. Especially on Benjamin Walker's part playing Travis, I admit he turned out to be pretty likable even after being initially unlikable. I even felt a little for him in the final act. Whether they are phoning it in or not, I believe that the actors do a good job here. Nothing ground-breaking in terms of film acting but nothing illusion breaking either.
The writing does feel is lazy, as we fall back into elements taken straight out of the ten previous installments of this 'franchise.' It's also extremely unbalanced. There is a part in the film where I could have sworn that could have been the ending and it would have been fine? But it just kept going? But if you just sit back and watch, it's a cute little film to see on (or around) valentine's day.
Being predictable, full of exaggerated emotion and attempting to be as romantic as can possible be, The Choice is a hit or miss. See it or not. If you don't see it you're certainly not missing out too much, but if you want to see it, then by all means see it and you'll get what you expect. It's better than Safe Haven and not as good as The Notebook. But honestly that's just splitting hairs. You've seen this before, but if it's your type of film, you'll probably enjoy it. Over all, I personally found the story to be somewhat lacking in originality, but the characters to be somewhat likable and the third act to be somewhat emotional despite being predictable and rushed. This movie's no masterpiece, but it's not offensive either. It's fine. And hey! This one has dogs! I like dogs! 5/10