Nicholas Sparks stories are hit-or-miss with me. I really enjoyed The Notebook (2004), but I can’t think off the top of my head any other novels written by him I’ve liked since. Some of the books, I’ve found, have plots that are a little too over-the-top for me.
In the case of The Notebook, I much preferred the movie over the book. In the case of The Longest Ride, however, I much preferred the book. In fact, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the book, even though most of the events that took place in the story seemed incredibly unrealistic.
The film version ignored a fair amount of specific details from the book. While the changes may have seemed subtle in the whole scheme of things, because most of the major components of the story were kept the same, I personally felt that the details that were ignored made all the difference.
Sure, the way the filmmakers chose to change how the story was narrated made it more realistic than how it was presented in the book, but as unrealistic as the book was in that regard, I thought it worked a lot better. There was also the matter of the female lead’s best friend, and how the dynamic of that friendship was just completely different. It didn’t necessarily impact the ending of the story, but I think it definitely changed the journey in getting there.
Some romance movies seem to have just the right level of cheesiness without risking some viewers possibly wanting to cringe at what their watching. I’m not entirely sure if this movie meets that goal. I did feel that this movie leaned a little too far into sappiness (mostly dialogue-related), but it didn’t cause me to want to sink too far into my seat.
I admit to totally forgetting that Britt Robertson was in this movie when I was writing up my review of Tomorrowland (2015), so I’m glad to say that her acting didn’t rub me the wrong way here as it did in that movie. I think she and Scott Eastwood had good chemistry, and I hope to see them grow and develop as actors in future roles and in different genres.
Final Thoughts: This wasn’t one that I exactly found worthy to see in theaters, but I don’t think it would be a bad choice as a date night rental.