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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 20, 2015

The Longest Ride Movie Review: Mushy, Sudsy, A Guilty Pleasure

“THE LONGEST RIDE” is a drama-romance based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks whose works usually end sadly with a character dying just like in “Walk to Remember”, “Message in a Bottle”, “The Notebook”, etc. But this time, for a change, “Longest Ride” (his tenth novel to be filmed) has a happy ending. Yes, it can be mushy and sudsy, but what the heck, we enjoyed the sweet twist in the ending.

It actually offers two love stories. In the present, we have Luke (Scott Eastwood, the hunkier look-alike of his dad Clint) and Sophia (Britt Robertson, who reminds us of the young Alice Dixson). Luke is a professional rodeo bull rider who just recovered from a near tragic accident after he fell of a furious bull and was trampled by it. Sophia is a senior art student at Wake Forest University. But they’re from two different worlds. Luke is basically a cowboy who loves the country while Sophia is headed to work in a New York art gallery.

The other love story is set in the 1940s in North Carolina. Ruth (Oona Chaplin, granddaughter of Charlie who looks like Cherie Gil) is a Jewish girl who escaped from the Germans in Austria. Ira (Jack Huston) is the son of a tailor who falls in love with her at first sight. They fall in love but Ira has to fight in World War II and he gets injured so he can no longer bear kids. He avoids Ruth but she pursues him and says she doesn’t mind even if her dream is really to have a big family.

In the present, Ira is played by Alan Alda. He figures in a car accident. Luke and Sophia happen to pass buy and save his life, along with a basket of letters that tell the story of his love affair with Ruth. While he’s recovering in the hospital, Sophia re-reads to him all his letters and they all become very good friends.
This is as far as we’ll go in telling you the narrative. The movie criss-crosses back and forth between the two love stories and we somehow get to care for the four main characters. What happens to them can be quite heartbreaking if you’re fond of stories that recall those in “Chicken Soup for the Soul” that tug the heartstrings.

The movie has generally antiseptic love scenes and you can call this the antithesis of racy movies like “50 Shades of Grey”. The young actors are good looking and they all do quite passably in their respective roles, with Alan Alda lending a whiff of elegance as the older Ira. As directed by George Tillman Jr., “Longest Ride” is a safe and predictable diversion about love and the fruits of sacrifice and humility.