Friday, April 13, 2012

The Lucky One

Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Jay R. Ferguson
Director: Scott Hicks
Running Time: 1 hour, 41 minutes
Rating: PG-13

Zac Efron has most definitely grown up since his days in “High School Musical.” I hadn’t seen any of the HSM flicks until this past fall, when a friend from Germany came to stay with my roommate and me, and I was subject to their obsession with the trilogy. (I was very pleased, and have no shame admitting that I’m now a fan as well.) After stretching his skills in “17 Again” and “Charlie St. Cloud,” Zac Efron offers a brave performance as Logan, a Marine in search of the woman he found a photo of while in Iraq. He stumbles into a new world, and is anything but prepared for what lies ahead of him.

You're welcome. Photo courtesy of
Some of you might be wondering how I’ve seen the movie prior to its April 20 release date, and I have a very important colleague to thank for that. This trusted colleague’s first comment after the movie ended was “Not enough shirtless time,” in regards to Efron. While I agree, his sensitive and quiet performance was powerful enough for me. I’ll be very careful not to reveal too much for those of you who haven’t yet seen the film (which at this point is all of you! Ha!) or haven’t read the book. As per usual, Nicholas Sparks presents another beautiful story, which tugs at your heartstrings and makes you long for a fairytale love. But no fairytale is complete without a wicked witch, or in this case, an estranged father/ex-husband, played by Jay R. Ferguson. Whenever I loathe the antagonist this much, I know they are doing brilliant work with the character.

Taylor Schilling gracefully portrays Beth, a mother trying to deny her curiosity about this new man in town. She reluctantly hires Logan to help her run her pet boarding house. Though both were wonderful in their individual roles, Schilling looks entirely too old for Efron (though she’s only 3 years older.) When asked “Who would have been a more realistic choice for the female lead?” after some thought, that same profound colleague shrugged and said “me.”

Logan bonds with Beth and her son, and it’s obvious he is a perfect fit for this broken family. Not only does he rev up Beth’s engines, he’s also a father figure to little Ben. I think all two men in the theatre even fell in love with Efron in this role. We discover admirable traits about him – what’s not to love about a piano-playing, Melville-reading, philosophy-loving guy who’s also a handy man? (For those of you taking notes, I’ve essentially described my dream qualities in a male.)

Blythe Danner gives laughs as Beth’s grandmother (though definitely should have been written as her mother) and encourages Beth to follow her heart, and not fall victim to her ex-husband’s heartless games. There are moments where chuckles were appropriate, and other times I had to fight the urge to tear up. “The Lucky One” reminds us to find happiness in the little things – swimming in a lake, cooking dinner with your loved ones, making out in an outdoor shower…  Strong performances and beautiful cinematography make this worth seeing. And be prepared to fall in love with Zac Efron.

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