Monday, April 13, 2015

The Longest Ride

Starring: Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson, Jack Huston, Alan Alda
Director: George Tillman, Jr.
Running Time: 2 hours, 19 minutes
Rating: PG-13


I'm not ashamed to admit that I was heavily influenced by Nicholas Sparks' love stories of the late 1990s. I think I can speak for nearly every 12 year old girl that read The Notebook, A Walk To Remember, Nights in Rodanthe and the like, and discovered something genuine and true about love (as well as a few sensual pages that I couldn't help but re-read and wonder what it was like to be a grown-up.) "The Longest Ride" is the latest of several film adaptations of a Sparks book, and it rises highly above adaptations in recent years. Is it corny to say that it made me boo hoo? Is it pitiful to admit that it makes me believe in love again? Is it vulgar for me to admit the things I'd like to do to Scott Eastwood (spoiler alert: A LOT)? Though I only spotted myself for a millisecond (my dad and I got to be extras during the rodeo scene filmed at Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem!) I caught myself smiling throughout the entire film, even when tears were streaming down my face.

Can I get an "Amen"?
Photo Courtesy Daily Mail
Oh. I just. Have me.
Photo Courtesy E! Online
First off, if you're thinking I'm writing about the film "The Longest Yard," either the Sandler or Reynolds version, you should probably stop reading further. (That's a hilarious cinema joke, by the way.) Professional bull rider Luke Collins meets Wake Forest University student/NYC internship-bound Sophia Danko. They're both gorgeous. Sparks fly. Romance ensues. A tragedy leads them to Ira Levinson (the fabulous Alan Alda...or is it Arkin? I can't keep them straight). This is where we get a little "Notebook-y." But we're hooked, and going wherever this story takes us.

In flashbacks, we learn how young Ira (the dashing Jack Huston) meets Ruth, the love of his life. Their relationship is tainted when he goes off to war and returns unable to give her the family she has always wanted. Ira and Ruth's story is as engaging and tear-jerking as present day Luke and Sophia's, including an especially touching moment when Ira and Ruth try to adopt a malnourished, forgotten boy in her classroom. The four main stars have such chemistry. These performances are incredibly honest and palpable.

While it seems Luke's fate rests on top of a bull, it ultimately rests in his own hands. As his mother points out, "the ride is only 8 seconds, but she could be the rest of your life." It gives me chills just typing that! I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Men and women alike will appreciate the eye candy galore, intense bull riding scenes and a wonderful takeaway. This film and story reminds us that life is the longest ride. It reminds us of what we all go through to endure and enjoy it. And finally, it reminds us that it's best when someone is along with you for the ride.

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