The Best of Me is the latest Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Dear John) novel adaptation to hit the big screen, and just as with his previous works, the story aims to tug at the heartstrings with an exploration of young love, romance gone awry and the duplicity of destiny.
However, rather than tug, The Best of Me yanks a little too roughly with a heavy-handed direction, obvious plot twists and plenty of kissing in the rain with clichéd dialogue.
The passionate chemistry between the young leads and their older selves is sturdy, even if their relationships never are, and James Marsden turns in a solid performance as his first lead in a Sparks adaptation.
With an unobtrusive soundtrack and pretty southern locations, The Best of Me is a nice film, if unsubtle and unapologetic in its melodramatic portrayal of young love.
(Review first published in City Hub, City News, Inner West Independent and Bondi View for Alternative Media Group)