The Longest Ride is based on the book by Nicholas Sparks, the author of other adapted novels such as The Notebook (2004) and The Lucky One (2012), so I knew I was in for a good watch as his previous collection of books/films have all been great – if a little weepy!
This film – much like The Notebook – flicks between the present day and back in time to the 1940s, but instead of focusing on one set of characters and their story in The Longest Ride we are given two couples separated by time but going through the same struggles. In the present day University student Sophia (Britt Robertson) meets and falls in love with professional Bull-rider Luke (Scott Eastwood, son of Clint!) but their new relationship faces struggles as their two very different lives clash. On one eventful night they witness a car crash and save the driver’s life, whilst Ira (Alan Alda) recovers in hospital he tells Sophia about his life and his one true love Ruth. Here we are taken back to the 1940s and introduced to a young Ira and Ruth – played by Jack Huston and Oona Chaplin (Charlie Chaplin’s grand-daughter, but probably most known for being Robb Stark’s wife in Game of Thrones!) as they meet and fall in love but the outbreak of the war changes everything in their relationship and they are forced to make a heart-breaking decision.
Sophia and Ira go on to forge an unlikely friendship and it is through Ira’s telling of the highs and lows of his relationship with Ruth that Sophia understands the sacrifices that come with love and what she and Luke must do if they want to stay together. Of course it wouldn’t be a Nicholas Sparks story without some heartbreak and I can guarantee you will be crying by the end, but there is also a lot of humour in this story which makes it a little different to his other books/films and stops it from being a heavy watch. The humour mostly comes from Sophia as she is thrown into this new country life she is not used too but it’s not so much that it makes the film a comedy and distracts from the romantic storyline.
All the cast are fantastic, Britt and Scott work very well opposite each other as do Jack and Oona. Jack Huston in particular is wonderful as the young Ira, he is able to convey a range of emotions through just a look and he really makes the character into someone who you love and feel for, particularly when Ira’s past heartbreak is revealed.
Overall it’s a lovely story and it’s clear that Nicholas Sparks is a genius at this genre, he is able to make you laugh and cry within moments and knows how to produce the perfect romantic film. I shall look forward to his next offering as I know I will not be disappointed.