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The Last Song (2010)



The latest film Nicholas Sparks film from a "series" of earlier box-office hits, this story was written “backwards.” First the screenplay was written then the novel at the request of the leading lady herself.

Divorce has ripped their family apart. Or that is what eighteen-year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller's attitude is all about. Her grades in school are terrible, and now even with an acceptance to Julliard, the piano prodigy has allowed no one to break her hardened wall of bitterness. As her mother plans to re-marry, Ronnie (Miley Cyrus) and her little brother, Jonah (Bobby Coleman) are sent to their dad’s house for the summer. The many letters her father, Steve (Greg Kinnear) , has written to Ronnie remain unopened. Upon her arrives, nothing prepares him for the sullen young lady his daughter has become and even more so to learn she hasn’t touched a piano since he left…

Not wanting anything to do with the father she saw as walking out, Ronnie spends a great deal of time walking the beaches which is where she meets Will (Liam Hemsworth). Will is at once intrigued by Ronnie even as she puts him off. A high school grad about to leave for college, he too is having conflicts with his parents. Through a tremulous start, the two bond at Will’s insistence, and eventually begin a romance, until tragedy strikes and Ronnie’s fragile relationships unravel…

And so the story goes. Seasoned viewers who have been through dozens of similar takes from Hollywood know the gist of how this particular film will turn out; there will be a dreadful secret unveiled, shouting, a time for making up and healing, more shouting, and lots (and lots!) of angst. Attach the name Nicholas Sparks’, and it’s pretty apparent just where this latest tearjerker is headed.  Except for Dear John I don't much care for Mr. Spark’s novel-to-screen adaptations. All are tragic, all have some form of betrayal and each ends bitterly, or best case scenario, reflecting on lost chances. For someone who enjoys movies for their entertainment values and not to be reminded that life is full of sorrows and challenges, I like to be taken into a fairytale land in my down time. So… why do I watch this author’s works, you may wonder? I cannot say aside from the fact that his stories always look appealing and yes, I am a total sucker for romance. The Last Song tends to be a very moody picture and with that comes the realization that what we’ve settled in for is a teenage flick geared towards youngsters who are fans of the leading lady.

Miley Cyrus has been in the news a lot during her teen years. She has received copious amounts of criticism in her career amid those constant remarks of this being her first post-Hannah Montana related role. Compared to that bubblegum Disney role she undertook for five years, her Ronnie is about as far removed from the role that gained her stardom as one would suppose. Miley plays Ronnie to an extreme extent; she joins her brother (begrudgingly) at her dad’s with a rebellious attitude with body language that practically screams her displeasure at being in the small Georgia town, then meets a guy who changes all that when tragedy strikes. It plays a little unrealistic but some of it does ring true that until something is threatened or taken, we do not know how good that part of our life is, but it did seem a bit unrealistic.

Despite the hubbub, Miley plays her role well enough that it far from ruins the story. Considering this is her first “serious” role, she should be given a break and time to grow, but there isn’t a lot of emotion from Miley, so that we “feel” nothing that urges us to grieve with Ronnie. She and former real-life love, Liam share a decent cutesy chemistry that is more teen crush than the “real love” it’s projected as being while the movie really belongs to Bobby Coleman (he is hilarious and provides for the much needed tension-breaker). Kelly Preston also makes an appearance. Unfortunately for the hundreds of young girls who will clamor to see “Hannah Montana,” this is best kept out of their hands. Filmmakers flirted with danger not only in how they dress Miley but the movie is filled with moments Will and Ronnie share including nights spent on the beach. (Dad, Steve – who spied on them with binoculars, once draws a line in the sand and moves Will’s chair several feet away from Ronnie and really, it is a hilarious, touching moment.) What I can appreciate about their relationship apart from it seemingly remaining sweet, is the fact that they are both eighteen and not pre-teens or fifteen-year-olds.  

Admiring qualities do take shape; you just have to look harder for the few hidden jewels. The music which sets a surprisingly lovely lyrical tone was a highlight of the film and since I grew up loving music it was something I enjoyed. Even when things become emotionally-charged or an inevitable burst of anger is aimed towards another, the expressive soundtrack and gorgeous beach scenery provide the audience with an alternative, making them almost forget any unpleasantness.
CONTENT: Various innuendoes are littered into the script. Drug use is implied as is teen drinking [one guy tries to hit on Ronnie]. Elsewhere Ronnie storms out of the house disappearing for hours on end never telling her father where she’ll be. Profanity is infrequent but inappropriate for a PG-rated film; bi*ch, da*n, h*ll, and a few crudities, along with a few OMG. A fistfight breaks out; everyone is either shirtless [the guys] or wearing bathing suits for most of the runtime.
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Rissi
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10 comments:

  1. Personally, I didn't really like this movie. I read the book beforehand, I kind of thought Miley just made Ronny look like a brat.

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  2. Yeah, I wasn't too impressed with the movie {what little I saw of it-about 15 minutes...} :P I was kind of hoping that this one would have a different ending, one that isn't bittersweet. :( Oh well, I guess that's just how Nicholas Sparks rolls ;)

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  3. Jessica - I can see where one might not like this movie. Sometimes the characters are annoying. As a character, Ronnie was a brat but I think she did change at the end - and yeah, I am not a big Miley fan. Anyway, I should watch it again - did you think the book was better?

    So glad you stopped by, Jessica - it has been a while. =)

    Trinka - a lot of people didn't love this one. I am somewhere in the middle. I liked it a lot better than I thought, so it was kind of a pleasant surprise.

    Bittersweet endings is definitely something Sparks has down to a science - and yeah, it is kind of annoying. Believe it or not, the end of The Last Song is one of the least saddest.

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  4. I hadn't seen it and honestly aren't most romances pretty much the same other than the action ones? :P Anyway I usually prefer to stick to books. Especially since the tragic Percy Jackson :P But I am looking forward to Hunger Games. So Last Song...probably not for me. I mean it looks oka,y but Miley kinda crossed the line with her last album. And I really don't like the fact that a ton of tweens, teens and younger looked up to her. I really didn't like that. Sierra
    Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Cause You Are!)

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  5. I actually dug this one. But you're right about their love feeling more crushish.

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  6. Sierra - that is cool! =) There are plenty of films that I refuse to see on principal and even though some people think I should, I haven't yet. =)

    Romances... yeah, they do tend to follow patterns, but I love the genre.

    I've not heard any of Miley's albums, but that doesn't surprise me - she has crossed the line with more than one of her choices.

    Juju - I like this one, too. It was one of those that was a pleasent "surprise," so for that reason, I am going to enjoy the occasional re-watch. =)

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  7. I saw this movie, and I wasn't crazy about it. I'm finding it hard to like romantic films, unless they are a lot more wholesome. And for some certain reasons, The Last Song didn't seem exactly wholesome. Also, I'm not a fan of Miley Cyrus. She isn't the best role model for people to look up to. And honestly, the plot of the movie bored me out.

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  8. I can totally "get" where a viewer could become annoyed with this one, Jemimah. I don't think, generally speaking audiences liked this one all that well... but since I was expecting it to be mediocre at best and actually found myself enjoying it, it was a movie that surprised me. ...You and me both - SO NOT a Miley either, which is really why I didn't expect to like this one.

    Sadly, I think it is REALLY rare to come across a wholesome romance - and I know just what you mean in saying that. When I come across a wholesome movie (no matter its genre), it is all the more special. Unfortunately, The Last Song is one of the better romances that could be thought "clean."

    So glad you stopped in, girl - it has been a while. =)

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  9. ehhh, i had a lot of thoughts on this =P

    thanks for commenting on my blogg!! i now follow you (: follow me back??(:

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  10. Whether negative or positive, that seems to be the trend on this film, Elisha. Or it is on my little blog. =)

    Thanks BUNCHES for following me - I really appreciate it, and I hope you stop by frequently. Off to follow your blog next. =)

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