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The Choice (2016) - A Romantic Drama about True Love and a Second Chance


 

Like clockwork, a new Nicholas Sparks production seems to pop up at the box office at least once a year – and sometimes twice. The latest is based off a novel of the same name and for my two cents, is actually one of my most favorite stories written by him. 

Life is good for Travis (Benjamin Walker). He works with his father (Tom Wilkinson) in the family business and on the weekends, he spends his time on the water with his closest friends. There is just one problem with this way of life. All of his friends are married and raising their young families. Travis hasn’t minded up until now… until his neighbor Gabby Holland (Teresa Palmer) breezes into his life.  

Opinionated and with an opinionated, sassy attitude that intrigues Travis, Gabby is the first woman to tell Travis “no” at every turn – whether he invites her for a casual dinner or an afternoon with his friends on the water, Gabby isn’t about to fall for Travis’ southern charms. Already in a committed relationship with her doctor boyfriend, Ryan (Tom Welling), Gabby finds herself questioning all of her feelings every time she is around Travis. Is Ryan the man she is meant to settle into life with? Or is the pull she feels towards another choice what she needs to choose?

BOOK REVIEW | The Choice by Nicholas Sparks


Unless my memory is failing me, I think this is one of the most different adaptations, in glaringly obvious ways, I’ve seen of Nicholas Sparks’ book-to-screen achievements. The differences are small yet somehow significant. Contradiction or no, I don’t know how better to explain this without giving away plot points from either the book or film. The book offers less resistance in putting Gabby and Travis together (props to it) whereas the film gives Gabby an engagement relationship, and Travis an ex who can’t let go (can we say major clichés?). This is one small example of the changes between the two.  

As a story, The Choice is lovely. I liked its themes and the genuine chemistry and love between the couple. Travis’ feelings for Gabby came across as a bit more all-consuming in the novel not to mention he doesn’t “feel” like such a playboy in the book, or not in the same way the script writes Walker’s characterization (again, this is hindered by the fact that Travis has an annoying ex). Unlike most of the romance films playing at the box office, what’s so charismatic about this film is the sense of completion it has. The movie spans seven some years, and instead of leaving its characters apart only to serendipitously run into each other again as many are wont to do, they are together for those years… and more importantly, happily. Lest you assume otherwise or I say too much to spoil things, I will just say this don’t assume that’s where or how the story ends.  
Unlike some of Sparks’ earlier adaptations, this one features a group of newcomers. Australian actress Teresa Palmer is known from Warm Bodies and I Am Number Four along with a handful of other roles. But it’s Walker who is more an unknown. It’s interesting that after so many familiar faces in the leading man role, producers cast someone unfamiliar. If it was any kind of risk, I feel like it paid off. Though it might not be the majority’s favorite on-screen couple, I personally really liked Teresa and Benjamin together. Their scenes were cute, sassy and entertaining in turn, and I especially liked how the writer's allowed the proposal scene to play out. It was unlike any I’d seen on-screen which is what made its feisty scripting so memorable. Maggie Grace (Taken) also co-stars as Travis’ sister, Stephanie.  


Basically, this will be a suitable for one kind of person. Anyone who is a fan of Nicholas Sparks, seeing The Choice is something you’re likely to enjoy. The script is more content ridden than the novel (primarily when it comes to profanity) and alterations were made. But at the heart, the story is the same. For me, that was good enough.  


(Content: There are two sensual scenes – one involves clothing being removed with close up shots of caresses or kisses, another shows the couple in bed, sheets obscuring anything graphic. There’s social drinking and the garden variety of usual PG13 “acceptable” profanity.)

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Rissi
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8 comments:

  1. Well Rissi, you have convinced me to give this movie a go. I thought this movie would be an insta love story so I wasn't going to watch it until I read your review. Plus it has Teresa Palmer and Tom Welling in the movie and they are two of my favourite actors.

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    1. *bites nails* Uh-oh... I do hope you like it then, Carlyn. :D I thought it was a lovely romance albeit sappy (because it IS a Nicholas Sparks flick), but then I don't mind that so it didn't bother me. If you see it, let me know what you think (and I like Teresa as an actor too though I've not seen Tom in much, I liked him regardless).

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  2. I have been wanting to see this! Thanks for the review.

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    1. I sure hope you enjoy this one, Candice. It was one of, if not my most favorite of Sparks. :)

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    1. I did too, Melissa; such a sweet and beautiful story. :)

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  4. These movie stills you included are just heart-melting. I can't believe I haven't seen this one yet. Probably because I usually only go to the movies with my dad and it's always an action, lol. Nice review, Rissi! :)

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    1. Aren't they!? I like to TRY and find pictures for my posts that I don't see promoting the movie everywhere else (for whatever film I'm reviewing). It's more fun this way.

      I get that. A trip to the theater with my dad usually involves something more action-packed too, although he's willing to watch anything once. Hope you enjoy this one, Bekah - and as always, thank you for reading. :)

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