ABC Film Challenge – Romance – N – The Notebook (2004)

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Writer: Jeremy Leven, Jan Sardi (Screenplay) Nicholas Sparks (Novel)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Sam Shepard, Joan Allen, James Marsden, Kevin Connolly,


Plot: A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Date Night Sorted


Story: The Notebook starts as Duke (Garner) a positive thinking elderly man is getting ready to continue a story to Miss Hamilton (Rowlands) at the home, this story takes us back to Noah (Gosling) who meets the 17-year-old Allie (McAdams), both from different backgrounds, Noah poor and Allie rich.

When the two fall wildly in love Allie’s parent’s don’t want her to spend her life with what they call trash, leading to a break-up of the loving couple. Years fly by the two live their own lives away from each other where Allie falls in love with a man her family approve off. While the two cross paths again the love they felt will always be there, but life always gets in the way.


Thoughts on The Notebook


Characters – Noah came from the wrong side of town, the side with no money or prospects, he earns everything he has to prove that he can escape this world, he makes it through war but his love for Allie will never stop being there. Allie comes from the rich part of town, she accepts Noah for being different but her parents stop her from following the true love she felt for him, while she does fall in love with another man she will always have that flame for Noah. Duke is the man telling us the story to Miss Hamilton who is listening to the story, we learn that they are a bigger part of the story too.

PerformanceGosling and McAdams both shine in these roles which will always be considered two of their more popular roles of their careers. James Garner and Gena Rowlands are both great in the older roles too.

StoryThe story focuses on two people who fell in love, they face stumbling blocks along the way be it personal or otherwise but the love they feel will be what no other can give them. We do flash between the story unfolding as it is being told that does give us hints to who the elder characters are which at times can be frustrating because the final reveal is the one that plays on the heart strings. This is a fairy tale love story, which the likely hood of every happening seems unlikely, but it gives the audience hope of true love.

RomanceThe romance in this film does show how two people can fall in love and it last forever even through illness, war and everyday situations.

SettingsThe settings give us a clear difference in class the two come from and just how the love they feel can bring people together from different background


Scene of the Movie – Swans and rain.


That Moment That Annoyed Me I think they give away a twist too early.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the all time most popular date night movies, you can see why because it does work on the love side of things.


Overall: This is a bitter sweet love story that plays for tears.




Safe Haven (2013)

Director: Lasse Hallstrom

Writer: Dana Stevens, Gage Lansky (Screenplay) Nicholas Sparks (Novel)

Starring: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, Cobie Smulders, Mimi Kirkland, David Lyons


Plot: A young woman with a mysterious past lands in Southport, North Carolina where her bond with a widower forces her to confront the dark secret that haunts her.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Lacks That Spark Needed


Story: Safe Haven starts as we see Katie (Hough) running from her past with Tierney (Lyons) fast on her tail, but for now Katie finds herself in Southport North Carolina. Katie looks to make her own life away from her past with a new job in a diner and a place of the radar.

In this new town, Katie makes a friend in Jo (Smulders) as well as striking up a new potential relationship with widowed father of two Alex (Duhamel) who has been raising his two kids Josh (Lomax) and Lexie (Kirkland). As the romance blossoms Alex’s kids have a different reaction to their father meeting a new woman but does Katie want to get involved in a relationship when she might have to run if anybody from her past finds her?


Thoughts on Safe Haven


Characters/PerformanceKatie is a character that is all too familiar in modern relationships, a victim of domestic abuse who is trying to make a fresh start away from her abusive husband. She tries to keep to herself but is drawn to the kindness in a stranger. Alex is the loving father and widow who is trying to do the right thing for his kids as well as grieving for his own wife’s death. He is a good man full of acts of kindness to the community. The Tierney character is the one hunting down Katie, he is a drunk and a police officers that is filled with twists to the outcome. Jo is the friend Katie makes in the town that helps her with the hard decisions.

Performance wise Julianna Hough and Josh Duhamel struggle to carry this film as well of not having the best chemistry in this film. David Lyons does well with his limited time and does Cobie Smulders who shows she could easily be the star of this movie.

StoryThe story is 101 of Nicholas Sparks story, we have a damaged person going to a new location and falling in love with a broken person as we wait for the past to catch up with them. Nothing feels too fresh in the movie but it will work for the fans of the style of the movie.

Romantic/ThrillerWe have all the romantic story that will work for the fans but doesn’t have much that comes of realistic throughout. There is a thriller side of works in places but you never feel on edge until the final act.

SettingsThe small town is a good setting for the runaway to start new life but it could easily be just any town which should make her hard to find.

Final ThoughtsWhen you look at this film the leads lack that chemistry need for the lead roles, it also has a selection of terrible decisions which would only make things worst with a twist that will only work for certain people.


Overall: The fans of Sparks will enjoy but others will find this too much.




The Longest Ride (2015)

longestDirector: George Tillman Jr

Writer: Craig Bolotin (Screenplay) Nicholas Sparks (Novel)

Starring: Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, Alan Alda, Jack Huston, Oona Chaplin, Melissa Benoist, Lolita Davidovich


Plot: The lives of a young couple intertwine with a much older man, as he reflects back on a past love.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: SO Unrealistic


Story: The Longest Ride starts by making me feel like this is going to be a shallow feel because the selling point for Sophia (Robertson) to go and watch bull riding is ‘hot guys’ when she clearly doesn’t want to go. To the surprise of us all Sophia meets handsome rodeo Luke (Eastwood) and enjoys herself, well boy this is going to be a hard watch.

When Sophia and Luke go on their first date they find Ira (Alda) who has had a car accident and the pair save his life and his box of memories. Sophia becomes friends with Ira (Alda) as she learns of the young love he once had.

As Sophia and Luke learn about Ira’s love story theirs blossoms even though they both know they will be going in their separate ways.

The Longest Ride gives us yet another one of these fictional love stories that would never happen but give people the unrealistic belief that it could. The only good part of this film is the flashback relationship that has the struggles going on throughout it. The leading love story is all about what you would give up for love and then boom easy happy ending no struggle to make things work between to pretty people, you know the type that annoys you.


Actor Review


Britt Robertson: Sophia is a college student about to start her dream job in New York when she meets a professional bull rider. Her life is thrown upside down when she falls in love and torn between her lifelong dream or the man who has never made her feel like this before. Britt is good in this role playing you typical dream filled romantic character.

Scott Eastwood: Luke is the professional bull fighter who has suffered a serious accident before he meets Sophia. He will not give up the ‘sport’ he loves even for the girl that changes his life. He is very traditional in how he goes about his relationship but also not willing to learn something else to get away from bull fighting. Scott is the highlight of this film where we see him make a name for himself in a leading role.

Alan Alda: Ira is an elder gentleman that the two rescue from a car accident and who Sophia turns to for all of her advice when she learns of the love story he went through. Alan is solid in this role where we get to see him in a narration style role.

Support Cast: The Longest Ride has a supporting cast with Jack Huston and Oona Chaplin playing the younger couple in the flashbacks who really shine above the rest.

Director Review: George Tillman JrGeorge gives us a good date movie but characters who are written to be too over the top and unrealistic doesn’t help the story.


Romance: The Longest Ride gives us an unrealistic love story that is about two people coming from different worlds and what they will would give up for love.

Chemistry: The Longest Ride doesn’t have the biggest spark between the lead couple which takes away part of the film.

Settings: The Longest Ride has an array of settings which all give us how the class between Sophia and Luke comes through.
: The Longest Ride is one for the date night really only. (Date Night)


Best Part: Ira and Ruth’s story.

Worst Part: Opening scenes are unrealistic.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $34 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 8 Minutes


Overall: Unrealistic story about love which will pull people in.




A Walk To Remember (2002)

logoDirector: Adam Shankman

Writer: Karen Janszen (Screenplay) Nicholas Sparks (Novel)

Starring: Shane West, Mandy Moore, Peter Coyote, Daryl Hannah, Lauren German, Clayne Crawford, Al Thompson


Plot: When Landon Carter (West) school bad boy gets himself into too much trouble his community service will change his life forever. In his time doing his community service he has to spend time with school outsider Jamie Sullivan (Moore). The two become close but a heart breaking secret will test them both.


Verdict: A tragic love story

Story: Whenever you get opposites collide you will see sparks fly in a love story. This has a good message for the teenage audience who believe being popular can make you different when it is the people around you that you ignore that make the difference in people’s lives. The story shows how powerful love is and once you first feel it, it can be so hard to stop the feeling. (8/10)


Actor Review: Shane West – Landon the bad boy of the school who falls for the outsider. Shane is a good in the lead role showing how letting someone you’re your life can change you forever. (8/10)


Actor Review: Mandy Moore – Jamie the outsider who goes to church and everything Landon dislikes. Good performance playing the role trying to avoid a romance but in the end it becomes the best thing to ever happen to her. (8/10)


Director Review: Adam Shankman – Good direction showing all the emotional levels very well. (8/10)


Drama: Very good drama showed how people will deal with such a head part of life. (8/10)

Romance: Great romances showing how when you find that one person you will do everything to make sure they are you’re everything. (9/10)

Chemistry: Great chemistry between Landon and Jamie. (9/10)

Believability: This sort of heart breaking situation does happen. (8/10)

Chances of Tears: Pretty high chance. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is something I would suggest to someone lost for ideas for date night, it is full of heart break but they story is so very touching. (Date Night)


Best Part: Landon and Jamie’s first date.

Favourite Quote: Landon ‘Our love is like the wind, I can’t see it but I sure can feel it.’

Trivia: Shane West bought the car he uses in the film.

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: No


Overall: A tragic love story that will pull some heart strings, bring the tissues.


Rating 80

The Lucky One (2012)

logoDirector: Scott Hicks

Writer: Will Fetters (Screenplay) Nicholas Sparks (Novel)

Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart, Jay R. Ferguson


Plot: Logan (Efron) is a marine serving in Iraq, when finds a photo with the words ‘keep safe’ on. Moments later his unit is wiped out in an attack, Logan credits the photo as his guardian angel. Once he returns he sets out on a quest to find the girl in the photo. Once he meets her Beth (Schilling) he can’t tell her why he has tracked her down and gets tangled up in a relationship and her family.


Verdict: A very good romantic story

Story: I knew very little about this film when I put it in, all I knew was it was a romantic drama with the kid from High School Musical.  When I put it in I was rewarded with a very good love story that pulls at the heart strings. The story checks off a lot if the marks needed for a love story and gives you enough will they won’t they feel going on throughout. (8/10)


Actor Review: Zac Efron – Logan the marine looking for his guardian angel. Zac has come on leaps and bounds from that teenage star, this is a much more mature performance that proves he could be something special in the years to come. Star Performance Award (9/10)


Actor Review: Taylor Schilling – Beth caring mother and owner of a dog training facility. Taylor is great in the role having to fight her emotions for Logan and the love for her own son. Watch out for this actress she could be something big in the years to come. (8/10)


Director Review: Scott Hicks – This guy knows how to put together a great drama together and continues the streak here. (9/10)

Drama: Great drama telling a good story. (9/10)

Romance: Very nice romantic story showing that just being there can be all you need. (9/10)

Special Effects: Some very good special effects used in the opening war time scenes. (8/10)

Believability: tough to believe but love can be a strange master. (1/10)

Chances of Tears: Has potential for a couple by the end of the film. (5/10)

Settings: Set in the backdrop of Louisiana giving the film some great locations scenes. (8/10)

Suggestion: Any guy looking for a good serious film for a date night this is one to check out, it has some funny moments to take away from the serious story. It will leave you with a warm happy feeling inside. (Date Night Sorted)


Best Part: The rain storm.

Favourite Quote: Logan ‘Finding something like that in a war is like finding an angel in hell. So I kept it with me.’

Oscar Chances: None

Chances of Sequel: No

Similar Too: The Notebook


Overall: Great love story that starts in the strangest of places.


Rating 85