‘Best of Me’

By Nate Sanchez
Senior Columnist

Nicholas Sparks is well-known in the literary community for writing romantic novels which are then adapted into films. It’s no secret that the target demographic for Sparks’ films is women who enjoy a good love story. I don’t fit into this group at all, so I figured I’d see his latest film, “The Best of Me,” and review it for you.

Upon the death of their old friend Tuck, Amanda Reynolds and Dawson Cole are reunited 21 years after they fell in love, then were torn apart after an unfortunate conflict between Cole and his father that left his cousin Bobby with a bullet in his head.

Tuck’s will insisted that Dawson and the now-married Amanda liquidate his estate and spread his ashes over the garden he and his late wife planted. Over the course of the weekend, Dawson and Amanda rekindle their love in their dead friend’s house.

Amanda deals with the internal conflict between her love for Dawson and her marital responsibility to her alcoholic husband, while Dawson’s rugged past with his criminal family come back to haunt him.

This film is armed to the freaking teeth with cliché. There’s rain, a pretty southern lady on a tree swing, a shirtless buff guy doing yard work, a wise old man who knows what’s best for everyone and an alcoholic jerk husband with an abnormal golf fixation whose purpose is to make infidelity sound like a good idea. Then there’s more rain, car accidents, fatal diseases, heart transplants and death.

Symbolism in the film was easily recognizable and accessible from the opening seconds. Sparks’ characters were bound together by fate and despite their loss of communication, were still connected by the love they shared in their youth.

Throughout the film, either Dawson or Amanda would look up into the stars, and the audience would be brought back down to the other’s point-of-view. The stars, unmoved by the circumstances haunting our heroes, served as their constant connection.

The most obvious lesson in the film is to revere something that affects all of us at some point in our lives. For some it’s magical and a bit scary, while others see it as an inevitable curse. That thing is death. You were thinking about the power of love, weren’t you?
Well, you’re wrong.

Death is a major element in the film. It greases the wheels (then spins the crap out of those wheels) on every aspect of the plot. Without Tuck’s death, Dawson and Amanda wouldn’t have crossed paths again. Without Bobby’s death, he’d still be alive and the two wouldn’t have had to separate in the first place. Without Dawson’s death, Amanda’s son wouldn’t have gotten a heart in time for his surgery and would have kicked the bucket. That means “died.”
Oh yeah and that’s a spoiler.

We don’t often give death his due, especially when we immerse ourselves into a love story such as this. This is wrong. Let us remember, while we carry out the mundane minutiae of our everyday lives, that we are constantly followed by the chilling hand of death. He comes for us all in the end.

I welcome death, and when my time comes I anticipate greeting him like an old friend. I think we all should. Hooray, Death! We welcome your cold embrace.
I also spotted low-key commercials for Bud Light, Budweiser, Evian, Chevrolet and machetes.

Demographically speaking, I’m an outsider. I was glad to be able to broaden my horizons, “looking through the bent-back tulips to see how the other half lives,” to quote the 1968 Beatles hit, “Glass Onion.”

With that being said, I would recommend this film to fans of the genre. If you’re a fan of Sparks’ other works, you’ll love this one. For those like me, I’d stay away from it. It’s just not my cup of tea.