‘The Best of Me’ Review

By Desiree Wiliams

Based off the Nicholas Sparks’ book, The Best of Me follows the love story of two high school sweethearts who reunite after 20 years of separation. Dawson, played by James Marsden, is a young and troubled boy living in a terrible environment, while Amanda, played by Michelle Monaghan, is a beautiful girl from a high-class family. When they meet, she saves him from going down the wrong road and they fall deeply in love. Unfortunate circumstances force them to follow different paths, but they never truly fall out of love. After the death of a mutual friend, they are unexpectedly reunited and have the opportunity to rekindle their love.

        The story is told from the perspective of Dawson and Amanda in their late 30s and through numerous flashbacks, allowing the audience to watch both their present story and high school love unfold. Incorporating flashbacks allows the viewers to learn the history of the relationship and understand why Dawson and Amanda are the way they are now. Each flashback explains the conflict that will appear in the next scene, thus the audience has an inkling of what might happen. However, there is always a surprise that no one can predict. The movie accomplishes blending the history and the present together so the viewers can comprehend the story while still leaving room for a shock.

On the other hand, their romance develops rather quickly, making it more difficult to believe the story and some of the character’s actions. Even though a movie can only last for so long, if it is a romantic movie, much of that time should be used to create a believable romance. This movie only shows two actual dates between Dawson and Amanda. Then suddenly, they are completely in love and will do anything for each other. That idea is tested due to the intense action that follows and it is difficult to imagine that two high school students would do the things they do after such a short time as a couple.

Lastly, the acting is superb and incredibly realistic. Young Dawson pulls the attention and the audience feels for him after learning about his brutal childhood. Young Amanda is the total opposite. She brings light to the movie with her constant smile and optimism. At whatever age, they appear to truly be in love because of their acting ability. The acting is convincing enough to sincerely pull at the viewer’s heartstrings and draw them into each scene.

The Best of Me tells the beautifully tragic love story of Dawson and Amanda throughout the years. Although the relationship progresses extremely fast, the acting and the integration of flashbacks creates an authentic story line that entrances the audience.