The Best of Me is the ninth film adaptation of one of author Nicholas Sparks’ bestselling weepies and if you’ve seen any of the others – say Dear John, The Notebook or The Lucky One – you’ll know what to expect: a star-crossed romance for lovers from different worlds, kisses in the rain, moonlight swims, fateful separations and the tragic death of at least one leading character. Here James Marsden plays the hunky blue-collar hero, an oil rigger reunited with his now-married high-school sweetheart, rich girl Michelle Monaghan, after 20 years apart. Marsden and Monaghan sell the slushy love-conquers-all story with all the sincerity they can, as do Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato, playing their younger selves, but they can’t make Sparks’ clichés seem fresh.
Certificate 12. Runtime 118 mins. Director Michael Hoffman.
Released on Blu-ray & DVD by Entertainment One.
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