After surviving an oil rig fire, Dawson (Marsden) receives word of an old friends death, and returns home to find his childhood sweetheart, Amanda (Monaghan), also named in the will. Flashbacks to their younger selves (Bracey, Liberato) reveal a star-cro
The Nicholas Sparks formula is slavishly followed in this adaptation of his weepy novel, with a hunky-but-tragic lead (James Marsden) pining for an unattainable rich girl (Michelle Monaghan) amid scenic Southern locations and across two time periods. The leads are all charming, but there’s a discordant plot thread about real crime and misery that’s at odds with all the mooning. The real problems come in the last act, however, where the film takes a turn into poorly judged melodrama and falls off a credibility cliff. Sparks’ legions of fans will probably still swoon, but the rest of us risk ocular damage from all the eye-rolling.
Clichéd and overly broad, this is closer to Safe Haven than The Notebook in the Sparks canon.