(Joyce) * * * * *
(Soppy love story)
“Soppy" is my description, not Joyce's. She loved the love story.
The latest Nicholas Sparks melodramatic novel has been turned into a two-handkerchief movie starring Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling. Efron plays Logan, a Marine returning from Iraq with a bit of post-traumatic shock syndrome. We first see him in battle, leaning over to pick up a photo of a woman as an explosion kills his buddies. Returning home, he is obsessed with finding the pretty young woman who saved his life. His only clue is a lighthouse in the background, which he identifies as being in a small Louisiana town.
He walks from Colorado to Hamden, Louisiana with his backpack and German Shepard, tracking down the woman in the photo and landing a handyman's job at her dog kennel. Beth (Schilling) and her mother (Blythe Danner) live in an old farmhouse with Beth's young son (Riley Thomas Stewart). Benjamin and his grandmother take to the stranger, but Beth remains aloof. Logan wants to tell Beth why he came to her home, but can never bring himself to do it. Beth's divorced husband is the local sheriff, still determined to get his abused wife back and outwardly jealous of Logan. Slowly, Beth and Logan fall in love, and Logan bonds with her son, increasing her ex-husband's rage.
Eventually, Logan's reason for showing up on Beth's doorstep is revealed, causing more problems before a couple of melodramatic scenes bring the film to conclusion.
Efron plays Logan with great intensity, seldom cracking a smile. Danner is terrific as the mother/grandmother, and Schilling looks like a future star.
If you are a romantic like Joyce, you will love the intense love story. I found it a bit contrived and "soppy.” Rated PG-13, with minor violence and profanity and a bit of sex.