The Choice (2016)10:52 AM
Let Your Heart Decide
This Review Contains Spoilers.
The Choice is directed by Ross Katz (Adult Beginners) and stars Benjamin Walker (In the Heart of the Sea, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies, I Am Number Four) and Alexandra Daddario (San Andreas, Percy Jackson). "Travis and Gabby first meet as neighbors in a small coastal town and wind up in a relationship that is tested by life's most defining events". The Choice is the 11th Sparks adaption - have his films lost their spark or is the decision to watch The Choice very worthwhile?
Every time I watch a Nicholas Sparks film, I immediately expect them to be bad. However, I think my consistently low expectations do the film big favours as I never dislike it as much as I expect to. Last year, I found something to like within The Longest Ride, I actually like Safe Haven and Dear John as films and The Lucky One is a solid flick as well. So where does The Choice rank? I don't think a Sparks film has been this low on star power in a while - there isn't your typical current teen star this time, both actors are actually in their 30s. I think ultimately, if you like Sparks and his previous films, you will definitely like this as it is pretty much by the numbers but if you don't like those films then you will probably dislike this film - it isn't any different from any of the other Nicholas Sparks adaptions.
The acting in the film was pretty mixed. I thought there were no incredibly strong performances but I did find both of the leading actors likeable at times. I thought Benjamin Walker was pretty annoying and I think he only has a niche appeal and certainly isn't for everyone. Teresa Palmer also has moments of shining but also moments of not being the best. The chemistry between the two was pretty strong and I did believe that they were in a relationship. However, I didn't believe when the film finally caught up to 7 years later that they had given birth to two children - both of those actors looked way older than 7 years old. Alexandra Daddario was arguably the biggest star in this film due to her recent hit San Andreas - however, she isn't that great here, she may be one of the most forced, but I definitely wouldn't just watch this film if you are a fan of hers. I also want to comment on the characters - I thought they had very stereotypical gender roles and Gabby (Palmer) tried to break them but was just put down by her stereotypical love interest - it was awful that Gabby was so headstrong in saying no to marrying Travis but as soon as he grabs her and holds her close, she says yes - that is awful and not romantic at all!
If you were to predict the plot for The Choice before watching it, you would probably be right - it is extremely generic and by the numbers. I also thought the plot was almost non-existent - during the first two thirds, this didn't feel like a problem but when something interesting did happen - it made you think what was the point in the past hour and 20 minutes? I suppose the plot was just the development of a romance but I think films and stories need more than just that - there were no interesting sub-plots either. Unlike Me Before You which didn't take enough time to build emotion, I thought The Choice dragged on the depressing moments for a very long time - it took 20 minutes for things to be happy again! That may not seem like much time but the film really did make me feel depressed and 20 minutes of it was a little too long. However, even though the ending was nice, it was extremely unrealistic - a very common trope in Spark stories - the fact that the film says only 1% of people wake up from a coma after so many days and the lead character then wakes up, this was pretty ridiculous. I am actually surprised all major characters avoided death in this film as Sparks kills off so many characters.
Despite the film being extremely flawed, it just had a likeable sense to it. I think that is the spark about these films which is why they work and why they keep making them. They may be silly but they are truly fantasy romance films - they are going to be unrealistic and have generic stories but they ultimately succeed in what they intend to do. This tick list has been perfected to what audiences like and The Choice definitely ticks all the boxes.
I can't say The Choice is a good film as it is far from it - the acting is not extremely strong, the characters are likeable but extremely stereotypical and the plot is very generic. Even though the whole film is pretty likeable and the chemistry between the leading duo is strong, it is ultimately your decision as to whether you watch The Choice - if you are a Nicholas Sparks fan, I recommend, if not, stay away (unless you choose to watch it).
What did you think of THE CHOICE? When do you think it is time for Nicholas Sparks books to stop being adapted? - COMMENT BELOW
The Choice is out on Digital HD 27th June and on DVD 4th July.
See You Soon!