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Non-Review Review: The Best of Me

As with a lot of Nicholas Sparks adaptations, there’s something inherently reductive about The Best of Me. The film would suggest that characters are either inherently good or inherently bad, with several members of the cast existing as nothing more than roadblocks serving to keep the film’s central couple apart. The Best of Me is not set in the real world; it makes no allowance for the nuanced complexities of human emotions and relationships.

Instead, The Best of Me unfolds in a weird parallel world, a world where all human interactions and feelings are clear-cut and simple. It is easy to see the appeal of this world. It is a realm of romantic fantasy, where probability and chance are simply the tools of dramatic irony; where obvious twists are not only expected, they are obligatory. The Best of Me introduces its male lead, Dawson, reading Stephen Hawking as lazy shorthand for how smart he is. He can’t be that smart, or he’d understand this world doesn’t follow anything as bland as physics.

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Throughout The Best of Me, characters ruminate on the machinations of fate and destiny. We are told that mankind has always looked to the stars to guide them. However, this metaphysical musing is not so much a thematic statement as preemptive justification for a contrived (and entirely predictable) final act. The Best of Me is very much a twist in search of a movie. It is a tire-and-tested twist, at that.

However, the characters in The Best of Me don’t seem to realise that there is a difference between fate and hackneyed writing.

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