“The Last Song” Movie Review

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Normally, any sappy, clichéd, melodramatic teenage drama comes to mind when teenage rebellion, first love, and familial acceptance are wrapped into a two-hour long movie. While the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks; newest best-selling novel, The Last Song, may fall into this category, it provides a deeper insight to the world of a teenager who is growing into a mature, young adult.

Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana), an actress whose name has the ability to turn audiences off the movie altogether, surprises the audience with her decent performance. she plays Sparks’ protagonist, Ronnie, who appears to be a rebel with a cause: She is furious with her parents’ divorce. Directed by Juile Ann Robinson (Grey’s Anatomy) the film introduces a cast full of new faces and lays out a plotline that follows the experiences that Ronnie and her younger brother Jonah (Bobby Coleman, Post Grad) share while spending a summer at their father’s (Greg Kinnear, Green Zone) house in Georgia.

Also making his debut onto the silver screen, Liam Hemswortth (Knowing) plays Will, Ronnie’s summer romance, a boy filled with spunk and sensitivity. Unlike most predictable teenage movies, his character is not just the average love interest who flitters in and out of scenes when the movie lacks entertainment. Hemsworth easily displays many layers to his character, who battles his bonds laid down by his mother and deciphers the gray line between right and wrong, specifically when he waivers on the decision to admit he and his friend were responsible for the church fire that injured Ronnie’s father.

The film’s greatest asset is the comic relief of Jonah, who helps alleviate the tension and drama between Ronnie and their father. His clever ideas and the hilarious action he takes in order to be a part of his sister’s life immediately set the mood for the film as a drama laced with humor. For example, in one scene, he and his father host a stakeout while watching Ronnie and Will protect a near-by turtle nest.

Although the Sparks’ film adaptations have a track record of straying away from the novel’s storyline, this reputation doesn’t apply to The Last Song. The book was adapted from a screenplay, so there are minimal changes from print to screen.

When placing the book and movie side by side, the book does outstretch the movie due to its ability to connect the many layers of the story together. At times during the film, it was difficult to understand the conflicting background between Ronnie and her father or Will’s struggle to be honest with both himself and the girl he loves.

The combination of new aspiring actors and the ability to stray from the societal norm of teenage dramas gives The Last Song its entirely own personality, making it a movie worth seeing.