The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Which came first, Nicholas Sparks or the Chick Flick?

Nicholas Sparks began writing the screenplay, “The Last Song,” in a much different fashion than he normally does – he wrote it before he wrote the novel.

“This is similar to the way it’s gone with movies based on my novels,” Sparks told Daily Variety. “It’s just out of order. Certain opportunities garner your interest, and this was one of those.”

The screenplay contains the same thematic elements as Sparks’ previous works: deep love, tragic loss and character growth within the years of young adulthood. Disney queen Miley Cyrus plays 17-year-old Ronnie Miller, who struggles with trusting others and learning to control her PMS (“Pissed at Men Syndrome,” as her younger brother, Jonah, puts it). She channels the new generation’s rock-indie personality by combining long floral skirts with tight, short band tees and converse sneakers. Her thick, smudged eyeliner, nose ring and dirty hair intensify her fierce attitude when she loses her cool – which happens more often than Britney Spears’ breakdowns.

She and her brother move in with their estranged father, Steve, played by Greg Kinnear, at the beginning of the summer not understanding why.

Ronnie takes every opportunity to shoot mean glares at her father, ignore him when he speaks to her, and sarcastically back-talking him when she does choose to acknowledge him. He takes this treatment with a grain of salt, understanding where it’s coming from – she hasn’t forgiven him yet for leaving their family.

In an attempt to diminish any way of relating to her father, Ronnie stops playing the piano, though she had been playing since she was 5-years-old, because her father also plays.

They used to play and write songs together, until her father left. Lucky for Ronnie, Juilliard University had been following her talent since she was a little girl and gave her an automatic acceptance to the four-year institution, should she consider attending.

Initially, she denies the opportunity and has no plans for life after high school.

Then arrives, shirtless and with a perfectly quaffed beach ‘do, Ronnie’s love interest, Will.

Though he’s completely her opposite, he falls head over heels for her and will stop at nothing to be with her… Sound like a Sparks story we’ve heard before? (Clue: “The Notebook.”) Ronnie gives Will the cold shoulder at first, much like she does with everyone else, but she eventually warms up to him – and who wouldn’t?

He could model for Amercrombie & Fitch. Over mud fights and splashing around in the ocean, she realizes she has deep feelings for him as well. This newfound happiness allows her to lighten up to her family, and also helps her find her way back to the piano. Oh (puppy) love, isn’t it grand?

Despite the predictable and (sorry to say, but) cheesy moments found in Ronnie’s childish giggles and a much-to-soon spoken ‘I love you,’ viewers will be pleased with the surprisingly beautiful camera shots.

The director, Julie Anne Robinson, took smart advantage of the beachy surroundings and outdoor lighting. One memorable shot is of a nearly neon orange sun setting over highly pixilated grainy sand.

Another camera shot with ripe color is of Ronnie and Will swimming in an aquarium tank with large fish and sharks (likely in real life? – probably not).

The water was a lustrous array of turquoises and cyans that illuminated the fish and two characters whirling about in it.

The camera also showed range in angles when it got up-close-and-personal with baby turtles that were struggling to sprint from their sandy nests into the crashing waves of the ocean.

The camera got down on the sand with the turtle-pups to show them scrambling amongst the sand from a cute side angle, and with crisp, sharp focus. The artistic measures taken in the production of the film raise its otherwise bland value.

Another way in which the film’s ante raises is through its soundtrack. It’s a delightful mixture indie-rock music relatable to both younger and older audiences.

With calming voices and guitar strumming found in José Gonzáles’ “Down the Line” and Iron & Wine’s “Each Coming Night,” the film becomes more enjoyable – or maybe just more tolerable. The music choice also includes hit rock bands like Maroon 5 and OneRepublic for an overall pleasant playlist.

Though the movie displays a few undesirable elements – like a semi-generic storyline and an actress who’s clearly unaccustomed to making films for an adult audience – the production staff helps pick up the slack in other areas, which makes the film a viable option for a Friday night out at the movie theater.


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