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Movie Review: The Last Song

March 31, 2010

The Last Song – A Walt Disney Pictures’ release

http://touchstone.movies.go.com/thelastsong/

Release Date: March 31st

Rated PG for thematic material, some violence, sensuality and mild language

Running time: 108 minutes

 

Julie Anne Robinson (dir.)

 

Nicholas Sparks (screenplay)

Jeff Van Wie (screenplay)

Nicholas Sparks (book)

 

Aaron Zigman (music)

 

Miley Cyrus as Ronnie Miller

Greg Kinnear as Steve Miller

Bobby Coleman as Jonah Miller

Liam Hemsworth as Will Blakelee

Hallock Beals as Scott

Kelly Preston as Kim

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Sam Emerson SMPSP “©Touchstone Pictures. All Rights Reserved.”

(l to r) Greg Kinnear, Bobby Coleman, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth watch as baby turtles hatch in The Last Song.

 

Our reviews below:

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The Last Song Review By John C.

** (out of 4)

The Last Song is actually a pretty good movie – for its target demographic.  And only for its target demographic.  For everyone else, this is contrived, cloying and predictable, but worst of all kind of boring.  Miley Cyrus plays Ronnie – an angry teenaged girl who is sent with her younger brother (Bobby Coleman) to live with their father over the summer.  The father is played by the very talented Greg Kinnear, but put it this way – even he can’t save the film.

 

It’s not that Cyrus can’t act, and she does pull off the role to a certain degree, but she just doesn’t have the maturity and she’s never proven herself as an actress to fully pull it off.  Now Bobby Colemam plays her younger brother.  I don’t like to criticize the acting ability of a child , so this will be the only mention of young Coleman.  Liam Hemsworth plays the love interest, and it’s a pretty disposable role.  So long as he looks good without a shirt on, acting ability is allowed to go out the window.  He’s like a younger carbon-copy of Channing Tatum in Dear John, and Tatum, who’s not the greatest actor either, is arguably more talented.

 

It is what it is, and that is an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel.  If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all as they all follow the same formula.  The Notebook, Dear John, whatever.  It’s all here.  The beach scenes, the hospital scenes, the very large house-by-the-beach scenes, the party/wedding scenes where a confrontation takes place, the letters sent to a loved one that remain unopened, the sad/happy ending, the family secret, etc.  It’s all here, but the difference is that some are good and some aren’t.  And this one isn’t good, it’s impossibly average.

 

I liked the recent Dear John.  It wasn’t a great movie, but it was a pretty good one made better by an excellent performance from Richard Jenkins.  But 2004’s The Notebook – a very good movie – is still the high-point for Sparks’ adaptations.

 

The Last Song does raise some very important questions to the audience, like do aquariums actually allow you to bring your girlfriend into the tank?  I don’t think so, but the romantic swimming interlude that happens here, happens in an aquarium tank.  It’s not the only moment that’s cringe-inducing, as the mud fight between the two teenagers and the trying on a dress montage are all terrible scenes as well.

 

My favourite image in the films comes ala some just-hatched baby turtles.  Perhaps this is leftover footage from Disney•Nature’s Oceans, but none the less serves as a metaphor for the films unbearably slow pace.

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The Last Song Review By Erin V.

**1/2 (out of 4)

In this newest movie version of a Nicholas Sparks’ novel, Miley Cyrus plays Ronnie, an angry and confused 17-year-old girl shipped with her 10-year-old brother to spend the summer with her dad by the beach.  Ever since her parents separated, Ronnie has stopped playing the piano, which her father taught her as a composer from very young, and now, despite being excepted into Julliard, she says she’s never going to play again.  Of course, being based on a Nicholas Sparks’ novel, she meets a guy in this small town, they slowly fall in love, she changes, matures, and starts to think about life a bit more…

 

I don’t really have a problem with Nicholas Sparks’ book The Last Song, and I haven’t minded some of the other film adaptations, including The Notebook, which most people would agree is the best of them.  Dear John released just last month I liked as well.  This being said, The Last Song is not my favourite adaptation I’ve seen.  I found most of the acting, particularly with the younger cast members, to not quite carry the story as maturely as it could have been, and although the film was 108 minutes, it felt at least 20 minutes longer, and certainly could have come in at 90.   I found myself distracted as this film couldn’t hold my attention all the way through.  Granted, most of these adaptations seem like they could have had some editing done…

 

In short, if you have been faithfully following all of Nicholas Sparks’ books, and the films that tie with them, then you are going to want to at least check out The Last Song.  Fans will see the familiar story plot points and rhythms here, although for anyone else, this isn’t much more than a kind of boring at times, quite average love story.

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The Last Song Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

Based on the book by Nicholas Sparks, The Last Song is a rather mediocre film when compared to well made and emotionally moving Nicholas Sparks adaptations like The Notebook and Dear John.  Miley Cyrus plays Ronnie, a sullen teenager who is staying the summer with her divorced father, refusing to play the piano that he loves, and threatening to return to her mother’s home.  Ronnnie’s turning point however, is when she discovers a nest of loggerhead turtles, and falls in love with a handsome aquarium volunteer named Will.  Once Ronnie begins to care for individuals beyond herself, she develops a bond with her father that remains in her heart.

 

The Last Song is by no means a brilliant film.  The acting, except for Greg Kinnear, is not very believable, and the movie is little slow-moving.  However, this movie will appeal to 10-14 year old girls, as well as seniors.  There is no objectionable content, and the story is sweet enough to make the movie worthwhile.  (I especially liked the scene where the sea turtles hatch.)  The Last Song is a good choice for those who want a clean movie about love and family.

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The Last Song Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

The Last Song is based on the Nicholas Sparks novel with the same title.  I really enjoyed reading The Last Song and was looking forward to the movie adaptation.  Unfortunately, the movie didn’t live up to my expectations.  There is nothing especially wrong with the movie it simply isn’t anything special.

 

Greg Kinnear plays Steve Miller, a divorced father and former classic pianist and teacher who now lives a quiet life on a beachfront in North Carolina.  His two children, Jonah (Bobby Coleman) and Ronnie (Miley Cyrus) visit him from New York for the summer.  Ronnie is an angry young woman who has given up on her musical talent to spite the father she feels abandoned her.  Their lives all change when Ronnie falls in love with the local beach volleyball champ and aquarium worker, Will Blakelee (Liam Hemsworth) and when illness brings father and daughter together to resolve their differences.

 

Greg Kinnear’s performance is one of the few strong points in this film.  Miley Cyrus tries to give a credible performance as Ronnie, but somehow every time she was on-screen I saw Miley, not Ronnie.  Young and older teen girls will appreciate the many beach volleyball scenes with the well buffed and shirtless Liam Hemsworth.

 

The Last Song is a sweet movie in many ways.  It certainly is relatively clean in terms of language and sexual content.  The storyline about the sea turtles is nice and the music score, pleasant.  The piece of piano music that is the last song is also really nice,  As with all Nicholas Sparks stories there is always a good message about love and relationships.  Nicholas Sparks fans, Greg Kinnear and Miley Cyrus fans will appreciate The Last Song.  This will also play out well on DVD.

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The Last Song Review By Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

“Yankee coed falls for yokel at a Georgia beach” could summarize any number of Nicholas Sparks novels.  The latest offering The Last Song will no doubt appeal to the generation imprinted on Miley Cyrus from the Disney/Family Channel, but for the rest of us, aside from Greg Kinnear, the cast is merely adequate to a totally predictable story full of clichés such as the first kiss carousel cam.

 

It’s not a bad film, but Sparks fans have been better served by Dear John and much better by The Notebook.

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Consensus: Although not in the same league as Nicholas Sparks adaptations like The Notebook or Dear John, The Last Song is an alright movie for it’s target demographic, even though it can’t quite hold the attention of anyone else. **1/2 (Out of 4)

 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2010 4:19 pm

    Erin, I know this review is about the movie and all but I was wondering whether you would recommend reading the book?

    Nicole, I’m with you on the fact that I think what basically makes this movie is the story…which isn’t a very good testimony as it was a book before haha, right?

    Thank you Maureen! I couldnt quite put my finger on what it was that was bugging me about Miley Cyrus’ performance but that was it. It was Miley not Ronnie :]

    And Tony, totally agree with your point that it appeals to the crowd who know Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana. So I guess she failed in trying to break out of that market.

    John, you made me laugh so much…off to read more of your reviews now :]

    Like

    • July 26, 2010 7:17 am

      Thanks for your comments – glad you enjoyed our reviews.

      Yes, I would recommend the book. To be expected, it has more in it than the movie, with further developed sub-plots. If you like Nicholas Spark’s writing, I’d suggest reading it as well.

      Have fun exploring the site,
      -Erin V.

      Like

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