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Friday, April 20, 2012

Finding and Fighting for Love, Self Worth and What is Right -- THE LUCKY ONE Movie Review


A simple love story told well.  That's how I would define in a phrase Waner Bros. latest romantic offering "THE LUCKY ONE". 

Based on the book of Nicholas Sparks, THE LUCKY ONE tells the story of U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) who returns from his third tour of duty in Iraq, with the one thing he credits with keeping him alive—a photograph he found of a woman he doesn’t even know. Learning her name is Beth (Taylor Schilling) and where she lives, he shows up at her door, and ends up taking a job at her family-run local kennel. Despite her initial mistrust and the complications in her life, a romance develops between them, giving Logan hope that Beth could be much more than his good luck charm.

When my fellow movieholic dad was alive, I always hear him say "Ang simple lang ng istorya, pero ang ganda (The story is so simple but it's so beautiful).  And I remembered that line again upon watching THE LUCKY ONE in its premiere night screening at the Power Plant Mall last April 16.   In my thought bubble, I couldn't agree less with my dad.  Sometimes, a movie doesn't need the grand and fancy production, all it needs is a good story to tell.  And that's exactly how THE LUCKY ONE is for me.

The story is plain quest for gratitude and eventually courage to fight for love.  And to be specific about it, that's not only about loving the person you value most, but loving yourself as well.  In the story, war torn Logan (Efron) looked for himself, he went on a journey to search for his inner peace.  Beth (Schilling) on the other hand looked for her voice and self worth which she lost when she got married.  Beth's son on the other hand, also looked for himself, his gifts and "home".  And as they struggle in finding each of themselves, they discovered and gained strength from one another, as they share the gift of love, acceptance and familyness.  And as each character is unfold and conflict told, the writer was able to effectively bring out the real human emotion -- self struggle denied, happiness pursued, inhibitions taken out, frustration revealed, sadness expressed and simple joys appreciated.

I must say Zac Efron is a big revelation here!  I was impressed how he grew up as an actor.  I wasn't able to see any remnants of his High School Musical days and he was brilliant for his role as Logan.  He moves and speaks like a soldier, and though his character (a supposed tough man) is holding back on his emotion, he was able to give deliver the sentimental side of Logan.  His tears, his voice, his facial expression, his stand, his smile just nailed it.  He is the next Hollywood leading man that we should watch out for.

Taylor on the hand was not left behind.  Taylor gave life to the shackled character of Beth.  At the start of the movie, she was amusing and fun to follow but as she slowly reveals her inner self and show her real emotion, I was able to feel her.  She was just so prolific on how she express her lines and control the release of her emotion. 

Blythe Danner is the scene stealer with her powerful and catchy lines and naughty smiles and facial expression.  :)

For a romantic film like this, art direction is at its best!  Many scenes are like art painting in motions.  With many fascinating set design -- Beth's family's house, the farm, the yacht, the attic, Logan's house, THE LUCKY ONE becomes a well photographed movie!  I was mesmerized by the love scene, the part when they were training the dogs, the playing of musical instruments and the moment when they explored and played at the farm.  It was nostalgic, it was magical.  Musical scoring of course danced beautifully with each of the frame of the movie. 

Another noteworthy thing, which is something personal for me, is the dogs featured in the movie!  As an animal and dog lover, their involvement at the first part of the film just amused.  And I bet many people like me will love it too.  Watching them is an irreplaceable joy in the heart.  It entertained the audience and at the same time, help set the tone of the movie. 

In one of the scenes in the film, I just noticed that Logan's dog, the german shepherd was not with him when he's leaving the place.  Well I could assume that he left the dog at the farm / dog training ground but it was not that clear. 

Another thing I noticed is the lack of consistency in the relationship of the child with his biological dad.  It was revealed that the kid is afraid of his dad but it was not established well.  The only mention was Beth's dialogue with her ex-husband that their son will bump the wall for him.  It's not clear whether the kid can do that to please his dad or because he's afraid of him.

But above all, I consider THE LUCKY ONE a beautifully told, well photographed and brilliantly acted film.  And the lesson I brought and that I am sharing now with you is "Find and fight for your love, yourself and what is right.  It may not be easy but it's the only thing that will lead you to innate happiness".

And with that, from a scale of 1 to 10 claps, I'm giving THE LUCKY ONE an astonishing 7.  Directed by Scott Hicks and written by Will Feters, THE LUCKY ONE opens in theaters on April 19. 

1 comment:

  1. If you love all of the Nicholas Sparks movies, then you'll love this sappy crap. However, if you hate that kind of stuff, then you will absolutely hate this movie. I did the latter. Good review Ferdinand.


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