“The Longest Ride” Review

The first thing to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to see The Longest Ride is that it’s based off of a Nicholas Sparks novel. The second thing to take into consideration is that the film is 2 hours and 20 minutes long. The third thing to take into consideration is that Clint Eastwood’s son, Scott, stars in the movie as a bull rider. Based off of this information alone, you should know if you’ll like this film or not. This isn’t a movie that’s going to surprise anyone. It does exactly what it needs to do to give the audience what they paid for. 

The story follows Sophia (Britt Robertson), a boring college student majoring in art history. When she is dragged to a bull riding competition by her stereotypical sorority sisters, she falls in love with Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood), a bull rider who is attempting to recapture former glory after a devastating injury. Collins falls in love with Sophia too, for no real reason other than that the plot calls for it. The problem? Sophia has a post-college internship lined up in New York City and leaves in a few months. They go on a first date anyway, and stumble across an old man, Ira (Alan Alda), who has crashed his car due to a storm. While Ira recovers in the hospital, Sophia reads him letters from his youth. Through Sophia and Ira’s frequent visits, we learn of the relationship between his younger self (Jack Huston), and Ruth (Oona Chaplin). This second romance story within The Longest Ride contains parallels to the first, as well as characters that are just as blandly written. 

If your movie contains the word ‘Long’ in its title, and the run-time is over 2 hours, there better be a pretty good artistic reason. If there isn’t, you can expect a plethora of bad jokes at the expense of your movie, like the one I’m about the make: The Longest Ride? More like, The Longest Movie, because this movie lasted foooorrrreeevvvveeerrrrr. Now that I got that out of the way, this movie is far too long. Nicholas Sparks movies are fluff movies. They are somewhat watchable, vaguely romantic, and incredibly emotionally manipulative, but ultimately they don’t serve any purpose past making you feel all warm and cuddly inside. With movies like this, you have to earn your extra run-time, and despite a relatively fast pacing due to multiple stories occurring at the same time, there is no good reason for the movie to be this long. 30-40 minutes could have been cut from it, easily. 

At best, the movie gets cheesy. At worst, the movie gets downright stupid. There are plenty of unintentional laughs as the cast attempts to deliver some uncomfortable lines, but an unintentional laugh is better than a groan, and the filmmakers unapologetic devotion to making romantic fluff helps make the film less of a chore to get through. All of the actors are incredibly charismatic, it’s just a shame that no one is given anything to work with.

Is this movie a cash-grab? Yes, but there is at least some minimal effort put into it. I’m not this movie’s target audience, so I don’t think it would be fair to completely trash it because it wasn’t made for me in mind. As a film, it hardly reaches the level of competent, but it safely avoids the level of atrocious. It could have been much worse, and I’d recommend it if it seems like a movie that you would like. Of course, if it seems like a movie that you’d like, you’ve probably already seen it by now. 4/10.

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