Cast overview, first billed only:
Zac Efron ... Logan
Taylor Schilling ... Beth
Blythe Danner ... Ellie
Riley Thomas Stewart ... Ben
Jay R. Ferguson ... Keith Clayton
Adam LeFevre ... Judge Clayton
Robert Hayes ... Victor (as Robert Terrell Hayes)
Joe Chrest ... Deputy Moore
Russell Durham Comegys ... Roger Lyle (as Russ Comegys)
Sharon Morris ... Principal Miller
Ann McKenzie ... Charlotte Clayton
Kendal Tuttle ... Aces
Cameron Banfield ... Younger Marine
Ritchie Montgomery ... Cottage Owner
Courtney J. Clark ... Logan's Sister
Logan is a marine serving in Iraq. While there, he finds a photo of a girl with "keep safe" written on the back. He is admiring it when his unit is attacked. He survives and credits the photo for saving him. He tries to find the owner but can't, assuming he was killed. When he goes back to the States, he finds it difficult to adjust and is still haunted by what happened. Analyzing the photo, he finds in the background a landmark that tells him she is in Louisiana. He then goes there and finds her. He learns her name is Beth. He tries to tell her what happened but can't get the words out. She assumes he's there to apply for the job they advertised looking for someone to help at her family's business, a dog kennel. He says yes but at first she gets an uneasy feeling from him but her grandmother decides to give him a chance. It isn't long that he makes a connection with her son...
When you walk into a Nicolas Sparks movie, you expect certain things. The Lucky One follows a storyline similar to most of Nicolas Sparks' other adapted novels. This is neither a good nor a bad thing. So long as the movie can stand on its own feet, it deserves recognition. On that ground, The Lucky One does hold its own. The acting is great and the story held my interest. In the end, specific problems make this movie much worse than it should have been.
The main fallback of the story is the characters. Stereotypes are abound. The mayor-to-be is the same as any story that tries to cover a trapped-in-a-small-town feel. The father is an incredibly flat character that is in no way believable. Even Zac Efron's character is too mysterious for his own good. Although Efron pulled off the role quite well, it was the way the character is presented that is the problem.
The other problem with the film is its climax. I won't give it away, but I have seen the same climax more than once. It was an unfortunate low point in a movie that was incredibly well acted. The rest of the storyline was quite unique and enjoyable. Even the modern setting of PTSD and soldiers who have served too many tours was a fascinating setting for the movie. Unfortunately, the amateur screenwriter dropped the ball.
I must point out an unfortunate fact of this movie. It's only 101 minutes. Since it is so short for a complex drama, it drops the ball on many occasions. In the beginning of the film, Zac Efron's character walks from Colorado to Missouri. This fact is almost addressed at one point, but then dropped and never brought back. Things like this happen throughout the film. These holes could have been filled with 15 to 20 minutes more screen time. Unfortunately, the push to keep films shorter made The Lucky One significantly worse.
If you are a Nicolas Sparks fan, this movie is worth seeing. If you enjoy romantic dramas, I would recommend renting The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, or Dear John. If you don't like romantic dramas, there is no reason for you to see this movie. Nicolas Sparks is one of the few authors who deliver consistently good plots. Unfortunately, his last two films have fallen flat. Maybe it's time for him to stop using the same formula again and again.
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