The Lucky One

 

Warner Bros.

In cinemas nationwide

Nicholas Sparks.  I know.  I know.  While the best-selling novelist’s many books may drive many a young woman to a coquettish snicker, for so many of us out there in the dark (the boys, especially) we see these trailers coming down the line and just think: Not another one.

What we have to remember though – even those of us who are so mature that scenes of kissing and touching don’t make us giggle uncomfortably – is that these movies do bring good tidings.  Whether its the talent like Ryan Gosling, Diane Lane, Richard Gere or Kevin Costner, or the love stories we can’t resist like “The Notebook” or “A Walk to Remember,” there’s good stuff in the Sparks bottle.  Often times it gets snuffed out by the longing looks and predictable plot points, but director Scott Hicks (“Shine,” “Snow Falling on Cedars”) has found a way to showcase the emotional storyline of a soldier returning from war and a young woman still recovering from the loss of a loved one.

Zac Efron turns out a surprising and restrained performance while newcomer Taylor Schilling (NBC’s ‘Mercy’) proves that she is absolutely one to watch.  Blythe Danner offers a loveable if supporting turn as grandmother who is at once a complete caretaker and free spirit.  In the choices of script and direction, these characters find moments to surprise us in a most conventional love story format.  Chivalry and courage come from different places than one might expect in “The Lucky One.”

Aside from a dramatic and rather sudden Hollywood movie ending (a deus ex machina if ever there was one), this ranks right up there with “The Notebook,” and is a film that transcends the usual date night calling.