It's a great feeling when you're expecting nothing and get not only something, but something really great.
In the case of the film "THE CHOICE," I was expecting to watch a ho-hum romantic drama but ended up enjoying a heartfelt gem. A charming and surprisingly literary movie with some haunting dialogue that touches the soul, almost Aristotelian in it's delicate understanding of human emotions.
A Hallmark kind of you-don't know-what's-wrong-until-you-experience-what's-right/finding-the-love-of-your-life film that holds up on the big screen, enhanced by its striking cinematography of the southeastern coastal inlets at the most picturesque times of day. I'd say that all adds up to a Romantic Winner!
The basic premise: Travis Shaw, a charming southern alley-cat is comfortable in his routine life, working with his veterinarian father Dr. Shep at a small-town animal clinic, entertaining married friends and their kids on weekends with barbeques and boating jaunts, and seeing one gal in particular casually on-and-off-again, the not-really-miss-right Monica.
Starring: Benjamin Walker Teresa Palmer
Alexandra Daddario Tom Wilkinson
Director: Ross Katz Writers: Bryan Sipe (screenplay)
Nicholas Sparks (novel)
After reading the bestselling novel by Nicholas Sparks the film was based on, I became even more impressed with how screenwriter Bryan Sipe rendered it. His changes and reshuffling of the storyline only enhanced it.
I loved the charming sparks between the middleaged widower Dr. Shep (Tom Wilkinson- Enfglish actor nominated for numerous awards for "In the Bedroom" and "Michael Clayton") and the owner of a hypochondriac dog , and the scene when vet Travis is forced by his father to confront a young girl about her dead pet by presenting her with a look alike replacement while the blushing Gabby watched.
And the tinkling wind chimes. Not in the book.
There is a wonderful chemistry between the stars in this quiet film; Benjamin Walker -a naturally lanquid contemporary rogue as potent as a smooth southern bourbon, a Georgia native latest film role as Captain Pollard in "In the Heart of the Sea"), and Teresa Palmer- a simple beauty with an earthly common sense, a straightforward intelligence, and the unforced humor the author embodied in Gabby Ryan (she seems to be hitting her stride with five upcoming starring film roles in post-production).
The Director, Ross Katz, unleashed some powerful moments between these two fine actors whose expressions and movements seemed a window into their most vulnerable feelings, no pretending, no masks, just flooding their own lights and darkness's into the roles. Katz made us fall in love with Gabby and Travis and their pretty as a picture life together as well.
Cinematographer Alar Kivilo gave us visuals that spoke volumes, shooting the wind chimes in a way that made them seem to possess the mysterious grace and soul of gabby herself. And some applause should go to the woman's touch of Editor Lucy Donaldson.
It's been a long time since we were all struck by cupid's golden arrow with "You've Got Mail" or shed tears over "An Affair to Remember" or "Love Story." Hopefully this film will portend the resurrection of well-done love stories once again at the box office, a welcome respite in the midst of a lot of goulish Vampire Action Action Action Films!
New neighbor, gabby Holland, a sweet simply pretty focused young doctor's assistant, who is bothered by Travis' bubbling barbeque lawn parties she eyes from her front porch, his loud music drowning out the sound of her lovely wind chimes, and his overly charming dog, who has got his eye on her golden retriever pooch.
Gabby is dating fellow doctor Ryan, Mr. I-hope-he's-the-one.
Travis is obviously more than bothered by Gabby too, but in a 'I can't get you out of my mind' way, and eventually their affair heats up.
When old staid boyfriend Ryan finally proposes marriage to Gabby, the whole magical affair comes to an end.
Choices...Choice....Choices...for them all.
Travis professes to Gabby, she's the one for him, the 'I want you to bother me for the rest of my life' gal.
But Gabby isn't sure.
Travis backs off.
But it ain't over.
Travis decides to fight for Gabby and happily ever after marriage and two kids ensue...until......
Their relationship is tested by one of life's most defining events. What relationship worth a hoot isn't.
There's a two-fold lesson here: that words of love and respect and caring between husband and wife are worth saying even when it's doubtful they're being heard, that after being dealt life's greatest stresses, a couple can make a life afresh afterwards.