2015 / Director. Ross Katz.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
THE CHOICE is a thinking person's film. It asks a fundamentally perplexing question and leaves the answer squarely in the hands of its audience. The question was stuck in my mind for the entire duration of my drive home, through rotten peak-hour traffic, and it kept repeating itself over and over... and so what, exactly, did became of the pot-roast?
And that's about as deep as THE CHOICE gets. It is, of course, the latest insistently stifling title from Hollywood's most prolific moosh-machine, Nicholas Sparks. There was a time when I really enjoyed his stories. Way back when MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE and A WALK TO REMEMBER set the standard, and NIGHTS IN RODANTHE and THE NOTEBOOK propelled his melodramatic drivel into the wider public consciousness. But then “Sparks” became franchised in nature and the movies began to blur. I can imagine a Rolodex sitting on his desk and when it's time to write a new novel, he randomly selects a title and it says something like “the romance of a lifetime, marred by tragedy”. But so be it, and hey, he has his audience. I'm just no longer part of it.
The movie opens with a stupid and condescending narration with the lead character letting us in on the secret to life. “It's all about choices”. And so begins a laborious story of two people who hate each other, but then fall in love, and if you've seen any one Nicholas Sparks movie then that's all you need to know. What ensues is a tumultuous love affair full of moon-lit waters, wind-swept reeds and all kinds of romantic picturesque views (oh and there's a bunch of characters, but they're not as interesting). It's basically like a DAWSON'S CREEK reunion film.
The mawkish melodrama was expected, and I was fully prepared to take THE CHOICE for what it's worth. A slathering of generosity is always necessary with these films and to be honest, it almost had me. There were moments when I felt myself hoping for specific outcomes and for a brief moment I was interested in the direction of the story, however the lack of depth to the characters and the absolute absence of personality makes it a very predictable and arduous watch. In fact aside from Tom Wilkinson as the windowed father, there are no likeable character at all... that is unless arrogant, condescending twats is your idea of likeable.
And so there it is. But what about the pot-roast?