This week was our Romance category, and nothing screams Romance like Nicholas Sparks’ instant classic The Choice! The Choice presents an interesting case for the based-on-a-book cycle. This is primarily because I found the book to be somewhat offensive. And not even in the hyperbolical sense (like “the editing in The Choice offended me”). It was truly offensive. For those who haven’t read the book, the plot isn’t too far off from the film: boy meets girl, girl has boyfriend, they fall in love, she leaves boyfriend, they get married, there is an accident, the boy must make a choice regarding whether to take the girl off life support. Thus the title The Choice. Now all this would simply be incredibly sad if this choice had to be made because Travis and Gabby (our main characters) had not thought through the situation in advance (which would be pretty common given how young they are). With no advance directives laid out, Travis would have a gut wrenching decision to make regarding the woman he loves. Is he ready to let her go given the quality of life that she would endure otherwise? Here’s the rub though: she did have an advance directive. She signed, with Travis and a lawyer witnessing, an advance directive stating that she wished to be taken off life-support in the event that she was in a coma for more than 120 days. So the choice is actually whether he is going to follow her advance directive… … … and he chooses not to. I understand that this is an incredibly tough decision, but ignoring an advance directive and going against Gabby’s wishes… that’s not right. That’s the wrong choice. I’m sorry. It is. It was her (and their) choice and they made it together and then he disregarded it. And then for Sparks to have the gall to have Gabby come out of the coma and imply to the reader that Travis made the correct choice is even worse. It’s offensive. Straight up. It’s all a little less offensive in the film for two reasons: 1. The movie is poorly told and edited, so the offense in question is actually kind of hard to grasp. I don’t think this is on purpose, but it softened it a bit nonetheless. 2. They seemed a bit more aware of the problem. There was a particular scene where Travis’ dad (a vet) decides that he is going to buy a new lizard for a little girl whose pet has died and pretend that it lived by some miracle, instead of breaking the bad news to her. It’s almost a metareference to the entire story, “Yeah, here’s a miraculous story of Gabby coming out of the coma (when we know that the truth is much harder and harsher a reality). But it’s nicer for you sweet, naive audience.” As you can probably tell I had OPINIONS about the adaptation.
Alright, well this can hardly be judged for Settings 101, but here it goes anyway. Everyone everywhere always knows that this book/film is set in North Carolina. Why? Because it’s a Nicholas Sparks book, duh. They are all set in North Carolina. Like Phantoms, though, they don’t really go out of their way to mention it much. Fortunately for The Choice it has a few things going for it: 1. License plates confirmed the location. 2. It was shot on location in the actual setting of Wilmington, N.C. so the restaurant and beaches and stuff are well known Wilmington landmarks (!). 2. Gabby is from Charleston and we see Travis drive there (passing a Welcome to South Carolina sign no less) along the coast, so realistically they can only either be in North Carolina or Georgia. All adds to a C. Now normally for a film that only definitively proves its location through license plates and the like you would be in the D range, but come on! They filmed in the small coastal town where the book took place! That’s kind of crazy. Gotta bump that up to a C.
Olá a todos! That’s right, I was on holiday (as they say) in Portugal for the week and naturally I carved out some time to watch The Choice (more like … My Choice is Nope! (?) I’m not sure, there isn’t a good rhyme [EDIT: My brother pointed out that using the version of nice pronounced like noice you could get something like “The Choice?! More like Not Noice!”, it is pretty good. Better than the garbage I put out into the world. Thanks bro]) … not really, I watched it when I got back. And I must say, let’s get into it.
- The Good – Huh, the main woman was kind of cute in a I-Can’t-Quite-Figure-Out-How-To-Do-An-American-Accent-Properly kind of way, so that’s nice for a rom dram. The scenery was unbelievable, really putting NC right up and center. Fighting the good fight in showing how the 1% are just like us, you know? (Seriously though, everyone in this movie was quietly and absurdly wealthy and they almost conspicuously don’t mention it).
- The Bad – The main guy looks like a cartoon, in such a way that he could only ever exist in Civil War movies (jelly much Patrick? Whatever, he looks like a cartoon). The movie is pretty dull. The ending is absurd (you don’t just shake off a 100 day coma lady, c’mon!). The movie is 20 minutes too long. Both main actors are terrible. If I could freeze this movie in a time capsule I would as a testament to “this is what a bad romantic drama is”. The perfect ending to Nicholas Sparks’ production company I must say.
- The BMT – Hell yeah. This movie is crazy bad and there is one scene that kind of saves it for me (think motorcycle ride in the rain ending with a singing church scene, it is amazing). But if someone said let’s watch this and make fun of it I would definitely do it … for an hour and then tell them to stop because it isn’t worth it at that point.
Phew. I did have opinions. Major opinions. I’ve felt like my responses have gotten a bit stale over the past few weeks so I’m going to go back to Sequel Prequel Remake and then start mulling over some new games when Jamie goes on vacation. Here I think we definitely need a Prequel where we see Travis just smashing it in NC for a summer. Fresh out of college you see him rebel a bit against his father’s dreams for him as a vet. He buys a boat, buys a sweet adirondack chair and makes a life promise with his best buds that they’ll never get married! But oh, a blast from the past as his old high school squeeze blows in threatening to derail all of the summer shenanigans for the newly minted graduates. Can this sleek southern gentleman juggle his friends, his summer plans, and his heart?! The Choice 2: Summer Fling. There is definitely some southern dreamboat on the CW who would kill in this role.