The Last Song is surprisingly good. Not that we didn’t think Nicholas Sparks had a good story in him, as we all know he does. And we certainly weren’t doubting Greg Kinnear’s acting talent. What, or who, we were doubting was Miley Cyrus. We know her for her campy Disney series, Hannah Montana, for being the daughter of Mr. Achey Breaky Heart, and for hitting the tabloids dating older boys. And she was going to pull off this big dramatic role from a Nicholas sparks story?
Yet … she does. None of us knew Cyrus had it in her, yet she does. She stars in this film as a very brooding teenager, Ronnie. Like most teens, she’s not happy with her current lot in life, and she’s not going to let anyone forget about it. Once a very promising piano prodigy, her parents split up, and she moved from Georgia to New York with her mom, Kim (Kelly Preston), and little brother, Jonah (Bobby Coleman). She hasn’t tickled the ivories since and is refusing to make good on the offer to attend Julliard. Making matters worse, she was caught shoplifting.
Kim sends Ronnie and Jonah to spend the summer with their dad, Steve (Kinnear), at his home in a small Georgian beach town. Joanh is ecstatic to see his dad, but Ronnie barely says two words to him before she walks to the beach on her own and inadvertently runs into a beach volleyball player, Will (Liam Hemsworth). She wants nothing to do with him, but finds a new friend, Blaze (Carly Chaikin), who turns out to be not much of a friend after all.
There’s something about this small beach town that makes it hard to get away from people. Ronnie keeps running into Blaze, as well as Will. When she sees raccoons digging up sea turtle eggs in front of her dad’s house, she calls the local aquarium to help save them. Who do they send? Will. Apparently he’s a volleyball player, a local mechanic, and volunteer at the aquarium. Ronnie tries to keep up the brooding act, but after awhile, she finds herself succumbing to all Will’s charms.
Not that these two lovebirds have an easy path from hereon out. This is based on a Nicholas Sparks novel after all. The minor story going on throughout is Steve repairing the stained glass windows in a local church. He’s under the impression that he played some part in the fire at the church. Will’s friends and family are less than happy with his choice in date, and his ex seems very unwilling to let him go. Despite Blaze’s sabotage of Ronnie’s life, when she needs a friend, Ronnie’s there for her. Throughout her happiness with Will, Ronnie slowly learns to let her long pent-up anger go, until a family tragedy puts her right back there.
This is just a well-told story in every way. It’s typical Sparks, pulling on every emotion that we have, and just when we think we’re over a hump, there comes another hump threatening everyone’s happiness yet again. The actors do a great job of furthering our emotions even more. Enough so, that it’s not too much of a surprise to find out that Hemsowrth and Cyrus started dating sometime during the filming of the movie.
The Last Song is in stores now on Blu-Ray and DVD.