Greetings again from the darkness. To determine if this is your type of movie, you need only answer one question: Are you a Nicholas Sparks fan? Even though this is based on a novel by Heidi McLaughlin and not Nicholas Sparks, no normal person would be able to tell the difference, as the formula and story structure is very familiar (even the marketing campaign capitalizes on this). Perhaps that is the key to the success of movies like this – the stories are like a warm, comfy blanket to some folks.
Picturesque (and fictional) St Augustine, Louisiana is the setting for the love story of Liam and Josie. Things get off to a rocky start as the jilted bride is stranded on her wedding day. The film jumps ahead 8 years and we find that Liam (Alex Roe, THE 5TH WAVE) is now a country music superstar with a drinking problem and a duct-taped flip phone, while Josie (Jessica Rothe, HAPPY DEATH DAY) is a successful business owner and single mom. It’s at this point where you could most assuredly guess what happens next, as predictability and commitment to the formula are the mission.
Bethany Ashton Wolf is the writer/director and her film benefits from the presence of star-in-the-making Alex Roe and the precocious Abby Ryder Fortson as Josie’s daughter. Mr. Roe spends much of the movie in various stages of sweat (I guess that’s supposed to be sexy?), but the camera loves him and he has a unique approach that sets him apart from the endless line of pretty boy actors. Young Miss Fortson has already played the daughter of ANT-MAN and she has the ability to come off as normal kid, rather than an actress playing a kid.
John Benjamin Hickey (Liam’s dad), Gillian Vigman (publicist), Tyler Riggs (Josie’s brother), and Peter Cambor (Liam’s agent) fill the supporting roles, and it’s Travis Tritt who adds an all-too-brief touch of authenticity to the music and local saloon. The movie is exactly what it portends to be … nothing more, nothing less. If it’s to your taste, it’ll be that soft comforter that brings you serenity. If it’s not your style, it will likely be as itchy and scratchy as a new wool horse blanket.
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