The Best of Me

"The Best Of Me" official still photo - source:

You weren’t just someone I loved back then. You are the very best of me.” (The Best Of Me, 2014)

You have wounds that have never healed. You’ve lived with them so long. You don’t even know that they’re there anymore. Pain has deep roots. The only way to dig it out is to forgive him and forgive yourself.” –Tuck Hostetler (The Best Of Me, 2014)

I got you together here because I don’t want either of you living with regret. You two were meant to love each other. You needed a chance to remember that. I’m not saying you’re gonna be together; I don’t know that. And if it doesn’t work out, you’ll miss her so much. You’ll barely be able to move. You’ll feel you have no purpose, no reason to go on. But there’s nothing to do but wait. Wait and it’ll get clear to you. You’ll get on with your life, and gifts will come into it.” –Tuck Hostetler (The Best Of Me, 2014)

Title                 : The Best Of Me
Director            : Michael Hoffman
Starring            : Michelle Monaghan, James Marsden, Luke Bracey, Liana Liberato
Genre               : romance, drama
Distributor        : Relativity Media
Release date     : 17 October 2014
Running time    : 118 minutes

"The Best Of Me" movie poster - source:

People say that soulmates are connected by the heart. No matter how far the distance puts them away physically, soulmates can always feel each other. It’s the soul that connects between two people who belong with each other; that’s why they called soulmates. Having a soulmate is like fill in the blank, bring out the best in everybody, being the best of everybody, find our best self when we are with that person. Well at least that’s what I believe a soulmate is. People come and go in our life, but a soulmate comes and may go, but a soulmate definitely stays forever in the heart. There’s one soulmate for everyone in a lifetime, but well you know, life is full of surprises until the point it’s terrifying. We never know what life would bring upon us, today, tomorrow, next month, next year, or even some minutes later. And there’s a thing that terrified me the most, it’s what if I’ve met my soulmate, but I’ve just let it slip away from my hand?
They say that you’re lucky enough if you could marry your soulmate. Because most of people don’t, or can’t. There are many versions of it. Ones say that in this life you don’t have only one soulmate, and that the person you marry is definitely one of them. Others say that you have only one soulmate in a lifetime, and that the person you marry is not always your soulmate. It’s confusing, isn’t it? Anyway, I believe the second one better than the first one. Because, you know, there won’t be any divorce or separation when everyone could marry their soulmates. We might be fated with more than one person, and that’s why we fall in and out of love more than once in our lifetime. But somehow I believe, we only have one soulmate; the one whom we share our souls, and we only meet that person once in our lifetime. Whether we end up being together with that person or not, the soulmate will always have a meaningful place in our heart and mind. The soulmate will always be that kind of person; whom we never stop loving even after many times have passed; who even after they leave, nothing is going to be the same for us, ever again.

"The Best Of Me" official still photo - source:

Talking about soulmates and all, I would like to write about a 2014 melodrama movie titled “The Best Of Me”. The story begins with Dawson Cole (portrayed by James Marsden) who gets an accident at the rig where he works at which almost takes away his life. At that moment when he is near to death, a woman’s face comes into his mind. It’s a miracle that Dawson survives the accident, but then he receives a news that his surrogate father, Tuck Hostetler (Gerald McRaney), has died. Dawson then comes back to his hometown, and that’s when he meets Amanda Collier (portrayed by Michelle Monaghan), his first love whom he hasn’t met again since 21 years ago. It turns out that Tuck was not only leave a last message for him, but also for Amanda as well. The meeting takes them back to more than two decades ago, when young Dawson (Luke Bracey) met the young Amanda (Liana Liberato) for the first time. It was when they began to know each other and fell in love. It was when they were highschool sweethearts.
Dawson grew up in a troubled family. His father, Tommy Cole (Sean Bridgers), was a criminal and very abusive towards his own son. Although he’s brilliant and handsome, Dawson didn’t have the confidence and guts to date Amanda, a beautiful lady from a rich and dignified family. But she didn’t give up easily and she didn’t care even after her father openly and strongly opposed their relationship. And it was on the day of their senior prom, when Dawson should picked her up but he didn’t show up because of a family matter. Now, after 21 years have passed, they meet again due to Tuck’s last will. Amanda and Dawson can’t resist the strong feeling they still have towards each other. However, everything else has changed. Amanda is already married, though her marriage is no longer bring happiness for her. Dawson knows nothing but feeling sorry that he was letting Amanda slipped through his hand back then. Despite all, they understand that the love is still there; that it’s always there. How will they sort their feelings toward each other? What are they looking for from each other now? Do they want them to fall back in love with each other again? How do they do that if they haven’t ever stopped?

"The Best Of Me" official still photo - source:

Some people perhaps already have enough of Nicholas Sparks’ melodramas, but me, well I love melodramas. And I have to say that “The Best Of Me” is on the top five list, along with “A Walk To Remember”, “The Notebook”, “Dear John”, and “Safe Haven”. And I also have to say that the main attraction of this movie is the cast. It was a very great job done by the production team to choose Michelle Monaghan and Liana Liberato to portray the adult and young Amanda Collier respectively. They did resemble each other. Meanwhile for James Marsden and Luke Bracey, well I can’t say that they resembled each other as much as Monaghan and Liberato, but they did play their own parts very well by portraying the adult and young Dawson Cole respectively with the same kind of vibes. Both Liberato-Bracey and Monaghan-Marsden were making lovely couples with their own charms. Other supporting casts were great too. The angel-in-disguise Tuck Hostetler and evil Tommy Cole were brought into life wonderfully by Gerald McRaney and Sean Bridgers respectively. Everyone fell right into their characters, indeed.
I always love the idea of using young-adult counterparts in a movie. It’s very tricky though for the production team. But when they could pull it well, then it would be so great. Say it like South Korea’s “Introduction to Architecture (건축학개론)” (2012) –also known as “Architecture 101”– which use young-adult counterparts very well in it. Thankfully, “The Best Of Me” did the same well done job, as I’ve mentioned before, by putting the right cast. Through the counterparts, we could see how the main characters grow throughout the story. It depicts that every choice people make in their life will affect their future choices, how it gives impact to their life, and where it takes them. At some points, when everything seems to have changed, there are things that have never. And it takes 21 years for Amanda and Dawson to realize that for them, it’s the love they have for each other that have never changed. It takes 21 years for them to finally understand that they’re a soulmate.
The plot of “The Best Of Me” storyline is going back and forth between the past and the now in a very smooth way, which making it comfortable and exciting to watch. Begins with the two ex-lovers reuniting awkwardly for the first time after 21 years of separation, and then continues with how they were meeting for the first time 21 years ago. As the story goes, while the adult Amanda and Dawson are trying hard to put down the weight off of their hearts while trying to figure out what they feel toward each other now, we can see how the relationship was built between the young Amanda and Dawson; crazily yet deeply in love, a-burning-hot-young-love kind of love that goes strong though some family issues stand between them. And when the adult Amanda and Dawson finally come to an understanding that they do still in love with each other, after all of those times, the story finally reveals the reason why the young Amanda and Dawson broke up and separated back then. Moreover, the plot gives us a not-very-surprising-twist towards the end of it, but it’s indeed a very heartfelt one in the universe of melodramas.

"The Best Of Me" official still photo - source:

One thing that I always expect from Nicholas Sparks, is the moral of the story. They always talk about true love and soulmate, but “The Best Of Me” is beyond that. It also talks about family; one thing that is missing in most of Sparks’ stories. However, family issue is blended perfectly in this movie. It even becomes the fundamental influence to the backbone story of the relationship between Amanda and Dawson. Moreover, the story is about finding the true self of your own, through love and family; that to live is to give meaning. Everything happens for a reason, and everyone lives for a certain purpose. Dawson used to think that he was nothing and didn’t deserve anything good in this life; that his existence was meaningless. When he met Tuck, he realized that he was meant a gift for him, a family, a son he never got to have before. When he met Amanda, he understood that he was meant everything for her, a bestfriend, a lover, a very best of her; as well as she was for him. And that’s a soulmate really means; a love that won’t fade in time, a heart that brings out the best in us, a home to come back to, always.
As I’ve mentioned many times before, “The Best Of Me” was based on a novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks, that was first published in 2011. The love story between Amanda and Dawson is got me so and inspiring me in some ways. That’s why I choose it as the second movie for My Choices: Continue Living post. I have to note the chemistry between Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato, who portrayed the young Dawson and Amanda respectively, for leaving a very deep impression in me with their portayals. Well, first love is unforgettable, soulmate comes only once in a lifetime, true love stays forever in the heart, and life is too short to let it slip away. Perhaps I’ve met my soulmate without even realizing it, or perhaps I haven’t met him yet. Anyway, have or haven’t, someday I’ll understand, because everything happens for a reason, and a soulmate doesn’t come just for a season. If I’ve let him slip away before, then he will come back around. I believe that.

When I was young, I looked for a shape to things; a reason or a design. So much of what happened to me, though, felt like an accident. So I guess I lost faith in all that. When I survived my fall, I began to wonder if there wasn’t some purposes to my life. Maybe I was on a destined path, even if I couldn’t see it yet. When I saw you again, I believe we’d been given a second chance, that the universe had decided to give us that. You have commitments, I understand, and you want to keep them. I can only love you more for that. I hope to see you again someday, but if I don’t, just know that these last days have been the best of my life. I love who I am when I’m with you. You are my dearest friend, my deepest love. You are the very best of me.” –Dawson Cole (The Best Of Me, 2014)


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