The Longest Ride

Based on Nicholas Sparks’ 2013 novel of the same name, The Longest Ride is a 2015 American romantic drama film directed by George Tillman, Jr. and written by Craig Bolotin. the film stars Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, Jack Huston, Oona Chaplin, Alan Alda, Melissa Benoist, Lolita Davidovich, and Gloria Reuben.

Luke Collins is a bullrider on the professional circuit and gets seriously injured one night while performing. A year later he gets back on the circuit and wins his first tournament back, where he also meets New Jersey native Sophia Danko, who is working on being an intern at a posh art gallery in New York once her classes are done and was only there because her sorority friends asked her to. After they meet again at a bar, Luke asks her out and they have a really romantic picnic near a lake. On their way back they spot a car crash in the woods and help rescue an older man who is stuck inside. Sophia also pulls a wooden box from the vehicle, when the older man manages to mumble about it. The two take him to a hospital where Sophia decides to stay back while Luke goes back to his ranch.

While in the hospital, Sophia continuously visits the man she and Luke rescued, Ira Levinson. He explains that there are letters in the box, which he wrote as a teenager, and she offers to read them to him, as his eyesight is bad. They tell the story of how he met his late wife, Ruth. Throughout the film we flashback to the early 40s when a young Ira meets newly arrived immigrant Ruth and how they begin dating. Ruth tells a young Ira that she wants a big family and, eventually, he proposes to her before leaving to fight in World War II. However, Ira is shot during an attack and is later informed by the doctor that he can no longer have children, news that causes distance between him and Ruth when he returns because he knows how much she wants to be a mother. They decide to make it work regardless and move in together, decorating the house with many paintings that Ruth loves. Ruth was a school teacher who became very attached to a young boy in her class. Because he comes from a broken family, her and Ira begin taking him in as their own and, eventually, Ruth decides she wanted to adopt him but his guardians wouldn’t allow it.

This causes a rift between them and Ruth eventually leaves for a while but changes her mind and comes back regretful of her decision. They continue to live a happy and long life as a married couple when one morning 80 year olf Ira wakes up to find Ruth has died in her sleep. He boxes up all of the paintings they collected together to sell them at an auction. One night, a woman knocks on his door claiming to be the wife of Daniel McDonald, the child they almost adopted when they were younger, to inform him that he has died. She gives him a portrait of Ruth that Daniel had painted and the photograph Daniel had kept of Ira and Ruth (the one Luke found in his car the day of the crash) with a message on the back that reads: “Ruth Levinson, third grade teacher. She told me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up”. Daniel became a professor, taking after Ruth. Meanwhile as Luke & Sophia’s relationship progresses, they hit a snag when at an art exhibit in Charlotte the following week, which she invites Luke to, Luke makes a rude comment to Sophia’s boss, which causes an argument between them. They talk about how their worlds are so different and Luke doesn’t feel the relationship will work because of it.

However Luke gets injured at his next event, and is unconscious and taken to a hospital. As Sophia is leaving for New York, she gets a call and goes to see him. Luke is told he can never ride again but refuses to accept that his career is over. Following an argument, Luke and Sophia break up. A few weeks pass when Ira passes and Sophia is asked by his lawyer to attend an auction held for the paintings. Luke too gets an invite and wins his last ride, but feels disappointed because Sophia isn’t there with him. He then decides to go to the auction, where he buys the first painting, Daniel’s portrait of Ruth. Sophia and Luke talk, and he tells her he won’t ride anymore because what he really wants is to be with her.

While they kiss , an uproar breaks out in the auction room. Luke is informed that he is now the owner of all of Ira’s paintings since Ira left a message in his will stating that whoever bought the portrait would get them all since it was the most important one to him. A year later Luke and Sophia, now married, have built a museum dedicated to Ira and Ruth. Luke takes Sophia to the old college where Ira and Ruth used to spend their anniversary. He then starts to read one of Ira’s letters. They live happily ever after.

Sweet and sappy at times, a bit contrived (especially that last part and the mirroring of the two relationships from two different times) but I can’t say that it was boring. It was actually quite well done and I’d give it a solid 7.5 outta 10!

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