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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 16, 2016

The Choice Movie Review - For Those Who Love Mushy Tearjerking Love Stories

NICHOLAS SPARKS is one prolific novelist who has become a brand name. “The Choice” is his 11th work to be turned into a movie. He’s the favorite punching bag of critics who usually tear his movies into shreds for being mushy, sudsy, manipulatively weepy, like his highly successful “The Notebook” in 2004, mostly set in his native North Carolina.

But obviously, despite all the critical bashing, they stll make money, so it’s not at all surprising that Hollywood makes a movie based on his works almost every year. And his fans don’t mind that his works follow a now familiar formula so they keep on going to the theaters to watch his movies.

This year, it’s “The Choice”, which, as maybe expected, is another love story. The lead characters are Travis (Benjamin Walker, “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter”, “In the Heart of the Sea”), a trainee at a veterinarian clinic, and Gabby (Aussie actress Teresa Palmer, “Warm Bodies”, “Point Break”), a medical student.
They figure in the usual cute meet. Neighbors, Gabby is furious that Travis plays very loud music while she is busy studying so she goes to his cottage and tells him how angry she is. As stories like this go, they eventually warm up to each other. The problem is Gabby has a doctor boyfriend (Tom Welling of “Superman”) and Travis has a sexy girlfriend (Alexandra Daddario of “San Andreas”). But they go away for a while, so what do you expect?

The movie opens with a prologue showing the story’s narrator visiting a woman whose identity is a mystery to us (just like the start of “The Notebook”). As the movie goes on, it will later be revealed who she is and what happened in between. There’s also a scene that seems to be a justification of what later happens.
Travis sees his veterinarian dad (Tom Wilkinson) secretly replacing a pet lizard that died with another one that looks exactly like it. Travis calls his dad’s attention about it and his dad offers him “the choice”. Will he prefer to give the dead lizard to the owner, a cute 10-year old girl whose heart will surely be crushed? Or would he rather do something that would make it appear that her pet lizard made a miraculous recovery? Remember what Travis’ choice is as he will be facing a similar situation later on.

Told with stunning cinematography featuring postcard pretty shots of the sun-dappled sea, the coast and the sky above them, you’ll surely fall in love with the enchanting location. The stars are appealing and attractive. And those who frown on Sparks’ contrivances in his narrative might avoid the movie. But all who loved his previous works will surely relish all its lachrymal intensity, so be sure to bring tissue paper with you when you watch it. The movie starts with the line: “Now pay attention, because I’m about to tell you the secret of life.” Then tell us if Sparks has indeed fulfilled his promise.