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The Longest Ride
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Longest Ride, while somewhat charming, is your standard-issue Nicholas Sparks romance. It tackles some pretty weighty subjects, including death, infertility, and traumatic injuries. The amount of romance/steamy stuff is fairly on par with The Notebook -- in particular, there's a scene featuring a couple having sex in the shower (bare backsides are shown, plus a quick glimpse of her breast from the side/front). Also passionate kissing, other scenes of implied sex, and some cleavage/underwear shots. Swearing includes "bulls--t" and "hell," and there's some social drinking. Since the story involves bull riding, expect some cringe-inducing scenes in which a rider is thrown and injured; there's also a car crash that leaves the driver hurt and bloodied.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood) is a champion bull rider who's thrown off his game, literally, by a massive injury he sustains in the arena. A year later, he's staging a comeback when he runs into Sophia (Britt Robertson), a college senior who's majoring in art and is ready to leave Greensboro, N.C., for a gallery internship in New York. Drawn to each other despite their differences, Luke and Sophia decide to not pursue a relationship because she's leaving in two months. But when they pass by a car accident and rescue an old man (Alan Alda) and his cache of love letters to his wife, Luke and Sophia's trajectories shift direction.
Is it any good?
Not to be flip, but it would be easy to pick on THE LONGEST RIDE. As critics have pointed out before, movies based on Nicholas Sparks stories aren't exactly known for their scintillating dialogue and surprising plot lines. In this respect, The Longest Ride conforms to expectations, including the requisite dual stories of two couples, a subject Sparks has certainly mined before. And yes, it's set in North Carolina.
But here's where The Longest Ride diverges from the Sparks-movie norm: Surprisingly, it's somewhat compelling, with lead actors who share a chemistry that approaches, if not meets or surpasses, that of the leads in Sparks' most famous book-turned-movie, The Notebook. Though Eastwood doesn't have the soulfulness of Ryan Gosling, nor Robertson the timelessness of Rachel McAdams, the stars do have such a strong rapport that they manage to make the film interesting and watchable. That the incomparable Alan Alda decided to do this movie is somewhat puzzling, but he's so lovely in it that it's yet another reason to watch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Longest Ride depicts love and romance. Is this what a relationship is "supposed" to be like? Why or why not?
Nicholas Sparks' movies often feature a young couple who learn about love and life from an older couple. Do you think this is a cliche, or is there something universal about young people learning from those who've come before them?
Do movies like this perpetuate an overly romanticized notion of marriage? How does it handle the serious subject of infertility?
- In theaters: April 10, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: July 14, 2015
- Cast: Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson, Alan Alda
- Director: George Tillman Jr.
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Book Characters, Horses and Farm Animals
- Run time: 139 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.