A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The Lucky One promotes the ideas that struggles don't have to define you and that you must learn to stand up for yourself. Also, that love heals, that family bonds are very powerful, and that loyalty matters. But it also perpetuates the notion that women, no matter how capable, need the love of a good man to be able to love themselves.
Positive Role Models
Almost all of the characters, even the one obviously pitched as the "bad guy," have a soft side. Logan is kind, earnest, and principled, and -- despite some nightmares and sadness -- appears generally intact after the war. Beth is a caring mother and daughter. Together, they're a beacon of niceness.
Violence & Scariness
Gunfight in the middle of a war, with some soldiers shot dead. Innocent bystanders also die. Explosions in war zones. The war scenes in general feel menacing. An abusive man stalks his ex-wife and threatens her when she doesn't give into his demands. Later, he gets into a fight with another man and brandishes a gun at him. A harrowing scene shows people about to fall into a raging river during a storm.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Couples kiss passionately in the shower and in a bedroom while they remove each other's clothing (shot in close-ups that don't show private parts); sex is implied on more than one occasion. One scene depicts the woman with her hand down the back of a man's pants, with the upper part of his backside showing.
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Relatively infrequent use of words including "s--t," "damn," "hell," "goddamn," and "ass."
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Products & Purchases
An iPod is seen, as is a Mitsubishi car.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink on dates and at social functions. The movie's bad guy gets drunk and starts a fight with another man. Beth gets a little tipsy during a date.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, like other romances based on Nicholas Sparks novels -- including The Last Song, Dear John, and The Notebook -- The Lucky One is filled with swoony, sentimental moments involving a pair of star-crossed lovers kept apart by their life challenges and personal struggles. Expect some gauzy love scenes (mostly kissing and early stage undressing -- no private parts are seen, though the top of a male backside is visible); infrequent swearing ("s--t," etc.), some drinking by adults, some tense scenes of peril and confrontation, and jarring-but-not-graphic wartime scenes in which grenades explode and soldiers are shot dead. Although the movie means well overall, it does suggest that women need the love of a good man to be able to love themselves. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
As Nicholas Sparks romances go, THE LUCKY ONE is one of the better ones -- quite a feat, considering it doesn't star Ryan Gosling. Efron and Schilling share an easy chemistry, which is key, of course. But as a romantic story on its own, The Lucky One doesn't hold a candle to the classics of the genre -- The English Patient if we're to get lofty, or even An Officer and a Gentleman.
Those movies boast a complexity that evokes the complications of life on two battlefield fronts: love and war. The Lucky One isn't so lucky (or, rather, well crafted). It's bogged down by hokey dialogue and stilted acting. Efron, who actually has shown some talent, appears to think "wooden" passes for "mysterious" here. Only Blythe Danner, as Beth's grandmother, is unscathed. She's witty and breezy and soulful in all the right moments, and we're lucky for that.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.