DVD Review: The Choice

The-Choice-MovieNo good deed goes unpunished in our house. Case in point: On Mother’s Day, we announced that we were headed to Redbox to forage for movies. She Who Must Be Obeyed indicated Self and No. 2 Daughter and issued the following directive: “Get something we all can watch.” Translation: “Girlie movie.”

Even though Mother’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, we thought it best to comply. That meant no gloomy Swedish movies where two people talk about death for 11 hours, no movies where the handsome hero gets betrayed and murdered in the final scene and no slasher films. What’s left? Of course, the latest Nicholas Sparks tear-jerker.

Which is what we got. And guess what? They hated it.

Even for Sparks, author of “The Notebook,” “The Longest Ride” and “Nights in Rodanthe,” this is a cheesy, manipulative waste of pixels. The formula, now exhausted, is as ever: We’re in North Carolina where lovable scamp first annoys and then seduces the uptight medical student next door. They go to bed (actually, they go to the kitchen counter, then the dining room table) and everything’s good until they have a falling out. Lovable scamp (Benjamin Walker) realizes what he’s lost and aggressively pursues uptight med student (Teresa Palmer). He finds her and she hates him, so they get married and have two Hallmark children and everything’s good until a truck slams into her car and she lands in the hospital with a coma and a ventilator. Months pass and she’s not waking up. And the choice in “The Choice” is whether lovable scamp should pull the plug.

The plot could unfold and be refolded in under 10 minutes, so the camera lingers long on birds, bayous, boats and sedge grass until you think you’ve tuned in “Animal Planet.”

The ending is too insultingly contrived to jerk even the most complicit tear. The only weeping we did was occasioned by the spectacle of our favorite English character actor, Tom Wilkinson (“The Full Monty,” “Michael Clayton”), participating in this joyless dud playing the part of lovable dad.

Domestic bliss depends a lot on making wise choices. Last Sunday, at the Redbox, we chose badly.

Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay

Managing Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Fay, managing editor of The Ellsworth American since 1996, is a third-generation Californian. Starting out as a news reporter in 1974, he has been an editor since 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling in Ellsworth with his wife and two daughters. [email protected]

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