Movie Review: ‘The Choice’

“Now, pay attention, because I’m about to tell you the secret to life,” says lead character Travis Shaw in Nicolas Sparks’ newest film adaptation. “Ready? It’s about choices.”

Nicolas Sparks’ 11th film adaptation “The Choice” hit theatres February 5. The man who brought us “The Notebook” (2004), “The Last Song” (2010), “Safe Haven” (2013), and more has once again tugged at our heart strings and brought us a story of love and choices. This story “The Choice” tells feels familiar — which is what Sparks wanted — yet, its story is distinct from the other films.

Sparks has a particular fondness for small towns in the Carolinas so naturally this story is set in North Carolina. It has the familiar enemies-to-lovers relationship development as “The Notebook” does, but it is set in modern times.

The story unfolds in a small town on the coast of North Carolina with two neighbors who meet because Gabby Holland (played by Teresa Palmer, better known for her role as Julie in “Warm Bodies”) believes Travis’ dog has “knocked up” her dog. She’s angry at Travis (Benjamin Walker) for letting his dog roam around without consequences. When she takes her dog to the vet, to her dismay, Travis is the veterinarian. Travis is kind and passionate — the man of any woman’s dreams — but is not the kind of picture-perfect man that one would expect to find in a movie.

Travis and Gabby begin a relationship, but Gabby is nearly engaged to another man. Travis fears she’ll choose the other man over him, and he leaves her. Travis’ fear of rejection causes him to make a choice he later regrets. The two try to live their lives apart, but neither can forget the spark between them. Travis is left to decide if pursuing the woman that “bothers” him so much is worth it.

Everyone in the audience can identify with making choices and dealing with the consequences. What if I had said ‘hi’ to him? What if I had broken up with her a year ago? All of life is about choices. It’s the little choices in life that create memories and help one discover one’s own path. “The Choice” illustrates taking chances and making choices that could change one’s entire life. The choice Travis makes — to pursue Gabby or not — will completely change the course of his life.

The story is warm, perfect and happy until tragedy strikes and Travis is left to make a potentially devastating choice. Travis and Gabby’s story reminds the audience of the power of love. Travis’ belief in his love for Gabby resonates with the audience. Love is a powerful force and is the only explanation for the obstacles Travis willfully endures. Everyone can relate to believing in love and praying that it is enough. Tragedy is only perceived as such when a person recognizes that love is on the line.

“You see how he nudges back on my hand?” Travis asks Gabby, referencing his dog Moby. “That’s loyalty — that’s love. I believe love is the most powerful thing there is.”

“The Choice” is heartwarming and shows the distance that love will go. Everyone has the chance to meet someone new every day that could change one’s life. This is not magic; it is a simple choice. “The Choice” reminds the audience that every love story starts with the simple choice to talk to someone.

“The Choice” is in theatres through mid March. Ladies, bring some tissues.

Allison Sapp is a senior English major and an arts and entertainment reporter for Cedars. She is obsessed with dark chocolate, movies, books and Tim Horton’s coffee.

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