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The Last Song
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Reviewed on 2010-04-04
RatedPG
Received[3]  out of 4 stars
GenreDrama
Websitehttp://touchstone.movies.go.com/thelastsong/
Teenage superstar Miley Cyrus (“Hannah Montana”) and best-selling author Nicholas Sparks (“Dear John,” “The Notebook” and “A Walk to Remember”) make an unbeatable combination. Sparks wrote this story about the rebellious outcast daughter of divorced parents with Cyrus in mind.

Cyrus does not disappoint her fans and makes a smooth transition from comedy to drama.

17-year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller (Cyrus) was mad and angry when her parents, Steve and Kim (Greg Kinnear from “Little Miss Sunshine” and Kelly Preston from “Jerry Maguire” and “For Love of the Game”), divorced three years ago. She stopped playing the piano and her grades in high school went down. She even ran afoul of the law when arrested for shoplifting.

Her bitterness gets even worse when she and her younger brother Jonah (Bobby Coleman from “Martian Child”) are forced to spend the summer on Tybee Island, Ga., with their dad.

Various forms of love are at the center of this heart-tugging tearjerker that deftly mixes humor and sadness.

Ronnie experiences first love with Will Blakelee (Australian newcomer Liam Hemsworth), a tall and handsome hunk. They meet when she spills her milkshake all over her shirt after a collision on the beach while he is playing volleyball. They elicit oohs and ahs when they share passionate, lingering kisses on screen.

Ronnie also learns forgiveness and reconnects through a mutual love of music with her father. Her dad is busy creating an original classical music composition and building a new stained glass window for the church.

Ronnie is a vegetarian and doesn’t drink alcohol. She has been accepted for the fall semester at Julliard. Her maternal instincts kick in when she takes steps to protect sea turtle eggs from raccoon predators.

This wholesome movie will strike a nerve in everyone who values the true meaning of family. There was not a dry eye in the house at the conclusion of an advance screening.

Although her hair appears unruly, Cyrus uses beautiful blue eyes, shining white teeth and a big smile to win you over. She finds time to put on a fashion show when shopping for dresses to wear to a wedding. Her compelling character grows and matures over the course of the movie as she experiences many life-altering events.

The real find here is the cute and enthusiastic Coleman. He is quite impressive with all the best lines of dialogue. He deserves plaudits as the acting newcomer of the year.

Parents will see themselves in the caring words and compassionate actions of Kinnear’s character.

The movie keenly observes nature with the scenic backgrounds and the wildlife inhabitants of this island paradise.

This is the 15th book from Sparks, but marks the first time he has written the adapted screenplay for one of his own novels. Julie Ann Robinson makes her feature film directorial debut after extensive work in television including five episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Most fans of Cyrus know she is dating Hemsworth in real life after meeting him on the set. “He’s my first serious boyfriend,” Cyrus says.

Cyrus shows a lot of talent playing the piano in the movie. She sings along in the car while the radio is playing “She Will Be Loved” performed by Maroon 5. The film’s signature tune, “When I Look At You,” and “I Hope You Find It” are performed by Cyrus at the film’s conclusion over the end credits.

The movie’s main drawback is that it compresses everything, leaving no breathing room in its under two-hour running time. Those wishing to spend more time with the characters are encouraged to read the book.

Review By:
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"

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