Review of The Lucky One

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A Marine travels to North Carolina after serving three tours in Iraq and searches for the unknown woman he believes was his good luck charm during the war. Starring Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner & Jay R. Ferguson.
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Movie Review: "The Lucky One" --

Rating: PG-13
Length: 101 minutes
Release Date: April 20, 2012
Directed By: Scott Hicks
Genre: Romance
Ranking: 3 Stars out of 5

Director Scott Hicks has a history of breathing new life into dramatic screenplays. The director is responsible for "Shine," "Hearts in Atlantis" and "Snow Falling on Cedars." He does the same thing again with "The Lucky One." The movie tells the story of a young Marine on his journey to find the woman who saved his life. The writer based the screenplay on the book of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. Sparks himself is no stranger to Hollywood, as several of his books became movies, including "A Walk to Remember" and "Message in a Bottle."

"The Lucky One" follows a young man named Logan Thibault (Zac Efron, "17 Again," "Charlie St. Cloud"). Thibault served as a soldier in the United States Marines, and he spent several years in Iraq. While there, he stumbled across a photograph of a young woman covered with sand. Thibault viewed the photograph as his lucky charm. Though he attempted to find the original owner of the photograph, no one ever came forward to claim it.

He starts carrying the photograph with him, only to discover that the image brought him good luck. Thibault begins believing that the image of the beautiful young woman is the only thing keeping him safe. When he goes home to Colorado, he realizes that he cannot stop thinking about the woman in the picture. He finally decides to journey hundreds of miles to find her. The only clues he has to her identity are a few things in the background, which tell him that he must go to Louisiana.

Thibault sets off on a journey of self-discovery, opting to walk the distance between them. He wants to tell her what the photograph means to him, and he wants her to know that she saved his life. Once he arrives in Louisiana, he discovers that he cannot get what he wants. He is tongue-tied around the young woman, and he doesn't know how to express himself. He meets Nana (Blythe Danner, "Meet the Fockers," "The Great Santini"), the woman who raised the young lady in the picture. The two run a small dog kennel, and Logan gets a job working there.

Logan eventually meets Beth (Taylor Schilling, "Dark Matter"), the woman he wanted to meet for so long. The two characters share some sweet moments together, but Beth is unable to commit to another man. Her ex-husband Keith (Jay R. Ferguson, "Evening Shade") constantly lurks in the shadows, convinced that he and Beth still have a chance at a relationship. Complicating matters further is Beth and Keith's son Ben (newcomer Riley Thomas Stewart).

After some hardships and misunderstandings, Beth grows to love the man in front of her. Logan is responsible, he loves her son and he loves her. Those in town do not understand the relationship because Logan prefers living in a small house, and he keeps to himself. As their relationship blossoms, they must face problems from all sides. Keith makes it clear that he wants Beth for himself, and he will do whatever it takes to get rid of Logan.

Beth finds herself trapped between Keith, who doesn't love her and simply wants her because he cannot have her, and Logan, who loves her unconditionally. The other mystery in the story surrounds the photograph that Logan found. Where did the picture come from? Who was the original owner of the image? What will happen when Logan and Beth uncover the truth?

"The Lucky One" remains true to the tone and story of the original novel. Those who read Nicholas Sparks, and those who watch the movies based on his books, understand the underlying plot. A man meets a woman, they fall in love and something arises to keep them apart. Though the movie follows the same formulaic plot, it does so in a new and different way.

Viewers will find themselves on the edge of their seats, waiting until the mysteries unravel. Will Beth make the right decision? Will Logan and Beth discover their mysterious connection? The chemistry between Efron and Schilling is sizzling, making it easy to get caught up in the drama surrounding their relationship. While the movie does leave a few questions unanswered, including Logan's recovery from his military service, it's a sweet story that viewers will not soon forget. The chemistry between the leads will keep viewers interested in the story until the credits start rolling.