The latest Nicholas Sparks’ cinematic adaptation to hit the Silver Screen, The Last Song, is just plain brutal. Brutally awesome, that is! There have been a number of dubious naysayers who didn’t believe that Miley Cyrus could translate her success in the music world to that of the film world, but I’m here to say: The haters are W-R-O-N-G. If anything, in The Last Song, Cyrus proves herself to be an even better actress than singer, and that’s saying something! She’s proven her ability to succeed without that Hannah Montana nom de plume around her neck. I’m calling it right now, World: Miley Cyrus is the next next Julia Roberts, and we can all expect her to be around for decades to come.
In The Last Song, the hottest pop star on the planet plays Ronnie, a New Yorker who has just graduated high school and been accepted into Juilliard. Here’s the catch: She hasn’t played the piano in years, not since her Mom (Kelly Preston) and Dad (Greg Kinnear) split. In the movie, Ronnie has to spend the summer with her somewhat estranged dad in a southern beach town. Ronnie rocks combat boots and a sullen facade while she walks to beach to avoid her Dad. There, a volleyball player Will (Liam Hemsworth, lil bro of the future Thor, Chris Hemsworth) accidentally knocks her milkshake all over her, and sparks fly instantly. Because her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard!
The romance, nonetheless, isn’t an easy one. Ronnie is reluctant at first, but warms up to Will once he stays the night with her out on the beach, where they set up to keep raccoons away from unprotected turtle eggs. Awwwwwww! There also comes a potential roadblock when Ronnie thinks that Will’s a player, but it turns out that Ronnie really is special. Their romance blossoms, and as it does, Ronnie and her Dad gradually get closer to one another as they discuss her burgeoning relationship with Will.
Things were going really great for Ronnie and Will, and Ronnie and her Dad for a while, and then Boom! About an hour and fifteen minutes into the movie, the whole world crashes around them. It wouldn’t be right to spoil what happens, but I want to say it broke my heart in three. You’re not going to see it coming at all, which makes it all the more devastating.
Cyrus plays it perfectly, going through a series of personalities in the film, from sullen teenager, to adorable girlfriend, to suffering daughter dealing with her father’s impending death from lung cancer. She has an amazing range, and there wasn’t a moment in The Last Song when I wasn’t fully convinced by her performance. After about 30 seconds into the film, I completely forgot she was Miley Cyrus: All I could see was Ronnie Miller, a beautiful teenager being put through a ringer of emotion. Liam Hemsworth was also perfect as the blonde, ab-erific boyfriend with a heartwarming smile. Bobby Coleman, further, played Jonah, Miley’s little brother in the movie, who is so supportive of his Dad that he makes a plate glass window for him before he dies.
The only real downside to this poignant tearjerker is Greg Kinnear, who felt a little out of place in this movie. It wasn’t that he was bad necessarily, it was just that I was never really convinced he was Miley Cyrus’ father. I think they would’ve been better off casting someone more like Billy Ray Cyrus, because at times, Kinnear’s presence took me out of the tender action. I just think another actor would’ve been better suited for the end of the movie, when the Dad dies. But that wasn’t nearly enough to detract from this otherwise perfect movie, which I have no choice but to give a perfect score to: 5 !!!!!