"The Lucky One" (2012)

The Lucky One (2012)
Directed by: Scott Hicks
Running time: 101 minutes

Alright, I’m going to be honest here and admit that I went into The Lucky One with a large sense of apprehension given (as the poster exclaims) that it is the film adaptation of a novel written by the same writer who wrote the novel “The Notebook” which also had a film adaptation. And as any of my regular readers will already know, The Notebook was just unbelievably terrible. So we weren’t off to a good start here, but I thought I would try my best to let that last atrocity slide and go into The Lucky One with an open mind.

I must say, that mentality initially paid off.

Now Showing this week is The Lucky One, directed by Scott Hicks. The film revolves around an American soldier in Iraq named Logan (Zac Efron) who after a “night raid” spots a photograph lying in some rubble. He wanders over to pick it up, and amazingly then far enough out of a sudden mortar’s blast radius to be the sole survivor of his squad. The photograph is of a woman he doesn’t know (her name is Beth, played by Taylor Schilling), but he sees this incident as sign that she is his guardian angel. No one claims the photograph, so he keeps it for himself for the rest of his tour in Iraq. Once he leaves Iraq, he sets off to go find the woman in the picture, to thank her for saving his life, but upon meeting her he falls head over heels in love and endeavours for her to feel the same.

As much as it surprises me, I did enjoy The Lucky One as a whole. I know that sounds crazy, but I did. The two leads were kind of cute together, as is Logan’s relationship with Beth’s son, and that is always a plus when it comes to romance stories. It’s why WALL-E was such a masterpiece. The way the film established that Logan has travelled very far to find Beth, and if their relationship crumbles than he is literally left with nothing, was an effective way to make me care a little bit about the outcome of the film. So you know, well done to them there.

However…

There were just so many aspects of the film that were just predictable and/or cliched. And I know that I have argued that cliches aren’t always a bad thing but they were just the same tired old elements in this film. Example, Beth has an ex husband. And guess what? He’s the sheriff of the town and has jealousy issues. Sound familiar? It’s every single ex-husband character ever in these “chick-flick” movies. Also, Beth works in a dog kennel that she runs out of her own home, so the whole film has this feeling that it’s trying to win us over with all the cute pets to distract us from everything else. OK, maybe I’m clutching at straws there but it did feel a little bit cheesy.

The films also contained some inconsistencies that bugged me a little. The biggest example that I can think of is that after Logan returns home from his Iraq tour, there are some scenes where he is shown to be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after his experiences in the war. He drops things at the slightest noise similar to gun fire or an explosion; he almost throttles one of his nephews when he wakes him up in the morning etc. but then that kind of just stops and is never heard from again in the film. I don’t know about you, but PTSD is a pretty hard thing to get over and it really would have created some awesome dramatic tension between him and Beth throughout the film if they thought he was unbalanced.

So while I enjoyed The Lucky One for what it was (I’m not completely heartless!), I feel that there was a better story that could have been told with similar circumstances. I think we should have stayed with Logan on his tour in Iraq, and have a romance plot line but one of the couple (the woman in the photograph) wasn’t actually in the film! Then we’d have a love story where the person the man is in love with is whatever he has projected onto this photograph. Her name, where she’s from, what she likes, they would all be the mental projections of a lonely soldier. And then perhaps he could go find her at the end of the story, and she’s nothing like he imagined and we could leave it on a little tragedy there. Wouldn’t that be awesome? It would be like Cast Away but instead of a Fed-Ex box we’d have a photograph of a hot blonde! I’d go see that!

See you next time!

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