Scratch any premonitions you might have about what appears to be every country girl’s stereotypical summer fantasy – a fling with a cowboy. “The Longest Ride” reaches much deeper than a mere romance story.
After their somewhat cliché meeting at a rodeo, Sophie Danko (Britt Robertson) realizes her chances at a long-term relationship with bull-riding cowboy Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood, son of Clint Eastwood) are slim-to-none, especially given she would soon be moving out-of-state for an art internship.
But after rescuing Ira Levinson (Alan Alda) from his burning car while returning from their first date, Sophie reads the man’s love letters to his deceased wife. The film – jumping back and forth between two intertwined stories – transports the audience back in time to conversations between Ira and his wife, Ruth.
Upon running into her handsome cowhand at the hospital, Sophie reconsiders her prideful stance and decides to give Luke another chance. But after escaping a life-threatening injury, bull-riding has become Luke’s top priority. As impending life choices come knocking, tensions begin to rise. The couple is pulled separate ways as they experience success in their separate careers.
The film employed elements many of us can relate to. Firstly, it addresses the issue many twenty-somethings’ face while balancing life and work. In the same way, how often are we guilty of becoming so consumed with our activities and pursuits we forget they are temporary, while the people around us are more permanent in nature?
Secondly, the film addresses the issue of selfless love. Love is often misrepresented in today’s Hollywood adaptations as being equated to sex or the “feel good drag” you get when you look into your significant other’s eyes. (Cue cheesy romantic soundtrack). Instead, the movie embraces the ideal that “love is a battlefield.”
Does the movie have a few cliché lines? Yes. A few typical passion-filled moments? Yes. Ending with a twist, however, “The Longest Ride” breaks away from the archetypal romance flick to emphasize one thing – life is about how you love the people in “this ride we call life” and not necessarily the achievements you gain.
Exploring the complex issues of war, the struggle of work/life balance and being unable to have a family, “The Longest Ride” will challenge you to rethink your definition of love and success. I went to see the movie twice (and may or may not have shed a few silent tears) because I liked the movie so much.
But hey, if you aren’t fond of getting in touch with all your “feels,” there’s always Eastwood’s abs or Robertson’s blue eyes to stare at for the two-hours-and-19-minutes running time.
Jac Rhine is a senior public relations major. The review reflects the views of the writer only.