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"The Last Song": In Defense of Miley and Nicholas

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Nicholas Sparks writes romantic novels that usually are tear inducing. They have made him his fortune but they have also incurred the wrath of the non-romantics among us. Miley Cyrus found fame and fortune as a very young performer in the hit Disney series "Hannah Montana." Critics panned her talents but tweens idolized her. Eventually fate brought Miley and Nicholas into the same orbit and he ended up writing his novel THE LAST SONG as a movie project for her.

The book was released first and soared to the top of the "best seller" lists. Now the movie is out and it opened at number one across the nation. Miley and Nicholas have a hit on their hands and boy does that tick some people off. Nicholas could have written the equivalent of WAR AND PEACE and Miley could possess the acting talents of Meryl Streep and the film still would have been panned.

In the film Cyrus plays a girl named Ronnie who is sent, along with her younger brother Jonah (Bobby Coleman), to Georgia to spend the summer with their dad (Greg Kinnear). Her parents are divorced and they have not seen their father in some time. Their mom (Kelly Preston) encourages them to spend the time getting to know their father but Ronnie is adamantly opposed to warming up to him.

She does however warm up to a local hunk named Will (Liam Hemsworth), whose daddy is rich and his ma is good looking. They don't welcome Ronnie with open arms but that isn't her biggest problem. Later a tragedy ensues and Ronnie is forced to grow up.

The story takes its time getting from one point to the next which is good in that it gives the audience a chance to really get to know the characters. You watch the evolution of Ronnie and it is a pleasant experience. Cyrus is not the world's greatest actress but she isn't the worst in the world either. Plus she and Hemsworth have real chemistry together.

Kinnear and Coleman handle the heavy lifting in the acting department and do it with tenderness and intelligence. They never let the script or the situations go completely over the top; rather they keep them rooted and rational.

Spark's story does deal with emotional issues. If you can control your tear ducts while watching this story then you are less emotional than I. Still the story is not the sappy mess many people want you to think it is. It is emotional but believable in that tragedies of this type do occur and mark the lives of people who deal with them.

The film is rated PG for mild profanity and adult themes.

Cyrus is believable in her role and that should be enough for audiences. Sparks' story touches the heart and that should be enough also. The whole project should not be dismissed as just some melodrama made for the masses with no evidence of talent on display. This film serves its intended audience well and should be welcomed by them with open arms.

Cyrus and Sparks are talented people in their respective fields and combined they have made a film of which they should be proud. I, as an audience of one, say so.

I scored "The Last Song" an on key 7 out of 10.

Jackie K. Cooper
www.jackiekcooper.com