The Best of Me (film)

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The Best of Me
The Best of Me poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Hoffman
Produced byJustin Burns
Denise Di Novi
Alison Greenspan
Ryan Kavanaugh
Nicholas Sparks
Screenplay byWill Fetters
J. Mills Goodloe
Based onThe Best of Me
by Nicholas Sparks
StarringJames Marsden
Michelle Monaghan
Luke Bracey
Liana Liberato
Music byAaron Zigman
CinematographyOliver Stapleton
Edited byMatt Chesse
Distributed byRelativity Media
Release date
  • October 17, 2014 (2014-10-17) (United States)
Running time
Theatrical version: 118 minutes[1]
Tears of Joy Edition: 115 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$26 million[2]
Box office$35.9 million[2][3]

The Best of Me is a 2014 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Hoffman and written by Will Fetters and J. Mills Goodloe, based on Nicholas Sparks' 2011 novel of the same name. The film stars James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan with Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato.


Alternating between scenes of their relationship in 1992 with their current lives separately, the film shows the story of Dawson and Amanda. Dawson Cole works on an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana. An explosion on the job nearly kills him, throwing him into the water, but miraculously he survives. Months later after recovering, Dawson learns that his close friend and surrogate father, Tuck Hostetler, has died and returns home for the first time in almost twenty years to carry out Tuck's final wishes. When he arrives at his house, Dawson is surprised to find that Tuck also arranged for Dawson's high school girlfriend, Amanda Collier, to join him. It seems that Tuck's intention was that Dawson and Amanda would perhaps rekindle their former romance. However, Amanda is now married.

Dawson was born into a notorious backwoods criminal family with an abusive father. In flashbacks, it is revealed that as a teenager, he left his father's home and stayed overnight in Tuck Hostetler's garage. Tuck, a local mechanic who had recently lost his wife, allows Dawson to live with him and eventually considers him a son of his own. Dawson and Amanda attended the same high school and began dating, soon falling in love. Before the prom, Dawson's father and brothers beat Tuck. Dawson, angered, goes to his fathers house with the intent of killing him with Tuck's rifle. However, they scuffle, and Dawson's cousin, an expectant teen father, is accidentally killed. In exchange for a lighter sentence, Dawson testifies against his father and brothers. However, since Dawson will not be paroled for another four years, he cuts ties with Amanda, forcing her to choose college over staying with him.

After Tuck's death, Amanda and Dawson meet with Tuck's lawyer and learn that they are to scatter Tuck's ashes at a cottage he owned with his wife. Later, Dawson and Amanda spend a passionate night together. They have lunch and discuss their plans during which Dawson learns that Amanda had continued to try to visit him in prison. The following day, Amanda decides to return to her family and her strained marriage, to meet her family commitments.

When Amanda goes home, Dawson remains at Tuck's to restore the garden. However, she later plans to split up with her husband, and she leaves Dawson a voicemail expressing her love. Before anything more can happen between them, Dawson is attacked and almost killed by his brothers, and is almost pushed in front of a moving train. Dawson knocks out his brothers, but after calling 911, he is spotted by his father across the railroad tracks and is shot dead.

Meanwhile, Amanda gets a call that her son has been in a car accident. On arriving at the hospital, the doctor tells her he needs a new heart. That same night the doctors told her they had found a donor.

While sleeping, Amanda has a dream of Dawson sitting on the side of her bed when she's awoken by the doorbell being rung by her mother, who has come to tell her that Dawson had been shot and killed by his father.

One year later, Amanda gets a call from her son telling her he found out who the donor was and that maybe she knew him, Dawson Cole. Shocked and happy upon hearing this, she drives back to the house Tuck had left them. It is there she reads the letter Dawson had left her telling her how much he loved her and goes on to take a walk through the garden Dawson had beautifully arranged for her before he died.




On June 17, 2011, Warner Bros. acquired the film rights to the novel The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks.[10] On March 15, 2012, it was announced that the studio had tapped screenwriter J. Mills Goodloe to adapt the book.[11]

On September 27, it was reported that Warner Bros. was in final talks with Michael Hoffman to direct the film, Will Fetters was set to rewrite the screenplay, marking his second adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, and Denise Di Novi was set to produce the film, along with Sparks and Sparks' agent Theresa Park as co-producers, marking Di Novi's fifth film collaboration with Sparks, Sparks' second time producing a film adaptation of one of his novels and Park's production debut.[12] On July 25, 2013, Relativity Media acquired the distribution rights from Warner Bros., marking the studio's third film adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel.[13] On October 22, Michelle Monaghan was cast to play the female lead Amanda Collier, and Ryan Kavanaugh was to co-produce the film.[6] On October 24, the studio set the film for an October 17, 2014 release.[14]

On January 9, 2014, the studio offered James Marsden from the 2004 adaptation of Sparks' 1996 novel The Notebook to play the male lead Dawson Cole, replacing Paul Walker after his death.[4] On January 28, Liana Liberato joined the film's cast as the younger version of Monaghan's character, Amanda Collier.[7] On February 12, Luke Bracey was added to the cast to play the younger version of Marsden's character, Dawson Cole.[5] On March 12, Sebastian Arcelus and Gerald McRaney joined the cast of the film. Arcelus played Frank Reynolds, Amanda's husband and father of her children, while McRaney played Tuck, a widower who takes in young Dawson and becomes a friend and father-figure to him.[8] On March 25, Jon Tenney was added to the cast to play Harvey Collier, the father of Amanda.[9]


Principal photography began on March 6, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana for a 42-day shoot.[15][16] On April 30 and May 1 the filming took place in the downtown Covington area. Also filming took place in parts of Pearl River, Louisiana.[17]


On June 27, 2014, it was announced that composer Aaron Zigman would be scoring the music for the film.[18]


The Best of Me: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedOctober 7, 2014 (2014-10-07)[19]
LabelEMI Nashville, Relativity Music
Singles from The Best of Me: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  1. "I Did with You"
    Released: September 8, 2014[21]

The soundtrack album for the film, released on October 7, 2014,[22] features original music primarily from the genre of country music, recorded by artists such as Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, David Nail, Colbie Caillat, Kip Moore, Eli Young Band, Eric Paslay, Thompson Square, and Thomas Rhett.[22] "I Did with You" by Lady Antebellum was released on September 8, 2014 as the first promotional single from the soundtrack.[21] The band's other contribution, "Falling for You" is also available on the deluxe edition of their fifth studio album, 747.

The titles and performing artists were published by Taste of Country.[20]

1."I Did with You"Lady Antebellum3:15
2."Dream Girl"Hunter Hayes3:39
3."Hold On"SHEL and Gareth Dunlop3:26
4."In Love Again"Colbie Caillat3:31
5."The Way Things Go"Thomas Rhett4:06
6."Borrowed Time"Thompson Square4:12
7."Lead Me"Kip Moore3:50
8."Love Is a Liar"Kacey Musgraves3:15
9."Falling for You"Lady Antebellum3:54
10."Rain from Heaven"Eric Paslay3:58
11."All the Way"David Nail2:56
12."Unchanged"Eli Young Band3:35
13."Sweet Jane"Cowboy Junkies3:27
14."Crossroads"Phoebe Hoffman4:48

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number 54 on the Billboard 200, selling 6,200 copies in its first week.[23]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2014–15) Peak
US Billboard 200 52
US Top Country Albums (Billboard) 11
US Top Soundtracks (Billboard) 4


Box office[edit]

The Best of Me opened in North America on October 17, 2014 across 2,936 theaters. It has grossed $26.8 million in North America and $9.2 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $35.9 million.[2]

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $10 million finishing fifth at the box office behind Fury, Gone Girl, The Book of Life and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, making it the worst opening for a Nicholas Sparks' novel adaptation.[24]

Critical reception[edit]

The Best of Me has been panned by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 9%, based on 79 reviews, with an average rating of 3.5/10. The site's consensus reads, "At nine films and counting, the line between Nicholas Sparks film fans and detractors is clear, and The Best of Me will change few minds on either side of the divide."[25] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 29 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[26] In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave The Best of Me an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[24]

Home media[edit]

The Best of Me was released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 3, 2015. At the same time, a "Tears of Joy" edition of the film with a running time of 115 minutes and an alternated ending was released on DVD and Blu-Ray.


  1. ^ "THE BEST OF ME (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. October 3, 2014. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "The Best of Me (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  3. ^ "The Best of Me (2014) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo".
  4. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (January 9, 2014). "James Marsden in Talks to Replace Paul Walker in Nicholas Sparks' 'The Best of Me'". Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "'The Best Of Me' Adds Luke Bracey". February 12, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Ford, Rebecca; Kit, Borys (October 22, 2013). "Michelle Monaghan Joins Nicholas Sparks Film 'The Best of Me'". Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Liana Liberato Joins 'The Best Of Me'". January 28, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "'The Best Of Me' Adds 'House Of Cards' Sebastian Arcelus & Gerald McRaney". March 12, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Jon Tenney Joins 'The Best Of Me'". March 25, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  10. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (June 17, 2011). "Warner Bros Buys Nicholas Sparks' Upcoming Romance Novel 'The Best Of Me'". Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  11. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (March 15, 2012). "Warner Bros Sets J. Mills Goodloe To Adapt Nicholas Sparks Novel 'The Best Of Me'". Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  12. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (September 27, 2012). "Warner Bros Romancing Director Michael Hoffman For Nicholas Sparks' 'Best Of Me'". Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  13. ^ Harmanian, Harout (July 25, 2013). "Nicholas Sparks' 'The Best of Me' Goes to Relativity". Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  14. ^ "Relativity Sets Nicholas Sparks Adaptation 'The Best Of Me' For Fall 2014". October 24, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  15. ^ Scott, Mike (March 17, 2014). "Filming in New Orleans: Actors sign on for 'American Ultra,' 'Best of Me' and more". Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  16. ^ Le, Sarah (February 11, 2014). "FILMING IN LOUISIANA IN 2014: DINOSAURS AND ROBOTS". Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  17. ^ Chatelain, Kim (April 29, 2014). "Scenes for "The Best of Me" to be filmed in Covington this week". Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  18. ^ "Aaron Zigman to Score 'The Best of Me'". June 27, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  19. ^ Bjorke, Matt. ""The Best Of Me" Soundtrack Tracklist & Cover Art". Roughstock. Cheri Media. Archived from the original on September 13, 2014. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  20. ^ a b Vinson, Christina. "Country Music Featured on 'The Best of Me' Soundtrack". Taste of Country. Townsquare Media. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  21. ^ a b "I Did With You - Single by Lady Antebellum". iTunes Store. Apple Inc. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  22. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 13, 2014. Retrieved September 12, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ Matt Bjorke (October 15, 2014). "Country Album Chart Recap: October 15, 2014". Roughstock.
  24. ^ a b Ray Subers (October 19, 2014). "Weekend Report: 'Fury' Topples 'Gone Girl,' 'Birdman' Soars in Limited Release". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  25. ^ "The Best of Me". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  26. ^ "The Best of Me Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 22, 2014.

External links[edit]