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THE BEST OF ME is a romance for mature audiences about two teenage sweethearts who are brought together again when an old friend dies. THE BEST OF ME is well produced and suspenseful, with some good acting, but its redemptive worldview is marred by sexual immorality and foul language.
The movie opens with 39-year-old Dawson Cole being blown off his oil rig when several explosions take place. He ends up being rescued from the water four hours later and realizes he should have died from hypothermia. Dawson’s survival makes him feel a sense of destiny in that he was saved for a purpose.
After recovering in a hospital, Dawson learns of the death of Tuck, a dear old friend. He decides to return home for the reading of Tuck’s will.
Meanwhile, Dawson’s high school sweetheart, Amanda also gets the sad news about Tuck’s death. She also decides to return home to hear Tuck’s will.
Cut to 21 years earlier. Amanda is an outgoing 18-year-old born into an upper class family. She’s become smitten by Dawson, a quiet, intelligent boy from the other side of the tracks with a shady and abusive father and older brothers. Dawson runs away from home after his father gives him one too many beatings. He finds refuge with Tuck, a widowed older man who treats Dawson like the son he never had. Tuck lets Dawson stay at his house, which gives Dawson a chance to romance Amanda.
When Dawson’s father beats up Tuck for taking in his son, Dawson angrily confronts him with a shotgun. The two characters tussle and the shotgun goes off, accidentally killing Dawson’s beloved cousin, Bobby. Dawson goes to jail for eight years and decides not to return to Amanda.
Now, 21 years later, Dawson and Amanda hear the reading of Tuck’s will. Tuck has left them his house. While going through Tuck’s things, they rekindle their romance, even though Amanda’s in a bad marriage and has a son. Dawson’s father is still alive, however, and looking for more trouble. Eventually, tragedy strikes, and Dawson finally finds his purpose.
Based on a novel by the prolific Nicholas Sparks, THE BEST OF ME is well produced and, for the most part, well acted. The music is also good. Usually, flashbacks are not a good idea, but in this case they work and bring some suspense to the story. Overall, the movie has a light redemptive, moral worldview extolling sacrifice, forgiveness and finding one’s purpose in life. However, although the Dawson character tries to do what’s right, the movie has a Romantic, immoral view of sexuality. THE BEST OF ME also has plenty of foul language, including some strong profanities. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.

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