The Last Song is Miley Cyrus’ first serious role outside of Hannah Montana and it must be said that Cyrus worked hard to break into an adult-inspired character while keeping her young fans content.
Based on the novel of the same title by Nicholas Sparks, The Last Song tells the story of Veronica “Ronnie’ Miller, played by Cyrus, a musically gifted but rebellious and angry teenager who is forced to spend the summer on the sunny beaches of Georgia with her estranged father, played by Greg Kinnear.
The events that follow are unexpectedly clichÃ©, but Cyrus does save face well. What follows is a typical story of outcast bohemian girl who meets athletic shirtless boy. They fall in love despite her greatest desires while she rediscovers her adoration for her father through their shared love of music. The plot line, which is very cute but extremely predicable, is a twist of Walt Disney meets The O.C.
Ultimately, it is the music that saves Ronnie from her sorrows and as is true for almost every Disney film, the protagonist lives happily ever after. Sort of. The Last Song attempts to explore some serious themes, like alcoholism, violence and theft, a feat which is somewhat unusual for these teeny-bopper films. At the same time, it never loses the elements of what every teenage romance should contain: familial love, a passion for music and a whole lot of making out.
Cyrus, to her credit, plays the moody teenager quite well. Although for her age it doesn’t require much acting.
“Mum says it’s because she has PMS,” quips her younger brother, explaining his sisters mood swings. “Pissed at Men Syndrome, duh.”
In The Last Song, Cyrus successfully transitions into a mature young actress, showing that she is more than just a pop singer in a blonde wig.
Of course, the cheese factor is never far away. “I went out with those girls because I was trying to feel something again,” says Will, Ronnie’s love interest, during one of the couple’s disputes. With dialogue that corny, it’s surprising to note that Sparks, a bestselling author who also wrote The Notebook, wrote the screenplay for The Last Song himself.
Will is played by Liam Hemsworth, who happens to be Cyrus’ real boyfriend, explaining the intense, groping chemistry between them in the film.
The Last Song does drag towards the end but it continues to show its true colours as a serious drama. The audience is left sombre upon the realization that perhaps, this movie isn’t what was expected. An unusual twist of events halfway through shows how love and hardship can either tear apart a couple or bring together a family.
The Last Song is a movie to take your Hannah Montana-loving little sister to, provided she can handle the drinking, stealing and kissing.
The Last Song opens wednesday across Canada.