The Notable Films of 2011: Part Eight

The Lucky One

Opens: 2011
Cast: Zac Efron, Blythe Danner, Taylor Schilling, Adam LeFevre, Joe Chrest
Director: Scott Hicks

Summary: A Marine returns to North Carolina after serving three tours in Iraq and searches for the unknown woman he believes was his good luck charm during the war.

Analysis: At this point author Nicholas Sparks has become a genre unto himself. This marks the seventh of his sixteen books to have been adapted, and there’s no sign of that slowing down with three more already in development. From “The Notebook” and “A Walk to Remember,” to “The Last Song” and “Dear John”, most of his books and corresponding films follow the same pattern – old fashioned morality tales about an intense love affair that’s usually cut short by some kind of family secret or tragedy involving a death.

It’s textbook bittersweet romance that may be cliche, but has more heart and honesty than the often painfully bad cookie cutter rom-coms with the likes of Katherine Heigl or Jennifer Aniston that get pushed out every month. With this story he claims he wanted to “explore the subject of fate or destiny, but in a way that reflected the reality of the world… people have the ability to influence the future in a way that seems coincidental and when that happens, the feeling of fate or destiny is amplified.”

The scenario follows a young marine who comes upon a photo of an unknown but beautiful young woman which he’s kept with him during his tour as a good luck charm. Upon returning home he tracks her down and discovers she’s a divorced mother with a son living in North Carolina. The pair begins an all-consuming love affair, but he hasn’t told her about the photo and the secret ultimately threatens their lives. There’s also a death, but not whom you might expect and it certainly doesn’t come close to the almost ludicrous flash mudslide in “Nights in Rodanthe”.

Having risen to fame as a toned, skinny singing and dancing teenager, Zac Efron is finally shedding his metrosexual stylings to play the ex-marine here. With a buzz cut, no make-up and a few extra pounds on him, the 23-year-old actor actually does look much more manly now and certainly closer to his age. Yet the character himself is several years older, and the casting of the baby-faced Efron has been the biggest point of contention about the project on social networking sites and online discussion forums.

26-year-old “Mercy” and “Atlas Shrugged” actress Taylor Schilling beat out Abbie Cornish and Katie Cassidy for the lead female role, how she’ll do is hard to say. The script has been adapted by Will Fetters (“Remember Me”) and Douglas McGrath (“Emma,” “Infamous”), while Australian director Scott Hicks (“Shine,” “No Reservations”) is helming. Shot in October/November, a release date is uncertain presently with talk of either a Fall release this year, or an early Spring 2012 bow which is the time of year when most of the previous adaptations have achieved success.

The Complete Notable Films of 2011 Guide

Part One: 5 Days of August, 11-11-11, 13 Assassins, 30 Minutes or Less, Abduction, The Adjustment Bureau, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, Albert Nobbs, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Amigo, Anonymous, Apollo 18, The Apparition, Arthur, Arthur Christmas, Atlas Shrugged: Part One, Bad Teacher, Barney’s Version, Battle: Los Angeles, Beastly

Part Two: The Beaver, Beginners, Bel Ami, Bernie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son, The Big Year, Black Gold, Blackthorn, The Black Tulip, Blitz, Born to Be a Star, The Borrower Arrietty, Bridesmaids, Brighton Rock, Butter, The Cabin in the Woods, Caesar: Rise of the Apes, Captain America: The First Avenger, Cars 2

Part Three: Catch .44, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Cedar Rapids, Ceremony, Certified Copy, Chalet Girl, The Change-Up, Clean Skin, The Cold Light of Day, Cold Weather, Colombiana, Conan the Barbarian, The Conspirator, Contagion, The Convincer, Coriolanus, Courageous, Cowboys and Aliens, Crazy Stupid Love, The Cup

Part Four: Damsels in Distress, A Dangerous Method, The Darkest Hour, The Debt, The Deep Blue Sea, The Descendants, The Details, The Devil’s Double, Dibbuk Box, The Dilemma, Dolphin Tale 3D, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Dream House, Drive, Drive Angry 3D, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, The Eagle, Even the Rain, Every Day, Everything Must Go, The Eye of the Storm

Part Five: The Factory, Fast Five, The Fields, Final Destination 5, Flypaper, Footloose, Friends with Benefits, Friends with Kids, Fright Night, From Prada to Nada, The Future, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gnomeo and Juliet 3D, Goon, The Green Hornet, Green Lantern, Griff the Invisible, The Guard, Guns Girls and Gambling, Hall Pass

Part Six: The Hangover: Part Two, Hanna, Happy Feet 2, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two, Haywire, A Heartbeat Away, The Help, Henry’s Crime, HERE, Higher Ground, Hobo with a Shotgun, Homework, Hop, Horrible Bosses, The Housemaid, House of My Father, How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Hugo Cabret, The Hungry Rabbit Jumps, The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence, The Hunter

Part Seven: I Am Number Four, I Melt With You, The Ides of March, Immortals, The Impossible, In A Better World, Incendies, The Innkeepers, Insidious, Intruders, In Your Hands, Ironclad, Jack and Diane, Jack and Jill, Jane Eyre, Jeff Who Lives At Home, Johnny English Reborn, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Jumping the Broom, Just Go With It, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

Part Eight: Kaboom, The Killer Elite, Killer Joe, Kill The Irishman, Kung Fu Panda 2, The Lady, Larry Crowne, Last Night, The Ledge, Life in a Day, Like Crazy, Limitless, The Lincoln Lawyer, Little Birds, A Little Bit of Heaven, Little White Lies, Live With It, London Boulevard, The Loneliest Planet, Love and Bruises, The Lucky One

Part Nine: Machine Gun Preacher, Mad Bastards, Man on a Ledge, The Man with the Iron Fist, Margin Call, Mars Needs Moms!, Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Mechanic, Meek’s Cutoff, Melancholia, Midnight in Paris, The Mill and the Cross, Miral, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Moneyball, The Monk, Monte Carlo, Mother’s Day, Movie 43, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The Muppets

Part Ten: My Idiot Brother, My Week with Marilyn, Neds, New Year’s Eve, No Strings Attached, Now, Of Gods and Men, On the Road, One Day, One for the Money, Oranges and Sunshine, The Other Woman, Paranormal Activity 3, Passion Play, Paul, Peace Love and Misunderstanding, Peep World, Perfect Sense, Piranha 3DD, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Priest, Project X

Part Eleven: Prom, Puss in Boots, Rampart, Rango, The Raven, Real Steel, Red Dawn, Red Dog, Red Riding Hood, Red State, Red Tails, Restless, Retreat, Rio, Route Irish, The Rum Diary, Safe, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Salvation Boulevard, Say Nothing

Part Twelve: Scream 4, A Serbian Film, Serge Gainsbourg: A Life Heroic, Shame, Shaolin, Shark Night 3D, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Shelter, The Silent House, The Sitter, The Skin That I Inhabit, Sleeping Beauty, The Smurfs, Snabba Cash, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Snowtown, Soldiers of Fortune, Something Borrowed, Son of No One, Soul Surfer