Things Only Adults Notice In Nicholas Sparks Movies

Nicholas Sparks movies are a staple of the romantic drama genre, no matter how you may personally feel about them. The first of the famous novelist's works to get the big-screen treatment was the 1999 Kevin Costner and Robin Wright movie Message in a Bottle. Since then, Sparks' books about love, loss, and the importance of corresponding via handwritten letters have continued to inspire multiple feature-length movies. As of this writing, 11 of Sparks' novels have been adapted for film — and, yes, we've watched them all. 

These tearjerking flicks leave even adults needing a tissue by the time the credits start to roll. That said, there are several plot points in Sparks' novel-inspired films that you likely missed the first time you watched them as a lovelorn (and, let's be honest, somewhat dramatic) teenager. Here are things only adults notice in Nicholas Sparks movies.

One, two, liftoff

You know that magical moment when you see the person you love standing a few yards away and become so overcome with emotion that you sprint toward them, jump into their arms, and commence a steamy make-out session as orchestral music swells? That's definitely a thing that happens in every relationship, right? Well, while our own personal experiences tell us the answer to that question is a big, fat nope, Nicholas Sparks movies would have you think otherwise. 

In The Notebook — arguably the most famous of Sparks' romantic film menagerie — Allie jumps into Noah's arms for kisses so often that you have to wonder if Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling went through multiple cumbersome rehearsals (à la Dirty Dancing) before finally nailing the hop-n'-smooch. The two even famously recreated the oft-referenced rain-soaked kiss scene from the film at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards. While jumping onto your love, wrapping your legs around their torso, and laying a wet one on them may sound romantic in theory, it also sounds like a good way to cause a pulled muscle or two. Don't try this at home, kids. 

Noah and Allie are not relationship goals

If you first saw The Notebook as a middle schooler with raging hormones and a penchant for reading your mom's romance novels when she wasn't looking, you likely left the movie thinking the relationship between its main characters, Noah and Allie, was a masterclass in what true love is all about. However, now that you're an adult, you've probably (hopefully) realized that their coupling shouldn't be considered a #RelationshipGoal. In fact, if we had to give Noah and Allie a hashtag, it would probably be something like #RelationshipNo (listen, they can't all be winners). 

According to psychotherapist Gurpreet Singh, the overly romanticized relationship depicted in The Notebook is hardly based in reality. "Noah restores a house for Allie. He writes letter after letter waiting for her. They die holding hands," Singh told Time Out. "If you believe in [that] you start to think: I shouldn't settle for less. But most average couples are nothing like that. We are humans, we are fallible. Love is imperfect because we are."

In other words, please don't dump your beau because he doesn't write you a million love letters or build you a house.

Where was the walk to remember in A Walk to Remember?

There's lots to remember from A Walk to Remember — Mandy Moore's bangs, the crush we all had on Shane West's bad boy-turned-sweetheart character, Landon, and the strangely unplaceable accent delivered by actor Peter Coyote. However, one thing we can't seem to recall happening in this romantic drama is the walk — you know, the one from the title. 

Where is this mysterious walk, and why is it noteworthy? According to Nicholas Sparks' website, the title for the novel came from a line delivered by Landon regarding Jamie walking down the aisle on their wedding day: "It was, I remembered thinking, the most difficult walk anyone ever had to make. In every way, a walk to remember." In the novel, Jamie's illness leaves her barely able to walk by the time she weds Landon, and she has to be helped from her wheelchair before walking to exchange vows. Apparently, this wasn't exactly a plot point to remember. Moore's movie version of Jamie doesn't seem to have any trouble walking toward her soon-to-be husband, and there's no wheelchair in sight on their wedding day. 

Why did Ira and Ruth in The Longest Ride write so many letters?

If you fancy yourself a fan of Nicholas Sparks' romantic, melodramatic, often-tragic flicks, you're likely well-acquainted with the novelist/screenwriter's apparent fascination with the written word — specifically, the written declarations of love between many of his stories' two central characters. In Nicholas Sparks-land (aka the Carolinas), you can bet your bottom dollar that there's a stash of love letters waiting to be discovered so they can provide invaluable lessons about life, love, and, as The Longest Ride taught us, an old man's love life. 

The Longest Ride centers on the modern-day relationship between Luke and Sophia, as well as the decades-old romance between Ira and Ruth, which is set against the backdrop of World War II. Sophia soon discovers Ira's collection of love letters to and from his late wife and loses herself in their epic love story — but all we can focus on is the fact that Ruth and Ira were sending all these letters to each other while both living in the same small town. Why didn't they just meet up and talk? Maybe we should pen a note to Sparks and ask.

Money is the root of all... love?

While we're on the subject of The Longest Ride and the stash of love letters between Ira and his late wife (who, again, lived maybe a stone's throw away), let's talk about his secret stash of cash. Technically, this stash of cash is actually an assortment of super valuable paintings from Ira's personal art collection — but, when translated to cold, hard cash, these works of art equal approximately $200 million. Now that's something to write to your neighbor about!

As the movie nears its end, Luke and Sophia — who have been broken up for some time — each receive invitations to attend the auction for the recently deceased Ira's estate. In a surprise twist during the auction, it's revealed that Luke has inherited the entirety of Ira's multimillion dollar art collection. Cut to one year later, and suddenly the once-estranged Luke and Sophia are now husband and wife. Maybe they found solid middle ground and finally moved past their differences — or maybe the $200 million was enough money to make them forget they ever had differences in the first place.

What kind of ghost is Jo in Safe Haven?

Starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel, Safe Haven seems typical and formulaic enough — Erin (Hough) escapes to a small town from an abusive relationship, befriends her neighbor Jo (Cobie Smulders), and quickly falls in love with single father and widower Alex (Duhamel). However, a curveball is thrown at the end of the movie when Alex gives Erin a letter written by his late wife for the woman with whom he'd eventually move on. Included with the letter is a photo of Alex's wife, and the woman in the picture is a dead ringer for Jo. Gasp!

We love a twist ending as much as anyone else, but we do have some questions. Erin first meets Jo when she catches the woman outside her new little house, peering through an open window. Jo is noticeably startled when she's caught, leaving us to wonder why she chose to appear in human form if she actually wanted to snoop. Aren't ghosts usually a bit more stealthy? Also, Jo has multiple outfit changes throughout the film, which can only mean one thing: there is life after death — you know, if fashion is your life.

Do snakes not exist in The Best of Me?

The Best of Me features a decades-spanning romance, star-crossed lovers, and the tragic death of a main character on the cusp of finally attaining lifelong love and happiness. Is anyone else starting to think that Sparks delights in our misery?

Starring James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan as Dawson and Amanda, the film showcases their sweet and tragic love story from the moment they fall in love to the moment Amanda tearfully reads the letter Dawson wrote to her before he was killed, telling her that she's "the very best of [him]." Honestly, would it even be a Sparks film if a letter didn't make an appearance? 

As sweet as this movie is, it's impossible to watch modern-day Amanda and Dawson walking outside their cute little cottage and not yell at them to watch for snakes. These two are so wrapped up in each other that they don't think twice about walking barefoot in overgrown grass or jumping into a murky brown lake that is almost certainly home to a water moccasin or two. We're pretty sure this means it qualifies as an edge-of-your-seat thriller.

The Best of Me kind of condones adultery

One thing is clear: The Best of Me does not portray the best of relationships. While it's certainly easy to admire the kind of first love that doesn't fade as years pass by, it's neither realistic nor healthy to idolize a decades-old infatuation between two people who dated as teenagers before embarking on new lives as adults — especially when one of those people has since married and started a family with another person. 

People say that you'll always have a special place in your heart for your first love — and while that may be true, The Best of Me seems to imply that you'll still be head-over-heels in love as a fully grown adult with the person you were crazy about as a hormone-riddled teenager. Even more problematic is the way the film conveniently justifies Amanda's infidelity with Dawson by painting her husband as a distant jerk without ever really exploring their marriage. If he's such a miserable person, why did she even marry him in the first place?

The Choice with zero consequences

As with the majority of Nicholas Sparks' tales of romance, tragedy, and all the handwritten letters in between, The Choice takes place in North Carolina — Wilmington, to be exact. The 2016 film based on Sparks' novel of the same name tells the story of Travis, a veterinarian, and Gabby, his new neighbor with whom he has an instant connection. The only problem? Gabby's boyfriend, Dr. Ryan McCarthy. 

However, when Ryan's job requires him to move out of state for some time, Travis and Gabby start spending more and more time together, eventually falling in love. When Ryan returns home and learns of their relationship, the doc gives Travis a swift punch in the nose, sending the vet straight to the ground.

One would think any doctor who physically harms a man at work would be fired, but such is apparently not the case in Sparks' story. Years later, when Gabby is hospitalized on life support following a car crash, the doctor with whom Travis is seen discussing options is — you guessed it — Dr. Ryan McCarthy. Are there any other doctors in Wilmington?

The message in Message in a Bottle obviously wasn't about safety

If you're looking for a nice little Sunday afternoon cry, you truly can't go wrong with a rewatch of Message in a Bottle. However, if you're looking for a few nautical safety tips, you'll definitely want to give this romantic drama a pass.

Kevin Costner stars as Garrett, a ship-building sailor and widower who finds himself stuck in the throes of grief following the death of his wife. Even if you haven't seen the film, you can probably guess that our sad sailor eventually learns to love once again, thanks to Robin Wright's Theresa. However, their budding romance is cut short when Garrett decides to go sailing despite an impending storm — ultimately drowning at sea while rescuing a family. Considering the movie painted Garrett to be an extremely knowledgeable, experienced sailor, we're going to have to call shenanigans on this one. There's no way he would have set sail straight into a monster storm right after realizing his love for Theresa. We prefer to believe the rugged seaman eventually found his way to some Cast Away-like island — and, quite frankly, our theory makes more sense. 

Dear John, take a chill pill

In Dear John, Channing Tatum plays John — a soldier who shares a close relationship with his father, Alan. John meets and soon falls in love with Savannah, a college student with an interest in working with the autistic community. After John introduces Savannah to his father, she suggests that his dad's mannerisms and obsession with his coin collection could be possible symptoms of Asperger's syndrome — a notion that sends John into an angry spiral and results in the soldier breaking the nose of Savannah's friend. 

While any person would be upset to hear their significant other speaking negatively of a beloved parent, Savannah compassionately voicing an opinion backed by her own research and experience definitely didn't warrant John's heated reaction. His anger issues don't stop there, either. Later in the film, John angrily burns a stack of letters from Savannah while serving overseas when she confesses she's developed feelings for another person. Again, it's completely understandable that the young 20-something would get lonely and want to explore another relationship after years of being apart from John — but this dude unfortunately seems to lack any amount of empathy. We'll pass!

The Lucky One could have ended much sooner

The Lucky One, a 2012 romantic drama starring Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling, has a total running time of 100 minutes. That's just over an hour and a half. To break it down even more, that's time you could spend in your comfy, not-leaving-the-house-today clothes, binge watching at least three episodes of your favorite TV show. To be clear, we don't mean to diss The Lucky One. All we're saying is that one tiny (and painfully obvious) character choice could have taken the running time down from three or four Dead to Me episodes to maybe one and a half.

In the film, Efron plays a Marine named Logan who finds a mysterious photo of a woman during combat, and he credits it with saving his life. He seeks out the woman (Beth, played by Schilling) upon his return, but instead of telling her his reason for showing up, he lets her believe he's just a new-to-town rando. The drama that unfolds throughout the rest of the film is a direct result of Logan's secret — which never really needed to be a secret in the first place, honestly. Oy vey.

Time works differently in Nights in Rodanthe

Nights in Rodanthe is a 2008 romantic drama starring seasoned Hollywood vets Richard Gere and Diane Lane — as well as Nicholas Sparks' own seasoned movie star, the state of North Carolina. The film sees emotionally damaged surgeon Paul (Gere) meet and fall in love with Adrienne (Lane), a mother and wife struggling with whether or not to give her estranged husband a second chance. 

In an effort to grow closer to his son Mark, who works as a doctor for the impoverished in South America, Paul leaves to join him for some time — exchanging numerous letters with Adrienne during his absence, of course. Though he provides a date for his return, Paul neither shows nor contacts Adrienne to reunite. The next morning, Mark appears on her doorstep with terrible news — Paul was killed in a mudslide the night before. Obviously, the whole situation is unfathomably devastating — however, even more unfathomable is just how Mark made it out of the mudslide unscathed, took a shower, caught a flight, and made it to Adrienne's home less than 24 hours after the incident. Sparks, you've got some explaining to do. 

The Last Song has a skewed understanding of how college works

Now happily married, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth first met while auditioning for the lead roles in the 2010 Nicholas Sparks film The Last Song. And while we're happy for their happiness, we're also still confused about a plot point in the movie that started it all.

At the end of The Last Song, Will (played by Hemsworth) tells Ronnie (played by Cyrus) that he's thinking about transferring colleges to be closer to her while she attends Juilliard. But he's not just "thinking of maybe transferring" to any old school — he's thinking of maybe transferring to Columbia. That's right — the super competitive, incredibly expensive, Ivy League university. While Will is shown to be an intelligent guy with big aspirations, nothing in the movie indicates that he has the academic record or financial ability to leave small-town Georgia and support himself while studying at Columbia — if he even gets in. However, judging by Ronnie's reaction to his plan, she seems to think it's a sure thing. Consider this our official request for a sequel — The Last Song 2: The Ballad of Student Loans.