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Movie Review

The Last Song

MPAA Rating: PG for thematic material, some violence, sensuality and mild language.

Reviewed by: Elisa A. Walker

Better than Average
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Primary Audience:
Kids Family Teens Adults
Teen Romance Drama
1 hr. 47 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 31, 2010 (wide)
DVD: August 17, 2010
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Music in the Bible

Teen Qs™—Christian Answers for teenagers
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Featuring: Miley Cyrus (Ronnie Miller), Greg Kinnear (Steve Miller), Bobby Coleman (Jonah Miller), Liam Hemsworth (Will Blakelee), Hallock Beals (Scott), Kelly Preston (Kim), Nick Lashaway (Marcus), Carly Chaikin (Blaze), Kate Vernon (Susan Blakelee), Nick Searcy (Tom Blakelee), Adam Barnett (Teddy), Michael Jamorski (Lance), Melissa Ordway (Ashley), Carrie Malabre (Cassie), Lance E. Nichols (Pastor Harris), Stephanie Leigh Schlund (Megan Blakelee), Phil Parham (Megan’s Husband), Bonnie Johnson (Neighbor), Rhoda Griffis (Doctor), Anthony Paderewski (Security Guard), April Moore (Fireman at Church), Todd Smith (Fireman at Church)
Director: Julie Anne Robinson
Producer: Offspring, Touchstone Pictures, Tish Cyrus, Jennifer Gibgot, Adam Shankman, Dara Weintraub
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures

“Do you ever really forget your first heartbreak?”

From the author that brought you “A Walk to Remember,” “The Notebook,” “Message in A Bottle,” “Nights in Rodanthe” and “Dear John” comes a story of love, family and reconnection. Ronnie Miller (Miley Cyrus) is sent to live with her father (Greg Kinnear) in a southern beach town to reconnect and find herself. Ronnie soon meets Will (Liam Hemsworth) who softens her and helps her find her love for music again. “The Last Song” is the epitome of a Nicholas Sparks’ story; you’ll find laughter, tears and love.

“The Last Song” is refreshingly clean and family-oriented. The language is mild; there were 2 uses of d*mn, 1 use of hell, 1 use of b*tch, 1 OMG, and 1 use of cr*p. There is only one instance of violence; Will punches a guy for trying to hurt Ronnie. There is no sex; Will and Ronnie kiss, but it never gets too steamy, and it is kept sweet.

Ronnie has a bad attitude towards everyone, at first, but soon softens into a kind and caring young woman. Some mild drinking and partying is hinted at, but both Will and Ronnie say no to it and walk away. There are several beach scenes (bikinis and shirtless boys), but they are kept normal, as if you were to walk down to the local beach.

Ronnie’s parents are divorced, but they both admit that they hurt their children and are sorry for what had transgressed. Ronnie had stolen before she came to live with her father, but admits it was wrong and takes ownership for it. ***SPOILER*** Finally, there is a sad part in the storyline, so parents just take caution if your kids can’t handle a thematic/sad event. ***END SPOILER***

None of the content specified above is ever promoted and is kept very clean and family-oriented.

“The Last Song” places an important emphasis on family, and how important it is to be good to those that you love. Ronnie takes care of her little brother Jonah (Bobby Coleman) and is good to him. She ends up being a great daughter to her father and really goes the extra mile to fulfill her Exodus 20:12 duty.

A guy makes unsolicited advances towards Ronnie, but she immediately asserts herself and tells him to never touch her again and walks away. This is good, because it shows young girls and women to stand up for themselves and not let men take advantage of them. Ronnie and Will have a really innocent and sweet romance together, they keep it pure and make it a point to put each other first. Ronnie’s father helps rebuild a local church.

I, also, thought it refreshing when the parents owned up to hurting their children because of the divorce. Forgiveness can also be seen throughout the entire movie, Ronnie’s mother (Kelly Preston) tells her that nobody’s perfect and people “screw up” and have to forgive and move on. Ronnie and Will apologize and forgive each other when they both mess up, and most importantly, Ronnie’s father gets blamed for something he didn’t do and when he finds who the culprit is, he forgives them and even though they are willing to come forward, he wants to move on and keep it to himself. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

I really enjoyed this movie, I laughed, I cried, I fell in love—what can I say; it is a typical Nicholas Sparks’ story. I took my parents to see this, and we were not disappointed and liked being able to see a movie in theaters as a family. The story is great, the acting, especially Bobby Coleman who plays Jonah, is good and believable.

At first, I admit it was hard to get used to Miley playing a rebellious teen, but when her character softens, it is then really believable, because she is (or so it seems) just being herself—nice and kind. This movie will definitely draw in a younger audience, especially young girls—and for good reason; there is a clean and sweet romance involved (not to mention a cute male lead). So all in all, I recommend this movie for kids, teens, adults, and families (with the above possible reservations).

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—THIS WAS A GREAT MOVIE, ONE EVERY TEEN AND ADULT-PARENT SHOULD SEE. It shows how love should really be, in a parent relationship, in what a young girl should look for and even be able to RECOGNIZE IN A BOYFRIEND. One girl chose a dominating, abusive, and “wrong type guy”, yet, with the help of one who saw the difference, (Ronnie who chose a guy who really cared about her, other people and even sea turtles and her younger brother), was strong enough to leave this controlling dominating guy. She was even given enough money to move out and start new by Ronnie who she previously disliked. SHE DID MOVE OUT!! What a lesson!

Why do so many girls chose guys who are verbally abusive, and going nowhere! Ronnie, who chose right, also had a “tremendous” talent which she was not using. A gifted pianist, angry estranged from her dad, drifting and lost in a world she did not belong. The re-connection of the bond with her father, showed it is easily to give up on a dream, when her strongest supporter, her father, had been pushed out of her life. She just stayed away from him, BUT WHEN LIFE DICTATED SHE HAD TO SPEND A SUMMER WITH HIM, the bond formed when “daddy’s little girl” helped this daughter recognize the love and joy she had when with her dad.

THIS MOVIE IS A MUST, SPARKS HAS OUTDONE HIMSELF. If I sound like I feel a special “connection” with the characters in the movie, I DO, my daughter is a “gifted” artist with a creativity that is almost genius level, yet she has also lost her way, and is in a verbally abusive relationship and estranged from her father/dad. From one of the best art colleges in the world, to doing nothing in art, like this wonderfully gifted pianist, also, willing to accept a “mediocre” life, instead of reaching the “unlimited” talent she is blessed with.

Hopefully, real life will mirror this wonderful movie and both will reach the stars. Not a cuss word in the film, yes it is possible, and true.

Also, in a conversation with two theater staff after the movie, one wanted to see this film and the other kind of “gave” him a hard time about this “love” movie. As I told the former, you will be married four times, while this sensitive guy is celebrating his 15th anniversary with a wonderful girl. Hey, guys don’t snicker, it’s true. I saw it with my first and only wife of 23 years and looking forward to 23 years more.

My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—DHobbs, age 59 (USA)
Positive—As typical with anything Nicholas Sparks …someone or some thing is going to die. I took my wife and it’s a full-bodied chick-flick BUT the quality of the movie was tastefully and well done. Some of the scenes were predictable and really emphasizes how fragile life really is. We constantly worry about the things of today and what we deem as “really important” when our lives are moving forward without us. I’ve never heard of someone saying they wished they had worked more and spent less time with their family.

Overall, from a 23-year veteran husband, it’s not a bad movie. Men could score points with their wives with this one, but my wife disagrees it qualifies as her having to see two guy films.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Terry, age 44 (USA)
Positive—This is a wonderful film about forgiveness, mending strained relationships, and making past wrongs right. Although teenage rebellion is present, you never get the idea that this is considered right, and, in fact, just the opposite. No, Ronnie isn’t very nice to her Dad at the beginning, but she is bitter toward him for what she perceives as leaving the family after her parents' divorce. In that way it was very realistic about what can happen in families and also the struggles that some teens face. Throughout the film she forgives her Dad, and, also, her teen enemy, who she helps her turn her life around and becomes her friend in the process.

She also talks about how she learned her lesson about shop lifting when she lived in the city and how she wasn’t going to make that mistake again.

Will, her boyfriend, also makes a mistake and Ronnie has to forgive him for that too. Both of Ronnie’s parents say they are sorry for past mistakes and her mother mentions that people “screw up” but that you need to forgive so you can move on. Romance is a main theme of this movie, but everything is kept very much above board. In one scene when they sleep on the beach to guard her turtles, her father makes it clear that they are to sleep separately which actually adds a bit of humor to the moment. Their relationship is very pure and Will particularly, puts Ronnie’s needs above his own. Ronnie needs to learn to trust due to her past hurts, and learn to forgive people who have hurt her. She’s sort of in a holding pattern, and needs to work through these things to move on with her life and live up to her full potential as a talented pianist.

It also shows how hanging with the wrong crowd or getting involved with the wrong fellow, as in the case of Ronnie’s friend, can cause significant problems later. It definitely emphasizes making good choices in life.

Nicholas Sparks is a Catholic Christian, and he always tries to put a Christian truth in his stories. I found the stain glass window to be a beautiful reminder of Jesus and, also, eternal life. Before I went to see this film, I looked up who died, because I know his stories tend to present grief and how people work through their grief. However, this is a refreshing movie, despite its sad tone.
The acting performances by Liam Hemsworth (Will) who is Miley Cyrus' boyfriend in real life, and Bobby Coleman (Jonah) are really outstanding.

There’s some mild swearing, but nothing too offensive. Reviewers who want all perfect children and families…remember there wouldn’t be any lessons to be learned if no one in the story made mistakes!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Kathy, age 50 (Canada)
Positive—There’s not many movies out there any more that are worth watching, but this one is. But be warned, you will need a box of tissues handy. The kissing that they do is quite long, not “sweet” like the reviewer states, but it’s nothing I don’t do in front of my own kids. Overall, it is an awesome movie. Great acting, filmmaking, etc. Great story line. Better than average morally. I approve my kids to watch it, although I cried my eyes out, and the kids made fun of me :(
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Diana, age 30 (USA)
Neutral—I was disappointed in this movie; I am usually very moved by Nicholas Sparks’s movies, and my emotions were not affected much by this one. I did not feel that Miley Cyrus’s acting was as convincing as it should have been; I feel her reaction to her father’s secret lacked depth and was not believable.

However, when her younger brother’s reaction was shown, I felt an emotional response. Miley did not convince me as being angry, or sad, or in love. I was interested instead, to focus on the dad, brother, and boyfriend.

Also, it seems that one of the most important aspects of the movie should have been on music, being that it was so huge to her and her father, and it was hardly shown at all. I hated “Dear John,” due to the immoral content, yet that movie still managed to make me feel a response to the storyline; although this one did not have as much for me to object to, I still would like to care what happens to the characters (ALL of them)!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Christina B, age 31 (USA)
Neutral—I really did not care for the movie at all. A lover of Nicholas Sparks' writing, the movie was changed quite a bit from the book, and Miley’s performance was not as believable as I’d hoped it would be. Also, the main thing that completely turned me off about the movie is that any mention of God or the Bible was COMPLETELY removed. Even the glass window was changed. I don’t understand why this happened. Seems to me that they intentionally avoided any mention of God or the Bible on purpose. I don’t think it was a bad movie for teenagers, however, I would not recommend it to younger kids
My Ratings: Moral rating: / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Tsantagelo, age 25 (USA)
Negative—All I can say is simply that Miley Cyrus is a terrible actor and singer. This movie is boring from start to finish… and it really wasn’t all that entertaining. This movie is for teenagers who have one boyfriend after another.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Jeff Gahnz, age 33 (USA)
Neutral—The reviewer for this film stated, “Will and Ronnie kiss, but it never gets too steamy, and it is kept sweet.” That’s not true. There are many times when the teenage couple are making out. One scene, in particular, the two do get pretty “steamy.” If I saw my teenage daughter kissing a boy like that, I’d feel like a failure as a father commanded to protect his daughter. The movie promotes rebellion. Ronnie is the one who runs the show, not her parents.

Overall, I feel like the reviewer did not give an accurate, fair, biblical review of this film. I took my wife to this and, to my surprise, even she was turned off. I heavily grieve for the Christian that would sit down with their teenage son and/or daughter and promote this kind of attitude and lifestyle as if it were normal and acceptable. I don’t mean to sound overly critical, but this is a Christian Web site, and whether or not you agree with my stance, the message and content of any film needs to be compared with the commandments of God.

He commands us to “honor our father and mother.” Ronnie helps her father in the end out of guilt, not honor because of the way she treated him. She started to play music again because of her boyfriend, not to honor her parents.

Paul wrote, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God” (1 Thes. 4:3-5).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Karl, age 25 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—This was an okay movie. Not fantastic. Not mind blowing. I highly recommend NOT reading the book before viewing this movie, as it will probably ruin the movie for you. From a Christian’s point of view, there were a couple things that could have been left out, but honestly, it was pretty clean. There weren’t any scenes where I felt uncomfortable. Again, not the best movie in the world, but it was okay. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Emily, age 14 (USA)
Positive—I guess this an okay movie. It is not the best movie he has ever done, and Miley Cyrus wasn’t the best. But it has a good story line and very sad. There are a few kissing scenes that can be offensive to some people. But other than that, the movie is good. I think people should go see this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Olivia, age 13 (USA)
Positive—Miley is a very talented young lady; she’s got a great set of pipes and acting skills to match; she’s very beautiful and all around the perfect “girl next door.” Me, being a big Nicholas Sparks and a big Miley fan, wanted to see this film. I read the book and loved it, and so did my friend who saw it with me. We both loved it.

There was one use of (the P word) and a few (d-words), and I think miley said the (b-word) under her breath (but I’m not sure). Miley and Liam had a few kissing sequences; none that went past PG. Miley and many other girls walk around in bathing suits, and in many scenes you can see Miley’s bikini top through her shirt, but since the movie is beach themed, it’s understandable. Liam and other male characters walk around shirtless, again understandable, since they live on a beach. My parents wanted me to watch the movie and find out if it was appropriate for my 8 and 11 year old sisters (also big Miley fans), and my conclusion is that 11 would be the minimum age. Overall, not much bad content and great acting, writing, etc.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Colin, age 17 (Canada)
Neutral—I read the book before I saw the movie with my mom, and I encourage others who have seen “The Last Song” or plan to see it should also read the book by Nicholas Sparks because there is so much more detail including another tragedy that was left out of the movie. The movie itself kind of summarized the book in my opinion. It is a good movie, but ***SPOILER ALERT*** the window being made for the burnt church has a huge Angel image on it. I wouldn’t have a problem with that, except in the book it was a picture of Jesus Christ. I didn’t understand why that had to be changed in the movie. After all, it was for a church!

Overall, I recommend the movie… and definitely the book!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Emily, age 12 (USA)
Positive—I LOVED this movie!!! Even though it doesn’t say that the family is a Christian family, the parents act as if they are Christians. One scene is violent because one guy pushes another guy, but with a very good reason.

I think this film is very pleasing to God. Some younger viewers might not understand some of what is going on, so it might be better for them to stay home. This is a wonderful movie, and I strongly encourage you to go see it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Brianna, age 13 (USA)
Neutral—I have watched Miley Cyrus on Disney Channel since she started as “Hannah Montana”. I always thought that was a cute show, so I thought I would give her movie a try. It was cute. I laughed, smiled, and even got teary eyed at some parts. However, there were two OMGs that I heard. And one of them came from Miley. She professes to be a Christian, so I was saddened to hear that from her. There were swear words as well. The kissing was not “kept sweet” at all, like the author states. They were making out quite a bit in the film, which a lot of times was unnecessary. There was, also, a part where two guys are fighting. I think this is a so-so film. Young fans of Hannah Montana shouldn’t watch this.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Andrea, age 17 (USA)
Positive—I loved this movie. It was inspirational and very beautiful. Ronnie was a rebellious teen at first, but as the movie went on, she became kind and loving towards everyone. I loved this film. Yeah, there were a few scenes were Miley and Will kissed kind of hard, but they weren’t naked or anything. They just kissed for kind of long time. So? It wasn’t bad. It was an outstanding movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Gloria, age 13 (USA)
Positive—…I loved this movie and not only because I am a Miley Cyrus fan but because the movie made me cry which is the thing that I do if a movie is good (I love sad movies). It was sweet and I loved the rebellious side of Miley.

I think it was great that they actually got teens to play teens instead of 20 or 30 yr olds trying to play teens because a teenager would get a teenage and play the role well and also that it had a good story plot and since my mom came to see it with me even though she wasn’t supposed to I liked that it only used like 2 curse words, but I don’t count cr*p as a curse word, cause I say it all the time, and I really don’t care about profanity—to me they are just words, and I say them, so I don’t care, but for my mom’s sake I liked that it was kept to a minimum.

And Miley was awesome in it, she is going very far in acting as she is in music.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Isabel, age 14 (USA)
Neutral—I thought this movie was great. The kissing scenes could have been minimized a little bit, but I think it is appropriate for teenagers, no younger. I was disappointed with Miley Cyrus, though. Her, being known as a Disney star, cursed in the movie, saying the b-word. I think that parents might assume if they do not look too far into this movie that it’s okay for, say they’re 10 year old, because Miley Cyrus has never done anything quite bad before. I think they could’ve picked someone that’s done more kissing and isn’t known to be so innocent.

I think Miley, at some points, did a fairly good job acting. There were some scenes though, that I thought were really NOT that great, which is unexpected considering she’s been acting for about 4 years now. I thought her brother in the movie, Bobby Coleman, did an absolute excellent job in this movie. His tears were real and really made the viewer feel for him. I think there were some situations where the parents seemed to be Christian, but not to where a non-christian might notice.

If you want to see the movie, go ahead, you won’t regret it, but if it’s not really sounding that appealing, you’re not missing out on too much.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jess, age 13 (USA)