Review: In ‘Forever My Girl,’ a Romance Resumes After a Long Break

Review: In ‘Forever My Girl,’ a Romance Resumes After a Long Break


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Alex Roe, left, and Jessica Rothe, with Abby Ryder Fortson, in “Forever My Girl.”

Credit
Jacob Yakob/Roadside Attractions

This rather astonishing movie begins with a lovely young bride-to-be, Josie (Jessica Rothe), abandoned before even getting to the altar by her high-school sweetheart, Liam (Alex Roe), who’s absconded in pursuit of music business fame. Eight years later, Liam is a stadium-filling country music star, as well as a promiscuous drunk. (The credible songs are mostly by Brett Boyett.) His one nonstandard-issue eccentricity is an attachment to an ancient cellphone, which contains Josie’s last voice mail message to him. On a New Orleans tour stop, he learns of the death of his best friend in nearby Saint Augustine, the town from which he bailed. On impulse, he heads there.

While the Prodigal Son of scripture returned home after working out a heartfelt plea of forgiveness, Liam just shows up. Are there hard feelings? Sure, but they’re the softest hard feelings you’ve seen in any work of fiction, or nonfiction, ever. Also turns out that Josie, as fresh and lovely as ever, has an adorably precocious moppet of a daughter, Billy, whom she has named after Liam’s long-deceased mother.

Forever My Girl | Official Trailer | Roadside Attractions | In theaters January 19 Video by RoadsideFlix

There is no talk of potentially seven years worth of unpaid child support; no mention of formalizing any sort of custody arrangement. This group must somehow form a family, as the “Brady Bunch” theme song says, and so it goes, with one dopey speed bump that presumes to explain and erase Liam’s damage. The rest is pure romance-novel wish-fulfillment. The director, Bethany Ashton Wolf, who adapted the screenplay from, yes, a romance novel by Heidi McLaughlin, can concoct some Hallmark-greeting-card-quality shots, but has little flair for piecing them together. The lead actors are very pretty.



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