Jungle
New Life

New Life

Movie
Director(s): 
Genre: 
Grade:
C
Running Time: 
88 minutes

Every relationship has its ups and downs, and films tend to overly focus on the fairy-tale romance we often dream of rather than the reality we face. New Life isn’t one of those films. Taking a page from a Nicholas Sparks novel, the film captures both the good and the bad and focuses on how to continue to move forward in the face of despair. It’s very by-the-numbers, but a convincingly chemistry between the two leads keep things engaging.

 

Ben (Jonathan Patrick Moore) and Ava (Erin Bethea) first met as childhood neighbors and over the years their friendship grew into a deep romance. As their love for each other grew, they knew they were soulmates. Still, their relationship would come to face its own series of challenges, each one requiring them to grow and learn and stand tall against an uncertain future.

 

New Life tends to throw wrench after wrench into Ben and Ava’s relationship, first testing their love for one another in college with the typical “you work too much and we never see each other enough” scenario, and then severely ramping things up by throwing a miscarriage and cancer into the mix. I was hoping the film would be something more than just another Nicholas Sparks clone, but it never really goes deep into exploring their relationship. Instead it just moves from sad moment to happy moment, rinse and repeat, without much real thought. Their so-called “break” in college lasts all of a couple of minutes of screentime before they decide to get back together. There’s no emotional weight to many of the scenes where something either devastating or joyous happens, like when the nurse informs Ben that Ava had a miscarriage or when their doctor, played by Terry O'Quinn, robotically tells them that she’s cancer free. These scenes come of weird and choppy. Thankfully the two leads are there to keep audiences invested.

 

By far the best aspects of New Life are Jonathan Patrick Moore and Erin Bethea. It’s because of their acting that their relationship feels real. From the playing as kids to him taking her to prom, we quickly see them grow up together and fall in love. Even though the situations they find themselves in might play out a little strange on screen, their love and emotion for each other barely falters. Their chemistry together is great, and they without a doubt carry the film.

 

While New Life doesn’t exactly breathe any new life into its genre, it still manages to deliver a film that fits the standard pretty well. Fans of these kind of romance films will no doubt enjoy the ride. For others, however, it might be more hard of a sale.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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