The Lucky One
|The Lucky One is a 2012 romantic drama film directed by Scott Hicks and released April 2012. It is an adaptation of the 2008 novel of the same name, by Nicholas Sparks. The film stars Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, and Blythe Danner.|
Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) is a U.S. Marine serving his third tour of duty in Iraq, who survives a night raid in which two platoons are ambushed, resulting in fatalities. The following morning, he sees something glinting in the sun and walks over to pick it up; it is a picture of a woman, with the message “keep safe x” written on the back. At that moment, a mortar attack destroys where he had been sitting before he saw the picture, killing those around him, but leaving him with minor injuries. He then tries to find the owner of the picture, but has no success and assumes whoever owned the picture is dead.
Prior to returning home, Logan and a squadmate are driving and discussing the picture. Logan declares that the woman in the picture is his “guardian angel”; the vehicle is hit by a roadside bomb, and once again Logan is the sole survivor.
Later, Logan returns to Colorado to live with his sister and her family, who have been looking after his German Shepherd, Zeus. Suffering from survivor guilt, he finds it difficult to adjust to life back home. He decides it is best to leave, and records a message on his sister’s laptop explaining his reasons.
He takes Zeus and walks to Louisiana, as a landmark in the picture of the unknown woman points to her location there. On arrival, he asks around and a local in a bar recognizes the woman, but warns Logan that she used to be married to a friend of his.
Logan finds the woman’s workplace, a dog kennel, and when he finally meets her – Beth Clayton (Taylor Schilling), he is unable to explain why he is there; she assumes he wants to apply for a job opening, but is wary of him, wondering why he would walk all the way from Colorado to Louisiana to apply for a job helping out in a dog kennel. Her grandmother Ellie (Blythe Danner) decides to give him the job, much to Beth’s surprise. At first, Beth is irritated by Logan’s presence, but begins to warm to him as he develops a relationship with her son Ben.
Logan finds out that Beth had a brother named Drake who was killed in action (KIA) during his second tour in Iraq and that his death devastated her; having little information about the circumstances, Beth wanted to know if her brother had died for nothing.
Logan meets Beth’s ex, Sheriff Deputy Keith Clayton, who is the son of the town’s judge and mayoral hopeful. He is immediately suspicious and jealous of the newcomer and doesn’t hide his disdain for the former Marine. He is ruthless and always wants to win, a trait he is trying to instill in his son, and discourages Ben from playing the violin around him, something which causes Ben to practice in his tree house by himself.
Keith and Beth have a disagreement when he returns Ben to her bloodied from a charity baseball game, and he threatens to take full custody of Ben to intimidate Beth and make her life miserable.
During a walk with Zeus, Logan overhears Ben playing the violin in the tree house and compliments him on it. Later, Ben finds out that Logan is good at playing the piano and they decide to team up, with Ben now practicing in the house. They find other common interests which bring them even closer.
On the anniversary of Drake’s death, Logan comforts Beth and they grow closer, and Beth opens up about the life she had with her brother when they were young. She takes Logan to the boat her parents owned and reminisced about when they used to ride the boat when they were children, but the boat now stays in the harbor, as it requires repair.
Keith tries to do something about the budding friendship between Beth and Logan, and she stands up to Keith, showing that she is not intimidated by him anymore. She begins to pursue a relationship with Logan, much to the happiness of Ellie.
During a performance in the local church, Logan and Ben play their instruments as Ben now has the confidence to play in public. Outside, Keith is met by the local person Logan talked to when he arrived into town and is told about the photograph. Keith tells Beth and she gets upset with Logan. As he walks away from the house, Ben comes out and gives him a book on chess. Ellie tries to talk to her granddaughter, explaining that it isn’t Logan’s fault that he survived and Drake did not.
An intoxicated Keith sees Logan and his dog in the town and angrily confronts him. Keith draws his weapon and Logan disarms him, making him look foolish to the townsfolk. Logan heads home to pack his belongings and while doing so, he flips through the chess book and finds a picture of Beth’s brother; he focuses on a tattoo Drake had on his forearm, which says “Aces”. This triggers a memory and he heads to Beth’s house to tell her.
Judge Clayton berates his son for his behavior during the incident in the town. Keith walks out and heads for Beth’s, even though a heavy storm is taking place. He tries a reconciliation with Beth. Beth firmly rejects him and he threatens to take Ben away. Hearing their argument, the boy runs out into the storm with Keith following. Beth goes after them, just as Logan arrives. Ellie urges Logan to follow Beth and he does so.
Ben heads for his tree house, but has difficulty crossing the river because of the storm. The rope bridge gives way and father and son are dropped into the water, just as Beth and Logan arrive. Keith calls to Logan for help and he immediately comes to assist, as the tree house sways precariously in the high winds. Keith gives Ben to Logan and Logan says he will return for Keith, but as Ben is handed to Beth and Logan starts back, the tree house falls on Keith. Logan couldn’t save Keith as the river sweeps the collapsed tree house and Keith away. Paramedics arrive in the background. Judge Clayton thanks Logan for saving Ben, to which Logan replies that it was his son that had saved him, and conveys his condolences.
While Ben is in his room, Beth thanks Logan for what he did. Ben asks if the police have found his father, who drowned in the river. Logan then shows her the photograph from Ben’s chess book and replies that he knew what happened to Drake, also known as “Sgt. Aces”; his group was the other platoon ambushed in the night raid. When one of Drake’s men was injured, he went to rescue him and paid with his life. Logan says that Drake didn’t die in vain. He leaves, but Beth runs after him, asking him to stay.
The final scene shows Logan, Beth, and Ben on his 9th birthday in the boat, which Logan has restored to full working order.