Blu-ray Review: Forever My Girl

A pleasant surprise that makes for good date-movie viewing.

By , Contributor
Occasionally a movie sneaks up on you as a complete surprise, one you never thought you'd find compelling—one that you, in fact, never had any intention of even watching. At least that happens for me, now and again. And it happened with Forever My Girl, the mild romantic drama that stars leading actors whose names I didn't initially recognize. Admittedly, I figured out where the plot was going after about 20 minutes (and trust me, I'm no sleuth when it comes to that sort of thing). But as formulaic as Forever My Girl may be, it's also got a genuine heart beating at the center of it.

Of course, it got pretty much savaged by critics. But even though my instinct was to dislike it for being a hokey little romance, writer-director Bethany Ashton Wolf's humble film won me over. Alex Roe (who I'd forgotten I'd seen in the failed but underrated Y.A. adventure The 5th Wave) stars as country superstar Liam Page. In a brief prologue, we see Liam leave his small-town sweetheart Josie (Jessica Rothe, excellent in last year's Happy Death Day) at the alter. Flash-forward eight years and one of his groomsmen has died in a car accident. Liam heads back to Louisiana for the first time since hitting it big, in order to attend the funeral.

Surprise, surprise, everyone in town hates him for what he did to Josie, including his own dad Pastor Brian (John Benjamin Hickey). Inevitably, he and Josie's paths cross and Liam is shocked to discover Josie has an eight-year-old daughter. Do the math. Turns out Billie (Abby Ryder Fortson, the adorable young actress who co-starred as Paul Rudd's daughter in Marvel's Ant-Man) is also his daughter. Liam was too busy traipsing around the world as a country idol to ever return any of Josie's calls.

For any seasoned moviegoer, the rest of Forever My Girl's plot will not come as a surprise. But the appealingly low-key execution does. Both Roe and Rothe are likable in their roles, as is Fortson—cute without becoming cloying. I kept waiting for them to deliver cheesy, clunky lines of dialogue, but that didn't ever really happen. While the whole thing ultimately feels a bit TV-movie-ish in its small scope, that doesn't make it bad. And there's some decent country music to boot, which soundtracks Liam's personal revelations about the true meaning of responsibility.

Speaking of that country music, Lionsgate's new Blu-ray edition ensures that it sounds as good as possible in lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround. The supplements on this Blu-ray are nearly non-existent: a photo gallery?? Surely there was at least a music video or something of a promotional nature that could've been included, but that's all we get.

Forever My Girl is not a movie I personally will revisit, but for a lazy afternoon viewing I was pleasantly charmed. Couples of all ages looking for an easy-going, low-intensity date flick could do a lot worse.
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Chaz Lipp is a Las Vegas-based musician and freelance writer. His new jazz album 'Good Merlin' is now available.

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