THE FILM: The Choice (2016)
THE PAIRING: Travis Shaw (Benjamin Walker) and Gabby Holland (Teresa Palmer)
THE MOMENT: The Proposal
When it comes to Nicholas Sparks’ films, you’re probably in one of two camps. You either acknowledge and accept them as they are (sweet romantic chick flicks), and don’t care, or they induce eye rolls. I fall into the former clique. Of those I’ve seen and read, I have favorites among them. And no matter what, I’ll generally go see them, provided they have somewhat of a happy ending because what was Message in a Bottle all about?
Sparks’ most recent adaptation is of his novel, The Choice, which is for me, one of the best stories he’s written (of the four I’ve read). The plot follows a couple who become neighbors and their journey after happily ever after. Unfortunately, their meeting comes at a most inconvenient time (Gabby’s pre-engaged and attending school), but somehow the attraction between them won’t be denied. With tears, struggles and new dreams, they manage to find their way to each other, but their story isn’t full of the happiness potential viewers might expect.
I’m the first to admit Gabby and Travis’ relationship begins at a time in their lives when it shouldn’t. Gabby’s been in a committed relationship for a period of time which should prohibit her from starting anything with Travis, and yet the sparks between them ultimately win out. When they do give in to that attraction, many romantic outings follow. Their days consist of everything from picnics under the stars to motorcycle rides that are delayed because of a rain storm.
Because of a rocky beginning, their relationship does inevitably end in a goodbye letter. Gabby breaks things off when she reunites with her ex, leaving Travis in a temper. Depressed without the woman he fell in love with (despite being perfectly happy as a single 30-something), he lets Gabby get away. Prompted by his ex to go after Gabby, Travis travels to her parent’s home where, upon his arrival, he’s ready to fight for Gabby… with a proposal.
The Romantic Moment – The Choice
With trepidation and nervousness, Travis makes the drive to Gabby’s family home in South Carolina. Once there, he is met at the door by a man who he assumes is the butler. Asking after Gabby, Travis spies her talking in from the stables with a middle-aged couple he assumes are her parents.
Rushing into the front entryway, he stops short with a simple “hi” as Gabby walks in the door.
Shocked to see him in her house, she reacts with a surprised, exclamation, “You! What are you doing here?”
Ignoring her, Travis proceeds to introduce himself to the couple next to Gabby. When no recognition at his name crosses their faces, he presses ahead with the reason he came. “…well, I’m here today to tell you that I love Gabby something terrible, and I was hoping I could take her off your hands.”
Confusion clears, and the man sets Travis right. He informs him that the people Travis should be asking permission of are Gabby’s parents; the people Travis assumed were the hired help.
Frantic at this point, Gabby tries to prevent what’s about to happen. Looking at her parents, she exclaims, “No! No, no, no.”
Turning to her parents, Travis makes his apologies and introduces himself.
Still determined to stop the flow of words, Gabby throws out accusations. She isn’t about to marry Travis because she saw him with his ex.
Trying to get a word in between her frantic refusals, Travis manages to say the important things. With purpose, he says, “Gabby, stop! Listen to me, please. I love you.”
Stubborn, Gabby pertly replies, “Well, I don’t love you.”
Knowing her best, her parents refute Gabby’s claim much to Travis’ delight who relishes hearing Gabby does love him. Gabby on the other hand simply wants to know what side her parents are on.
Feeling like he has the upper hand, Travis asks her parents for a blessing. Her father asks him if he has a ring all while Gabby continues to pace, shake her head and exclaim, “No!” Her mother hands Travis a ring.
Seeing what’s about to happen, Gabby reinforces one thing: “I am not marrying this man!”
Softly, Travis begins his proposal, “Gabby…”
As they stand facing each other, Gabby again simply says, “No.”
Leaning in, Gabby’s father, Mr. Holland advises him to get down on one knee. Bending down, Travis continues on with his proposal. Sincerely, he speaks simple words from his heart. “Gabby. I think I pretty much said all the words, so all I need is a lifetime to prove it to you.” Holding the ring, on bended knee, he proposes. “Will you marry me?”
Emphatically, she persists. “No!”
Confusion and a little anger crosses Travis’ face as he argues back, “Well, yes.”
They continue to disagree on what Gabby’s answer should be until Travis stands and takes her face gently in his hands, holding her to his gaze. Reverting to his favorite way of describing his connection with her, he begs her, “Come bother me, baby. Bother me for the rest of my life.” And with great sincerity, he finishes with, “Be my wife.”
Breaking slightly, with tears in her eyes, softly she replies, “Okay.”
In relief, their foreheads come together and Travis places the ring on Gabby’s finger.
The next shot is of the couple’s wedding day. With a sweet kiss, as they break apart, Travis lifts his wife’s hand to his lips and gently kisses it while she bestows on him a knowing look. Softly, she tells him, “Don’t ever let go.” What she doesn’t realize is the truth these words hold, and the effect they will have on their relationship.
For some of you, you might be wondering why I chose such a frantic, unusual moment to feature in today’s Romantic Moment of the Week. This is actually one of the cutest proposals I’ve seen in modern cinema. I like that it’s different from the norm and so quirky. The involvement of Gabby’s parents and Gabby’s reactions to everything is hilarious as are the expressions Travis has in reaction to learning Gabby is in love with him.
Choosing which moment to feature from The Choice (which arrived on DVD May 3rd) was a challenge because there’s another much sweeter moment I was tempted to feature, but since it involves telling, essentially, the whole story (spoilers!), I opted for this flirtier, cuter sequence. It’s not one of the “great” moments of film, but it is playful and for this couple, lovely. Of course, because this is a romantic drama, this isn’t all there is to Gabby and Travis’ story. To learn how it all ends, you’ll have to watch the film.
Do you have a favorite Nicholas Sparks film? Did you see and like The Choice? Comment down below with your thoughts! I’d love to read about your favorite moment between Gabby and Travis.
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