Based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, 'The Last Song' strives to reach emotional depths, through the lessons of life, in hindsight.
Ronnie (Cyrus) is a rebellious teenager who, along with her younger brother Jonah (Coleman), has been forced to spend the summer with her estranged father (Kinnear), who deserted their mother Kim (Preston) and the family some years beforehand. Ronnie doesn't want to be there and she doesn't feel the need to protect anyone's feelings. But when she meets local boy Will (Hemsworth) she might just have a reason to stick around. And, after many years of ignoring her musical gift, out of spite, she might be ready to rethink her future. But lessons usually carry a price-tag and Ronnie is about to have her eyes opened to this reality.
Cyrus is capable enough as the lead character with issues here. She does rebellious, sulky teen well but her very heavy accent might very quickly drag you back to her 'Hannah Montana' persona or Miley Cyrus in real life.
When the movie's tone changes it is Greg Kinnear who keeps things afloat in his portrayal of a father with too many regrets and not enough time. His scenes are moving and his character the most interesting, but the focus never really stays with him.
The main problem with 'The Last Song' is that there isn't enough emotion running through the entire movie. It's hard to stomach a giant-sized dollop of heartbreak in the last 15 minutes if an emotional investment hasn't been warranted up until that point. Sure, you'd want to be virtually a stone not to feel something at the close but is it all too little, too late? Up until then it's been fluff – teenage romances and rebellions – so connecting with that characters feels a little late then.
It's not completely awful. It's just a long way off good.