Liam Page is a country music superstar – but what price did he pay for his success? He finds answers when tragedy strikes and he’s called back to his hometown, where big surprises await him! [Please note: review contains loads of spoilers.]
I’ll admit that I volunteered to review this movie because I knew it would be a hate watch. The trailer put me into such a boiling rage that I emailed my editor immediately and said, “I have to do this!” He knows I’m crazy, so the assignment was mine. I already knew I’d hate it… I just didn’t know how much. Who wrought this ham-fisted fuckery? Let’s find out!
The film opens with a joyous occasion – the wedding of gorgeous high school sweethearts Josie Preston (Jessica Rothe) and Liam Page (Alex Roe). The bride is aflutter and the day is set to be perfection! But wait… trouble is afoot. It turns out the groom – who already has a hit song on the radio – will not be showing up for the ceremony because he’s got a date. A date with stardom, that is! He leaves it up to his best friend Mason (Terayle Hill) and maid of honor/Mason’s girlfriend Keira (Morgan Alexandria) to break the news to his not-so-dearly beloved. I hope she at least ate the cake!
Fast-forward to eight years later as Liam croons his tunes to a sold-out arena. He’s a big deal, y’all! He sweats. He stomps. He strums. Fans lose their minds. It’s everything he dreamed of – at least on stage. Later, after a one-night stand with a groupie (gasp!), who breaks his ancient flip-phone, we find that things aren’t as settled as they seem. You see, of all the things in the world, it’s that prehistoric cell phone that means the most to him because it contains the very last message Josie ever left him. He races barefoot to a conveniently-located store, offering $10,000 to anyone who can fix the flip. You know what would be even more meaningful than hanging onto this ancient hunk of plastic? Calling a bitch back in a timely manner!
While he’s reeling from phone trauma, he sees the news and finds that his very best friend in the world (whom he has not spoken to in eight years) has perished at the hands of a drunk driver. Does he hop on a plane? No, he does not. He takes a moment to get hammered on the rooftop of his fancy hotel. You know, as one does.
It’s only when he’s waiting in his chauffeured vehicle that he thinks, “What the heck?” and requests for the driver to take him back home, post-haste. (He offers the driver $1,000 to escort him to “the next town over,” but the phone store employee is offered $10,000 for his help. He really loves that fucking phone.) So it’s back to Saint Augustine, Louisiana he goes where a whole mess of trouble is festering!
Sad rock star! [Photo Credit]
Sweaty and drunk, he huddles behind a tree, watching the funeral proceedings while clutching a flask. (Flask at a Funeral is my new band name.) He’s about to slink off when Josie spots him. She makes a beeline for Liam and punches him in the gut. She really should’ve gone for his balls if she wanted to make her point, but beggars can’t be choosers. I’m just happy there’s a slight amount of plot procession! While he’s laid out on the ground, his father appears, hovering over him in disgust. Turns out he didn’t just cut off Josie when he fled in favor of stardom – he turned away from the whole damn town. What a peach! It doesn’t stop his father from putting him up, however, since he’s the town minister and must practice forgiveness. ‘Natch.
Once he dusts himself off, he goes about the business of tracking down his lost love, finding her at a quaint flower shop that she now owns. Here he buys hydrangeas for the grieving widow, Keira. That is very nice of him – because after this, the loss of his friend is barely broached again! While at the shop, an adorable little girl runs in to greet her mommy. Are you thinking that Josie has moved on and procreated with another man? You’d be wrong! Turns out this near-virginal blonde was unknowingly pregnant at the time of her almost-marriage and decided to have the baby of the man who left her on her wedding day. Why didn’t she tell him? Well, she tried…once. He really should’ve returned that phone call!
It doesn’t take long for this selfish rock star to deduce that the precocious child is his. (A clue: Josie named her Billy (Abby Ryder Fortson), after Liam’s deceased mother. That was thoughtful!) After realizing he has a 7-year old, he races home to confront his dad. Why didn’t he tell him? Well, he also tried… once. (These people really need a lesson in tenacity!) Pastor Brian (John Benjamin Hickey) braved the naughty backstage of a concert and tried to chat with his son. But Liam was blackout drunk and told his dad to go away. So he did. That’s as hard as anyone tried to alert Liam that he was a father, and that’s not weird at all.
Work, bitch. [Photo Credit]
In this nearly two-hour slog we also get the additional bonus of sitting through a sermon. After all, nothing says “fun at the movies” like church! Meanwhile, Liam’s team is freaking the fuck out because their meal ticket has disappeared. When they finally track him down, Liam whines, “My friend just died, okay?!,” and they agree to leave him alone to let him “process” the distressing news that barely seems to have affected him at all. (His publicist, Doris, hilariously tells him, “Oh, good! Funerals are even better than rehab. Be sure to take a picture by the corpse!” More Doris please – she’s the only one with personality in this damn flick.)
And now my friends it is time for the montage. (Or “motherfucking montage,” as my husband and I like to refer to it.) Liam picks up his daughter from school. Liam and Billy eat ice cream. Josie allows Liam to take her and Billy to the movies. Father and daughter have a sleepover. Liam is so sheltered he has to be shown how to order things off the internet. Liam and Josie nearly share a kiss. Liam and Billy play guitar together. They are all growing, and growing closer! Meanwhile, Liam has not apologized. I don’t know about Josie, but I am WTF-ing myself over here. He chose riding dirty with groupies over you, girl! And now the dude is back, rich AF, and has not offered even once to compensate you with any kind of child support for pushing 7 lbs. of human out of your hoo-ha. I have questions! Why don’t you? (One thing we do get the answer to is how he got discovered, which was by “messing around at karaoke” where a big time agent just happened to hear him. Because if there’s an epicenter to the music industry, it’s certainly Saint Augustine, Louisiana!)
It’s super easy to drop into someone’s life and make like nothing’s happened! [Photo Credit]
Josie seems pretty spineless overall, minus the one gut punch she delivered at the top of the film, and now all she wants is to do is go on a fancy date with the Liam Page. In a very Fifty Shades move, he arranges a helicopter ride to New Orleans where they dance the night away among paparazzi hungry for shots of Mr. Page and his Mystery Girl. Glad your best friend’s death has turned out to be so romantical for you, Liam!
Their relationship is all but back on track and they’re speeding towards a full reconciliation when another tragedy strikes! While at a family BBQ, where Liam is teaching Billy to eat a hot dog like a lion (this is a thing?), she starts to choke and he totally freezes. Like zone out not even reacting freezes. His daughter is potentially dying in front him; meanwhile he’s lost in his head, replaying a flashback of when his mother was in the hospital on life support. Is it at all possible that you could think about anyone but yourself, Liam? No? Okay, then. Josie’s brother/Billy’s uncle, Jake (Tyler Riggs), steps up to save the child. No matter though – Liam is already miles away, having decided that he’s not good enough for the supposed loves of his life. (Spoiler alert: He’s not.)
I suck as a human. [Photo Credit]
Liam wastes no time hitting the road, setting out on an international tour. Meanwhile, Josie is left behind with the wreckage that was once called her heart again. There are lots of tears all around before Liam has the looooooong overdue revelation that he actually does love Josie and simply cannot live without her! Well, aren’t you special.
Liam races back to the States (forgoing his private jet in favor of commercial air travel, for some unknown reason) and shows up at Josie’s house to wail at her in the rain. (Because of course there’s a rainstorm.) He promises never to leave Saint Augustine without her, or Billy, ever again. And she forgives him, again, just like that! I’m sure he’ll also have an amazing excuse and perfect non-apology when he’s bored and balls deep in strange a few years down the line, so have fun with that Josie!
Good thing he found a woman who forgives easily – I have a feeling she’ll be doing it often! [Photo Credit]
Oh, and before we wrap, there’s also the requisite wedding footage (of course they finally wed in the hometown church), and elementary school talent show where father and daughter sing together before touring Berlin as a family. Where is my barf bag?
How this film skipped the Hallmark Channel and managed to be released as a major motion picture is an absolute mystery. It’s Nicholas Sparks lite – and that’s saying something! Save your money and wait to be forced to watch this on a plane someday.
Forever My Girl (2018) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time Liam does something selfish.
Take a Drink: every time you wish Josie would move on.
Take a Drink: every time Billy is sassy.
Take a Drink: every time you have to slap yourself awake.
Do a Shot: for Doris. She’s a badass.
Do a Shot: for this Forever Your Girl!