Some movies are made to win awards, some movies are made to make money, and some movies are made so the filmmakers/crew can keep making movies. “Forever My Girl” is the latter. They picked a vanilla storyline with newbie actors and a basic setup and went for it. And because of that, most of the people involved will get to make another movie. This film won’t surprise you one bit, but I think that’s what made its story actually doable for the crew and easy to understand (not necessarily digest) for most audiences. I guess this movie put me in an awkward, but necessary, position to be honest with myself about what movies I really want to review. If this review hadn't easily flowed from my heart, I would've probably passed on reviewing it - just not worth your time or money, and it's certainly not my style.
Forever My Girl
Forever My Girl
Forever out of my mind.
Reviewed By: Steven Siwek
DVD or Streaming <27in
For a mostly amateur cast, "Forever My Girl" is exactly what you'd expect. Little to no nuance in characters - it’s either all or none for each of them. Poorly timed comedy. The Louisiana accents nearly ruined everyone - just compare their accents with John Malkovich in Deepwater Horizon; I could’ve sworn the guy grew up in the Bayou. But having a British kid trying to be from New Orleans just doesn't work. "Liam" (played by Alex Roe) was literally sweating (profusely) in multiple scenes - tone it back 10 notches and it might have been believable. His unibrow (no judgment) stared me in the face the entire movie. I'm so confused how a British born actor, putting on a Louisiana accent, who is the “most famous country” singer in the world, is not a little more vain about his unibrow? "Josie" (played by Jessica Rothe) is the most dynamic character...that is, until she easily allows "Liam" back in her life. The tension between her and "Liam" is rarely built. Everything comes too easily. The rest of the cast play into vanilla stereotypes. And, very importantly, this movie should be a lesson to all filmmakers - extras are so crucial! "Dunkirk" should teach you that, but in case it doesn't, "Forever My Girl" will remind you of how cheap movies can look without a filled out cast.
I guess a lot of this film is about forgiveness. But for me to guess that isn’t a good start. "Liam" is not conciliatory about his actions until the bitter end and so most of the forgiveness happens without his involvement. Fame is dealt with somewhat strangely - it's like they (cast/filmmakers) couldn't say "no" to fame. So it ends up being this awkward middle of, "keep being super famous; just bring your family along for the grueling ride, and pretend it's easy." Of course, the title itself, "Forever My Girl", lends itself to always staying true to your spouse - which is a great message.
They had an opportunity in this movie to make the music special. I put this under the "Musical" genre, because he does sing at several points. But they couldn't piece together a truly memorable hit. Most of the music is just a lyrical version of what just happened in the story. The rest of the music throughout the film is okay.
From my perspective, I didn't know this was a book but I could've guessed it was. "Forever My Girl" probably did very well as a book (and it has done wonderful from a $$ perspective as a movie), but I think it didn't separate itself enough from feeling like a book on screen. The story is so basic, but a lot of movies have basic stories. What made "Forever My Girl" so brutal was the lack of attention to make moments believable and special. If you're going to have a super famous country star, then study how country stars live, how they hang out when they're in public, how their fans react when they seen him/her, and how they talk to their managers/publicists/etc. There are so many relationships and lifestyles that felt "best-guessed" rather than experienced.
The Visual team did okay. The biggest issue this team had to overcome was using a $5M budget to make it feel like they were inside the life of the biggest country star. They unfortunately failed in this endeavor. I think they tried too much with too little resources. For example, filming "Liam's" concerts was a big deal, but bringing 50 friends with cowboy hats to hang out and wave their hands, VFX the stadium to feel filled, and use a Powerpoint-like presentation as the stage background just doesn't feel legit.
In the end, "Liam" doesn't feel larger than life and this is absolutely crucial to believing his character and empathizing with the tension between fame and family. Lots more research should have been used to distinguish these characters. That being said, this movie is already so much more successful than they could've wished. Who am I to knock that from them? Money talks and this cast/crew will get to make more movies because of that. I just hope they don't make another "Forever My Girl".