"The Lucky One" is a 2012 Romantic Drama film, directed by Scott Hicks, based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The film stars Zac Efron as Logan Thibault and and Taylor Schilling as Beth Green, with supporting performances by Blythe Danner and Jay R. Ferguson.
U.S. Marine Sgt. Logan Thibault (Efron) returns home from his third tour of duty in Iraq with the one thing he believes kept him alive: a photograph of a woman he doesn't even know. He learns the woman's name is Beth (Schilling) and goes to meet her, eventually taking a job at her family-run kennel. Though Beth is full of mistrust and leads a complicated life as a single mother with an aggressive ex-husband, a romance blossoms, giving Logan hope that Beth could become more than just his good-luck charm.
This film provides examples of:
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Keith at one point gets drunk and accosts Logan as he is walking, even holding a gun to his face. Logan swiftly shows him this was a very poor idea.
- Animal Lover: Logan and Beth share this in common, and his warmth to both Zeus and the dogs in her kennel is part of what makes her begin to trust him.
- Canine Companion: Logan's dog Zeus, who makes the trek with him and stays loyal throughout the film.
- Composite Character: In the book, Keith's father is the sheriff and his grandfather is the judge. In the film, the judge is Keith's father and the sheriff is an unseen character who isn't related to them.
- Entitled to Have You: Keith has this attitude towards Beth, both because of their history, and his position as Sherrif's Deputy and son of the town's judge.
- Good Luck Charm: The plot is kicked off after Logan discovers a photo of Beth in the rubble during his tour of Iraq. The act of picking it up ends up saving him after a mortar shell explodes where he had been sitting. He also survives an attack on his Humvee later. He comes to conclude that the photo protected him from death and seeks to return it to its original owner.
- Heel Realization: Keith has this after pulling a gun on Logan, knowing that even his father's connections won't prevent him from losing his job and/or going to jail.
- Idealized Sex: Beth and Logan's first night together. Swelling, gossamer curtains, and light streaming in through the window accompany them.
- It's All About Me: Almost every time Judge Clayton speaks to one of his relatives, it is to emphasize how preoccupied he is with his campaign for mayor. He gushes proudly about his grandson properly reciting his campaign slogan and later compliments the boy's violin recital by saying he can play it at the victory ceremony. After assuring his son that his Reckless Gun Usage can be covered up, the judge adds that it will blow over "by the election." The only exception to this is after his son's death.
- "Number of Objects" Title: Inherited from the book it's based on.
- Poor Communication Kills: Logan has a hard time expressing himself or explaining the actual purpose of his visit to Louisiana, which causes problems, including Beth thinking he walked all this way to apply for a job.
- Posthumous Character: Beth's brother Drake Green recently died in Iraq when Logan first meets Beth. It isn't until he finally sees a picture of Drake that Logan realizes he was actually his squadmate "Aces", who died in the opening. The photo of Beth was his.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Fed up with Keith's bullying, Beth tells him off, asserts that she's a "damn good mother", and tells him to stay out of her life.
- Redemption Equals Death: Keith has been an abusive drunk throughout the film, but dies in the climax helping to rescue Ben during a storm, and seems to honestly regret some of his actions.
- Rope Bridge: Ben has a treehouse across the river from Beth's home that can be reached by one of these. In the climax, Ben becomes stranded in the treehouse during a storm when the bridge collapses.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Logan suffers from PTSD, and has both flashbacks and night terrors associated with his time in Iraq.
- Shipper on Deck: Beth's grandmother Ellie immediately takes a liking to Logan and hires him to work at the kennel after Beth refuses to.
- Shower of Love: Beth and Logan consummate their relationship with one.
- Starter Marriage: Beth's relationship with Keith was doomed from the beginning, mostly because Keith is emotionally abusive and unfaithful.
- Teen Pregnancy: Beth became pregnant by Keith at the end of their senior year in high school, and Ben was the result.
- Walking the Earth: After being discharged from the Marines, Logan decides to track down the subject of the mysterious photo. After tracing a lighthouse in the background to Louisiana, he decides to walk there. From his home in Colorado.