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Top 10 Nicholas Sparks Movie Cliches

VO: Emily Brayton
Script written by Carly Comtois “The Notebook,” “A Walk to Remember,” “Dear John,” they all have more than one thing in common Join MsMojo as we count down the top 10 Nicholas Sparks Movie Clichés. For this list, we'll be taking a look at clichés that appear in at least two or more movies inspired by the works of Nicholas Sparks. Since the romance writer is known for tugging at our heartstrings by killing off important characters, a spoiler alert is in order. Special thanks to our users NickSpake1 and Joey Hubbard for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at

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Top 10 Nicholas Sparks Movie Cliches

“The Notebook,” “A Walk to Remember,” “Dear John,” they all have more than one thing in common. Welcome to MsMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 Nicholas Sparks Movie Clichés.

For this list, we'll be taking a look at clichés that appear in at least two or more movies inspired by the works of Nicholas Sparks. Since the romance writer is known for tugging at our heartstrings by killing off important characters, a spoiler alert is in order.

#10: Social Class Differences

Is there anything more romantic than forbidden love? Probably not, since it's a trope often repeated ‒ not just in Nicholas Sparks stories, but throughout cinematic history. Sparks likes to create tension between lead characters by giving them contrasting economic backgrounds. The women always come from money, and the men are working class underdogs who conclude that the relationship can't work because they come from different worlds. In "A Walk to Remember," Jamie and Landon are not divided by money, but by popularity. Jamie's father objects to the relationship, as do the girl's parents in "The Notebook" and "The Best of Me." Despite these obstacles, the couples never let social class differences get in the way of true love.

#9: Almost Kissing on the Movie Poster

It's not a question of whether the lead characters will kiss, but when. So it's no surprise that the movie posters always involve the same pose – the two main characters leaning in for a kiss. When you think about it, the pose makes sense because the space between them represents everything standing in the way of their relationship. Once the characters can overcome these obstacles, then they can share a kiss. So, if you're having any doubts as to what Nicholas Sparksmovies are all about, you only need look at the movie poster.

#8: Swimming/The Beach

It's the perfect backdrop for a romance. Beaches bring to mind pictures of women in cute swimsuits, windswept hair, and couples walking along the shoreline, hand in hand. "The Last Song" is set by the water since Ronnie, played by Miley Cyrus, is staying at her father's beach house. She meets her love interest, played by Liam Hemsworth, on the beach, where she also deals with her own issues by protecting a turtle nest. It's also the perfect place to frolic in the water with your loved one or just sit on the sand and chat, so we get why passionate scenes by the beach seem to appear in every single Nicholas Sparks film.

#7: Death and Illness

Perhaps Nicholas Sparks views a connection between romantic love and death because his own mother was killed in a horseback riding accident shortly after he married his wife. Whether or not that's the case, in every one of his stories, someone kicks the bucket. "A Walk to Remember" is essentially a story about death, since it revolves around the deteriorating health of a teenage girl with Leukemia. His other stories aren't as grim, but nevertheless, they always end in tragedy of some kind. That being said, Nicholas Sparks is a pro at turning tragedy into a blessing in disguise, like Dawson donating his heart to Amanda's son in "The Best of Me" or Allie and Noah dying in each other's arms.

#6: Dancing

Everyone knows that slow dancing is just an excuse to get up close and personal with someone, especially for two people who want to date, but haven't made any moves yet. It seems to be a common activity for new couples both on and off screen, since dancing requires synchronized movement and therefore demonstrates a couple's physical compatibility. The situations in which characters from Nicholas Sparks movies end up dancing together vary from weddings to living rooms, and even the middle of the street. When a couple is wrapped in each other's arms, it doesn't matter where they are– at least according to every Nicholas Sparks movieever.

#5: Small Towns

Nicholas Sparks was born in Nebraska, and spent his high school years living in California. Only after getting married did he move to North Carolina, which eventually became the setting for the bulk of his novels. This accounts for the excessive presence of beaches and water, since much of North Carolina consists of beautiful coastlines, proving true that authors like to write what they know. Nicholas Sparks apparently fell so in love with the state that he wanted his characters to fall in love with each other there, too. And yes, small towns seem to mean an abundance of pick up trucks.

#4: Cheesy Dialogue

Romance novels are nothing if not cheesy. And so when a beloved romance novel is adapted to film, a part of that same dialogue will remain unchanged, making for some extremely corny lines. But after all, what more would you expect from your average rom com? We don't settle in for the night to watch "The Notebook" for its innovative cinematography or smart writing; we watch in anticipation of Noah saying "IT STILL ISN'T OVER" and moving in for the kiss. So even though outwardly we might roll our eyes every time Dawson professes his love to Amanda in "The Best of Me," really, we can't get enough of it.

#3: Couples Separated by Time

The best part of two people being torn apart is the hope that one day, they'll finally be together again. Nicholas Sparks knows this – in fact, he uses that hope to ensure that viewers stick around to find out whether the characters end up together by the film's close. The movies pretty much always separate the central relationship by time somehow, and will often include sequences that gloss over the years of the relationship. "The Notebook" is a classic case: Allie and Noah are apart for 7 years– it’s 14 years in the book–and when they meet again, the big question is whether their love could have survived all that time. Spoiler: it totally did.

#2: Letters

*Sigh* In the days before texting and Snapchat, people actually used to communicate by long hand. Writing letters was a way for people, especially those separated from each other, to still stay close. Noah writes Allie a letter a day for a year until finally giving up on their relationship in "The Notebook," Savannah and John in "Dear John" use letters to stay in touch while he's serving in the war, and in "Safe Haven," a pre-written letter from Alex's deceased wife even makes its way to his new girlfriend. Letters play such a huge role in almost every one of Sparks' films, and serve to reinforce the theme of separation he loves so much.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.


Kissing in the Rain


Troubled Pasts

Strong Father Figures

#1: Attractive White People

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the actors in all Nicholas Sparks adaptations are easy on the eyes – most people in Hollywood are. But come on! Men who look like Zac Efron don't just show up at your house looking for work. And those gratuitous shirtless guy scenes (xref) Nicholas loves so much don't happen in real life. But according to Sparks, hot men go around taking their clothes off all the time and love stories only ever involve good-looking white people. Can you think of any non-white lead characters in a Nicholas Sparks movie? Yeah, neither can we.

Do you agree with our list? What other clichés have you noticed in Nicholas Sparks movies? For more entertaining top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.


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