The Last Song is a Nicholas Sparks story, which tells you several key things about the film: Two unlikely people will fall in love. Someone will heal from a past hurt. A key character will die. And this will all transpire in a lovely waterfront locale. (See The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, Nights in Rodanthe, and Dear John for previous examples.)
In The Last Song, the locale is a small Southern beach town, where divorced single mom Kim Miller (Kelly Preston) is dropping off her two kids at dad Steve's (Greg Kinnear) place for the summer. The kids are Ronnie (Miley Cyrus), an angry and rebellious recent high school grad, and Jonah (Bobby Coleman), her happy and quirky little brother.
While Jonah is thrilled to spend a summer with his dad exploring the beach, flying kites, and building a stained glass window together, Ronnie is angry that she's been torn from her home in New York City and forced to spend a summer with her estranged father. While she feels he "bailed" on the family when her parents split, she in turn has bailed on their shared love of the piano. Once on track to attend Julliard, Ronnie is now set on a music-less future adrift in her personal sea of teenage angst.
When Ronnie meets a fellow black-clad, pierced girl with the lovely nickname Blaze (Carly Chaikin), she begins to think the summer just might be bearable. They hang out sharing sullen looks at the Shiny, Happy Beach People and stay out late with Blaze's scum of a boyfriend. All the while Steve and Jonah enjoy their Summer of Americana Fun.
But then Ronnie warms to the advances of Will (Liam Hemsworth), the beach volleyball-playing mechanic she initially despised for being too hunky and happy. When Ronnie's aversion finally turns to ...