THE LUCKY ONE
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Caroline
We start out with Logan (Zac Efron) explaining how the smallest things can so quickly change your life.
He is in Afghanistan as part of a night raid, children and women screaming, and men running everywhere. The platoon ends up cornered, and under fire unexpectedly, and a few of Logan’s buddies are killed.
The next morning, sitting in the rubble, Logan spots something in the dirt. He walks to it and picks it up. Turns out to be a picture of a woman that he pockets. As he turns around a bomb goes off sending him and many others flying. When he comes to, a friend tells Logan that three more of the guys didn’t make it. He also says the doctor pulled the picture out of Logan’s pocket, that he (the friend) saw him (Logan) pick it up and that she is his guardian angel. (If he’d stayed sitting on the wall, he would have been killed.) The picture says “Keep Safe” on the back. He says, “She’s not mine.”
At a loud party, he starts asking around trying to find out whom the picture belongs to but has no luck.
His friend tells them that he’s got to find that girl because she’s the only reason he’s still breathing. They’re headed home, so he says to find out who she is. A roadside bomb goes off.
Logan is suddenly in a bus station, startled by kids goofing off because it sounds like gunfire. He walks through a neighborhood home, and his dog recognizes him and runs to him. He visits his sister, and the kids are a little miffed that they don’t get to play their war games. Logan’s a bit jittery. The boys go in to startle Logan and put his reaction on YouTube, but it backfires when he throws one of his nephews onto the bed and starts choking him. The brother runs off looking for his mom, and Logan’s sister tells him that the corps. can help him with this kind of stuff.
He leaves a video for his sister explaining that he’s left, he has a debt to repay and has to go figure things out. He figures out where the lighthouse in the girl’s picture is and heads to Louisiana with his dog.
He goes to a bar and finds someone who knows who the girl is, Beth, used to be married to a buddy. He finds her, and she likes his dog, Zeus. She runs a dog kennel, and Logan tries to talk to her but can’t get the words out, but she gets a call. He says he came to see her, and she assumes he’s there for a job. He goes ahead and fills out the application. He explains that he was a marine and that he walked all the way from Colorado to Louisiana. Beth (Taylor Schilling) thinks he’s nuts, and she tries to get rid of him. She goes to talk to her grandmother, Ellie (Blythe Danner), but Ellie decides to give him a chance. Beth is shocked that she gave him the job.
Logan finds a dump of a house to buy and sets to work fixing it up. He also shows up early for work and starts fixing things up around the kennel. He’s really good with the animals and works very hard. He also fixes up an old tractor to the amazement of Ellie. Beth wonders if he has an off switch.
A cop shows up, and Logan explains to the jerk that he works there. The cop does a pat down, and pulls out his wallet. The guy makes fun of him a bit, then takes off after guessing rightly that Logan is there for Beth.
Beth and her son, Ben, get ready for a campaign party that Ellie is refusing to go to. Ben proudly shows how he got his own tie tied. When they get to the party it turns out that the cop is Beth’s ex-husband and Ben’s father, Keith, and he makes fun of Ben’s tie. He starts giving her a hard time about the new “boyfriend.” Turns out the campaign party is for Ben’s grandfather, a judge in the city. And the judge is just as critical of Keith as Keith is of Ben.
Beth comes in the next day irritated about how Logan just turns up everywhere. Ellie is trying to find out more about Logan, who really liked philosophy in school (which he attended for a year). Beth is trying really hard to put him down, but it isn’t really working, and she’s making a fool of herself.
Beth subs at a school and is offered a job full-time. She doesn’t want to take it.
Logan, on a walk, comes across Ben practicing his violin in his tree house. The kid’s pretty good, and Logan tells him so. Ben didn’t think anyone was listening.
Logan gives Ellie a ride to choir practice. She can’t drive because she’s had strokes. She asks about Logan: He’s 25, had three tours. Her grandson didn’t survive his second. She tries to talk up Beth. Logan doesn’t think she’s so bad, despite the cold shoulder she gives him.
He gets back to the house to put the keys up and finds it empty. He wanders around a bit and finds an old piano. He plays around a bit. Ben hears him and goes downstairs to check it out. When Beth pulls back up, he closes everything up, closes the shop, and heads out. On his way out he stops by to say goodbye to Ben. Ben invites him to stay for dinner.
Ben talks up his mom at dinner and spills all her secrets (ran cross-country, got a scholarship to school, left because she got pregnant). Logan challenges Ben to a game of chess, and loser does dishes. The kid creams Logan. Logan asks if Ben has any other secrets, Ben says Logan’s got secrets: Logan can play the piano. Logan says Ben is great on the violin and to go play a few tunes, but Ben instead does magic tricks for him. Magic was Ben and Beth’s brother’s thing. Beth’s brother died a year ago. He goes to leave, and Ellie gets back drunk. Beth goes to take care of Ellie, but Logan tries to tell her again about the picture and to thank her. He still can’t find the right words, so they say goodnight.
Keith (Jay R. Ferguson) is watching everything.
Later, Beth and Ellie go visit Drake’s grave and leave flowers. Beth remains really sad the rest of the day and goes to town on some rose bushes and tears up the garden in anger. Logan goes and tries to calm her down. She tells the story: A year ago they were told very little; friendly fire was a possibility, so the investigation is still ongoing. She and Drake were inseparable and actually built the wall she had just tried to destroy. They accidentally put a book of hers into the wall. She laughs then cries, and Logan just holds her. She pulls herself together, and he says she has a great laugh. She asks him to tell a joke, but he says he’ll need a few beers before he gets funny.
Life goes on at the kennel. Logan gets really close to Ben.
Keith comes around to pick up Ben and go to a charity baseball game. Beth tells Keith to keep it easy. Keith takes off, and a dog goes after the car. Logan goes right after the dog, and Beth watches the whole thing.
When Keith and Ben get back, Ben has a bloody nose. Keith is proud of him, Beth is afraid because Ben would “run through a brick wall for” him. He gets pissed, and he starts to get violent and grabs hold of her arm. She tells him to let go, but he doesn’t until Logan tells him to.
Logan comes to Beth and tells her that she shouldn’t let Keith do that. Keith was the captain of the football team, and then she got pregnant. She thought after they got married he’d stop dating other girls. That’s why they aren’t together anymore. But he’s still Ben’s dad, so she’s not going to leave. When Logan goes to leave, she asks him when they’re going to go get those beers. She claims to Ellie that it is just a casual date; Ellie isn’t buying.
Beth asks Logan about his tours. His dad and grandfather were both marines. She asks if he enlisted for them. The first tour was for them, the second and third were for his buddies still serving out there. She takes him to her favorite place, her family’s boat. Her parents died when she was a kid, which is why she and Drake were so close. They spent a lot of time on that boat. Logan says they should take her out, but Beth says it doesn’t start anymore. They drive home, but Beth is pretty drunk. Logan’s not so sure she should drive, so they both get out. She says they’ll have to do it all again because Logan never got around to his jokes. They kiss, and Beth tries to leave, but they kiss again. He says she should be kissed like that every day, every hour. Suddenly a cop shows up. It isn’t Keith, but the officer says they were doing 50 through town. They weren’t, and they both know Keith was just trying to ruin the evening for them. The cop tells Beth to get home.
Logan gets the supplies he needs to start fixing the boat and spends his evening getting it fixed. His light goes out, and he heads back to the kennel. The electricity is out everywhere. He claims to be checking on everyone to make sure they’re okay, but he really just wanted to see Beth. They kiss some more but are interrupted by Ben wanting ice cream. She tells him to get a bowl, and they go back to kissing when the lights come back on.
Logan teaches Ben how to row a boat, and then takes Beth for a ride. Driving home from the grocery store, Ellie doesn’t say anything while Beth admits that she (Ellie) was right, but she’s scared that Logan is going to go away someday.
At Ben’s birthday party, Keith is obviously annoyed about Logan being around watching Beth. He follows her into the kitchen asks what Logan is doing at Ben’s party. Keith is pissed, and doesn’t want Logan around. He doesn’t want Beth to see him. Beth says he has no say, but Keith uses his dad’s position as judge as blackmail. He’d say that Beth is creating an unsafe environment because of her relationship with a drifter, and so yes he has a say.
She can’t risk losing Ben, so she tells Logan he’s got to go. Logan says she deserves better than this.
As Logan walks home, Keith pulls up behind him and makes fun of him. He claims he wants to get Logan a job, but Logan doesn’t want to put up with any of his crap and walks off.
Ellie asks Beth if she’s going to let Keith bully her all her life. Beth claims to be doing the best she can.
Beth goes to drop Ben off at Keith’s and shows him that she’s grown a spine. She knows Keith doesn’t want full custody, and everyone knows Beth is a good mother. She tells him to stay the hell out of her life. She drives straight to Logan’s and walks straight into his shower, clothes and all. She stays the day and night with him.
She gets up the next morning and looks around his room at the things he has. She picks up a book that had her picture under it, but she doesn’t see it. She asks him why he came here. “To find you.”
Beth, Logan, and Ben go back to the house and uncover all the old furniture, the piano, and the old pictures of Drake. They are all very happy together.
Ellie says that the choir pianist broke her wrist. Ben says Logan could be the pianist now. He says Ben will have to help him. Ben freaks and runs away to his tree house. Logan follows him and talks to him. He says he needs a buddy there to watch his back, like in the marines. Ben says okay. They practice playing the piano and violin together. Logan is a patient, kind teacher, and helps Ben improve.
Beth and Logan make love again. Keith is parked outside Logan’s house and see’s Beth’s truck in the drive. He’s not pleased and drives off.
Logan goes to church and plays the piano for the choir, after which he and Ben play a duet together. Ben does very well. Even Keith is touched… until he sees how happy Beth looks. As everyone leaves the church, Beth chats with the woman who offered her the teaching job, wondering if the position has been filled. Keith is looking gloomy, and he’s not happy about Beth and Logan’s relationship. Keith’s friend from the bar comes out and says that Logan is the guy who came around asking about Beth’s picture. Keith looks slightly smug.
When Logan gets home, he sees that his house has been broken in to. The picture of Beth is gone.
Keith shows up, in uniform, on Beth’s front porch. He says he’s got to talk to her even though it is really late. Keith says it is strictly police business. He shows her the picture, says he found it on Logan. It was Drake’s. Keith explains to Beth that Logan showed up asking around. He brings up the “friendly-fire” theory, and suggests that Logan is a stalker and says that he’s capable of anything.
Right after Keith leaves Logan runs up to the house. Beth confronts Logan about the picture. He says that he tried to tell her about the picture, but he didn’t know how. She says, “Try telling me now.” He tells her that he just found the picture after a night raid in the middle of nowhere. He says he tried to find who lost it, but no one claimed it. He said finding her picture is like finding an angel in hell, so he kept it and survived a lot of things where he should have died. He says he promised himself to find the girl in the picture and thank her for saving her life. He could just never find the words. She says the picture was Drake’s, and it was supposed to keep Drake alive. She tells Logan to go.
As Logan leaves Ben comes running out and gives him a book. Logan tells him to take care of his mom. He gives him his dog tags.
Beth goes to visit her boat to think. When she gets there, she sees Logan’s tools and checks the engine. It starts right up.
Keith is at a bar drinking, and his cop pal shows up to drive him home. On the way home, he sees Logan and, still drunk, gets out and stops him. He takes a bite of Logan’s apple then spits it in his face. When Logan goes to walk away Keith grabs him. Zeus goes nuts, and Keith pulls a gun on the dog. Logan tries to calm Keith down, but then Keith points the gun at Logan. When the other cop tries to talk Keith down, Keith looks away for a split second. Logan quickly disarms him, unloads the gun, and hands it to the cop. He tells Keith that he’s not a bad guy.
Keith goes to his dad’s, who tries to give him a pep talk. He’s afraid that he’s ruined his dad’s campaign, but his dad tries to tell him that it will all be okay. Keith takes off after leaving his badge on the pool table.
Back at the kennel Ellie says that Logan was supposed to find that photo. Beth is devastated because of Drake’s death, and really upset.
While looking through the chess book that Ben gave him, he finds a picture of Drake and Ben together. He realizes that he knew him as Aces.
Keith shows up at Beth’s, and he says he wants to be a family again. He says he can change. Ellie carefully shuts the door to the living room where Ben is. Beth carefully tells Keith that they aren’t going to work. Keith says he’s going to take Ben for good. He yells for Ben, and Ben takes off outside. Ellie says he’s heading for the tree house. Keith goes after him. The rope bridge to the tree house is really rickety in the thunderstorm. As Beth runs out to go get Ben Logan sees her. Ellie tells him that Ben ran off to the tree house.
Keith’s weight is too much on the bridge, and part of it falls. Keith yells for help as the bridge breaks and he and Ben fall into the water. Keith tells Ben to stay put, but the tree house is starting to go, too.
Logan and Beth show up, Logan jumps in, and Keith says he needs Logan’s help. Keith’s leg is caught, but Logan says he’ll come back and get him. Logan gets Ben to the other bank just as the tree house falls onto Keith and forces him down the river.
After the storm, after everyone has been cared for by the paramedics, Keith’s dad thanks Logan for rescuing Ben. Logan says he didn’t, Keith did.
Logan goes to the kennel to check on everyone. Beth thanks Logan. Logan explains that he came back to give back the picture he found in the book. He says that Drake’s and his platoon crossed paths during the night raid. Their sergeant was called Aces, and he was the one who went to help his fallen man and got shot in the process. Drake didn’t die for nothing. Logan leaves.
Beth comes after him and says not to go, that he belongs there with them. They kiss.
Logan voices that everyone has their own destiny, and he was lucky that he followed it.
He, Beth, and Ben go out on her family’s old boat. Logan teaches Ben how to steer. Ben and Logan salute each other.