FOUR STARS - WHOLESOME
Finding our way to adulthood is not an easy journey. For most of us, the most difficult part is the teen years as we experience the tremendous pressure of our peers. Victimized by their demands, we are tempted to either surrender our individuality in order to be accepted and belong or we choose our individuality and experience peer rejection and isolation. In Adam Shankman’s “A Walk to Remember,” this journey is presented with a spiritual authenticity seldom seen in film.
Based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, “A Walk to Remember” is a tale of romantic love between Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore) and Landon Carter (Shane West).
The opening scene demonstrates the power of peer pressure when a group of the popular high school students entice a wannabe member to make a dangerous jump into a shallow pool in order to belong. When he is injured and the police are called, Landon dives in to help him, but both are abandoned by everyone else as they flee from the scene. Arrested and charged with trespassing, Landon’s principal uses this opportunity to change the people with whom Landon spends his time. He forces him to not only volunteer as a tutor but also to be a part of the school play. It is there that Landon meets the mysteriously alluring Jamie who is the leading lady in the play.
The daughter of a minister, Jamie has an inner confidence and intelligence that attracts Landon. But her individuality also makes her unacceptable to Landon’s peer group. A Christian who is nick-named the “virgin Mary” by her peers, her moral purity along with her lack of fashionable clothes makes her unacceptable to the group. This sets the stage for a modern version of the Romeo and Juliet romance except, in this case, it is not the family that rejects her, but his peer group.
The night of the play, as Jamie is transformed by the stage, Landon is captivated by her beauty and adds a kiss to their onstage scene. But when he tries to date her, Jamie’s strict minister-father will not allow them to date until he comes and asks his permission to do so. What this does to motivate Landon to pursue her is vintage romance.
We won’t spoil the film by telling more of the tale but “A Walk to Remember” is a wholesome romantic story with a tragic twist that brings out the best of all who view it. It is a straightforward story of Christian love and redemption that is a rare find in the Hollywood culture of today.