A Walk to Remember (2002)

WTR

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Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Tacky, but Inspirational

For many, Nicolas Sparks creates a feeling of uneasiness among men. His stories are typically found alongside an abundance of predictable behavior, unrealistic relationships, and paint an unrealistic image of “the perfect male”, convenient for his female target audience to drool over. However, there are some people in this world that would give anything a chance once, and you may be surprised to know that even Nicolas Sparks can surprise you. Is A Walk to Remember different from his other works? Well it is and it isn’t. Obviously, it’s a romance, but it does have some unpredictable elements involved, which is pretty impressive for ol’ Sparks. For me, his romantic formula actually worked for this film.

Landon Carter (Shane West) is your typical troublemaker up to no good, but from the start, you can tell that there’s something different about him. It’s not that he’s really good; it’s just that he’s not completely lost to the world of darkness…yet. On the other side of the spectrum is Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore), a Christian’s Christian who volunteers, clearly, for everything in town. When Landon gets caught trespassing on private property, he is forced by the school to do work around the community: volunteer to tutor at the junior high school and participate in the spring play. Coincidentally, Jamie does both for fun, and Landon asks Jamie to help him remember his lines for the play, and she agrees as long as he promises not to fall in love with her. However, since this is a Sparks story, sparks fly, transforming Landon’s character from the inside out.

This is one of the only secular movies that I know that does not put down Christianity. Sure, there are plenty of times throughout the movie that Jamie is made fun of for her beliefs, but the movie presents it in a way that says that is a bad thing. In fact, it is her beliefs that present her as an inspirational person, both for Landon and for the viewers taking in the message of the film. These two actors both exude strong personalities, both for separate reasons. Landon had the courage to step out of his zone of comfort to try being good, and Jamie was one of the strongest people in the world…but I cannot say why, because the movie really did have an element that was unpredictable.

This is one of two Nicolas Sparks films that I have found to be unpredictable, along with Safe Haven. I didn’t rate Safe Haven incredibly high, because even now I find the characters to be forgettable, not sustaining enough oomph to remember. Now A Walk to Remember came out 11 years ago, and I can remember almost everything about the film, including the characters. It’s an opposite attracts story with the best characters, it’s a coming-of-age film mixed with a romance. Is it sappy? Yeah, so what, so is life. Part of what makes everyone make fun of sappy love stories is being remarkably unrealistic. While there were over-the-top scenarios in this film, there was just a part of the movie that came off as believable anyways.

It had great acting, the music was memorable, you cared about the characters, and the story starts off typical but moves into something completely different. It was an inspirational movie that shows us that no matter how bad we think we are, or how bad society thinks we are, there is always hope for us to be a better human being, and to have courage to accept change as a positive.

Given, I typically rate Nicolas Sparks films higher than normal critics would, but I usually can understand where they are coming from. For A Walk to Remember, it has received some serious negativity from the critics table, and while I can understand some parts, I respectfully think the general consensus should be at least a little higher. It’s not that bad of a movie, really.

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7 thoughts on “A Walk to Remember (2002)

  1. I’m sorry Dave, but this movie is shite and nothing else but. I like your review, but I can’t agree with what you say. Just too painful for me.

    • lol what? Why is it so bad? Because you want it to be bad – because you look for bad in it while watching? Because it’s Nicolas Sparks? Everyone wants to look for the bad, but this movie had a deeper message, something others like it never have had before, or even since in the last 11 years.

      Anyways, now and then, you’ll find those movies that you either love or hate where I’m going to think the exact opposite, and this is one of them. A long time ago, the review is long gone now, but I had the longest commenting back and forth I’ve ever done – on Sweeney Todd, because I thought differently than everyone else.

  2. I think I understand why people hate Sparks so much. I don’t–but I can’t say that I love or like his works. These are love stories that are way impossible to happen, or if they do, their too strange for real life. It basically elevates the expectations of people in love–which translates to serious shit when that time comes. I like romance movies better when they have a better sense of realism to them, say, Blue Valentine? However, I understand and respect the fact that people watch these movies to get away (coined the term, ‘escapism’ I presume); and that if we hate these movies for the reason that they are escapist movies alone, I think we are defeating the purpose of watching a fictitious story.

    Great review, Dave.

    • I agree with you, armanddc, and it makes sense for escapism. I think a lot of why people hate Sparks is because they are just plainly…getting tired of him. A Sparks movie? AGAIN? People are tired and frustrated with him, and that translates to their eventual perception of the movie – before it even releases. Thanks for the comment

  3. Loved your review! I agree ith you about the message of the film, it has merit. A Walk to Remember is such a guilty pleasure of mine, I just love the whole innocent vibe of it. I get why alot of people didn’t warm to it but sometimes its nice to enjoy something gentle and sweet.

    • Right, this is one of those movies where paying too close attention will rip you away from what the original intention was. Sometimes, you just got to sit back and watch a movie for what it was. I was able to review this now because I have gone by years of just watching this movie now and then…to the point where I know how it made me feel…so all I had to do is pay enough attention to have material to write about. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Pingback: The Spectacular Now (2013) | Dave Examines Movies

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