When Landon Carter and his friends
Decide to pull a high school trick
Upon a fellow kid, it ends
With that lad hurt, but in one piece.
Then all the cool kids run off quick,
But Landon’s captured by police.
He’s sentenced to do work at school
And tutors kids each Saturday,
He acts as if he’s way too cool
To deal with penance for his crime.
He also helps the school’s spring play,
But treats it as a waste of time.
A girl named Jamie in his class
Does all these things as well, for fun!
A preacher’s kid and lovely lass,
She’s kind and quiet, pure as snow.
Her ways are mocked by everyone
That Landon Carter cares to know.
But when his “friends” can’t help him much,
He begs her help to learn his lines.
She offers Christian aid and such,
But is disheartened by the fact
That, out in public, he declines.
Around his friends, he’s just an act.
The two of them still play the leads,
Who fall in love within the play,
And Jamie’s character succeeds
In winning over Landon Carter.
Her voice blows everyone away,
And, after that, the lad is smarter.
But Landon’s friends do something cruel,
To shame poor Jamie just for sport,
But he stands up for her at school,
Which brings them close but galls his friends.
He asks her dad if they can court,
And, though he’s skeptical, he bends.
But Jamie soon admits she’s sick,
Leukemia will claim her life.
But Landon has the nerve to stick
And woos her every chance he gets
Till Jamie says she’ll be his wife.
He loves her till her bright star sets.
His time with Jamie made him better;
It gave him dreams and lifelong goals.
He’s never sorry that he met her,
Although she vanished like a wraith.
Their love fulfilled their youthful souls
And helped him understand her faith.

A Walk to Remember is a high school love story that, on the surface, may seem formulaic and weepy, but, upon a closer look, becomes a beautiful romance and tale of transformation that is more touching than most. I particularly like this Nicholas Sparks adaptation over his other more well-known one The Notebook because of the morality central to the story. Unlike the out-of-control preacher’s kids in movies such as Footloose, Jamie Sullivan exemplifies so many virtues that anyone who values faithfulness and authenticity should find her attractive, beyond Mandy Moore’s physical beauty.

Landon’s redemption and love for her are also made more genuine by the fact that he shows his love. In contrast to love-at-first-sight stories like The Notebook, he brushes her off at first, but, by the end, his growth as a person is evident. He piles flowers on her porch, respectfully asks her stern father for permission to date, builds her a new telescope, tries to grant her list of wishes, and spends every moment proving his undying affection for her. Even after she’s gone, he remains an upstanding citizen, holding her memory as his inspiration in life. (Compare this with the way Ryan Gosling’s character went sharply downhill without the love of his life in The Notebook.)

The acting is shaky at first, but everyone grows into their characters nicely, and Shane West and Mandy Moore have undeniable chemistry by the end. Plus, it was nice to see Darryl Hannah and Peter Coyote in a different kind of role for them. Nicholas Sparks’s ability as a writer shines with the quirks he builds into the characters, such as Jamie’s list of things to do before she dies, an event that comes too soon. The end is bittersweet but much more uplifting than other films with similar outcomes, such as 1998’s City of Angels.

While the filmmakers had to add in some obscenities in order to make it more than a Hallmark movie or a low-budget Christian film, Jamie’s laudable faith and Landon’s satisfying turn-around make it a movie that’s a tad corny but well worth seeing. Plus, though I don’t care for Landon’s preferred music at the beginning, the film has a pretty good soundtrack, highlighted by Mandy Moore’s performance of Switchfoot’s “Only Hope.” Also, according to Wikipedia, most critics panned the film, but it is the 28th most liked film on Facebook, with good reason.

Best line: (Landon, reading a quote to Jamie from her book) “‘What is a friend? It’s a single soul dwelling in two bodies.’ -Aristotle.”

Artistry: 6
Characters/Actors: 6
Entertainment: 5
Visual Effects: N/A
Originality: 5
Watchability: 5
Other (moral value): +6
Other (language): -2
TOTAL: 31 out of 60

Tomorrow: #301: Independence Day

© 2014 S. G. Liput