“A Walk to Remember” opened Jan. 25 to cheering crowds of preteen and teenage girls dressed in their best duds, smelling of bubble gum and other sweet fragrances. Teen pop singer Mandy Moore and heartthrob Shane West, leading actors, fueled the teen craze surrounding the film.
The young stars of the book-turned-movie set the stage for a ride through the complex experiences and emotions of two high school seniors.
Landon is the school’s “cool guy” and Jamie is the daughter of a widower Baptist preacher. Pick a stereotype for either and it will probably fit.
Jamie is the “good girl.” She carries her Bible to class, dresses modestly, does volunteer work and sings in the church choir. She is every parent’s dream for a sweet, innocent Christian daughter.
Landon, on the other hand, drinks, swears, talks badly about people and thinks only of himself.
Although these may not be real-life images of the believer and the nonbeliver, the movie does little to balance the scales.
Landon finds himself in trouble after a prank lands another boy in the hospital. His punishment: tutoring at a low-income school and acting in the school play. This is where he is thrust into Jamie’s world.
He soon finds that Jamie is more complex than he imagined. Her confidence and drive inspire in him a desire to “be different.”
Once he starts to fall for Jamie, his friends reject him and mock Jamie even more. Landon finds himself going through a conversion, but not in the typically Christian sense of the word. Landon is converted by Jamie’s belief in him.
Jamie has her own reasons for withdrawing from Landon, but she cannot resist her love for him. A surprising twist in the story puts their love to the test and brings new meaning to “living life to its fullest.”
It is obvious why this film has been highly marketed to Christians, but once they get to the theater, will they really feel like they have been fairly represented?
Looking past the entrenched Christian/non-Christian stereotypes in this film, one comes away realizing that love can be powerful—even for teenagers.
Jodi Mathews is BCE’s communications director.
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, language and some sensual material
Director: Adam Shankman
Cast: Mandy Moore (Jamie Sullivan), Shane West (Landon Carter), Peter Coyote (Reverend Sullivan), Daryl Hannah (Cynthia Carter)