Customer Review

97 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful...a Classic in the Making, July 5, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: A Walk to Remember (DVD)
First off, please pay no heed to the critics on this one. They seem to have written it off as just another in a long line of typical teen films, giving it their typical (and apparently recycled) reviews for such films. In their prejudice, they fail to realize the uniqueness of this film, especially in this day and age. Sure, the story -- based on the best-selling Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name -- is nothing new: big man on campus falls in love with misunderstood misfit harboring a tragic secret. The difference here is in the presentation. Instead of the jaded, busy and noisy perspective taken by most teen films, "Walk" is quiet, gentle, full of hope.
The plot is simple enough. Popular bad-boy Landon Carter (Shane West) is sentenced to various after-school activities as punishment for his participation in a prank gone terribly wrong. Consequently, he comes into contact with do-gooder Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore), the preacher's daughter and school outcast. They grew up together, so he thinks he's got her all figured out; but as they spend more time together, he comes to realize that he never really knew her at all. They begin an uneasy friendship that blossoms into more. Along the way, they share some of the most romantic moments ever on film. Sadly, a tragic twist threatens to end their happiness.
The film benefits greatly from its two young leads, both of whom turn in outstanding, genuine performances. West has the difficult task of portraying a young man who undergoes a life-changing transformation from angry, aimless troublemaker to thoughtful, loving young man. His depiction is so convincing that by the end of the movie, you can actually see on Landon's face that he has indeed found inner peace from his prior internal tumult. West is especially brilliant in the school play scene where, without uttering a single word, he manages to display Landon's inner struggle over his feelings for Jamie. Quite a thing to behold. Moore is a revelation here as well. In her first lead role, she has chosen quite a difficult (and beloved) character to play, one that if not done right would inspire snickers and laughter rather than tears and sympathy. It is a tremendously challenging and pivotal role. And Moore pulls it off beautifully. Displaying strong screen presence, she shows acting range that belies her theatrical experience. She imbues Jamie with the ethereal radiance and quiet serenity required of her character (and by the novel). Rarely -- if ever -- will you see a more gentle, sincere and altogether believable portrayal of innocence. Together, these two are magic, sharing a chemistry that is not only natural and warm, but palpable and electric.
As with any film, "Walk" is not without its flaws. The directing could have been better to help in the flow of the narration. The film could have been about 15 minutes longer to sufficiently develop Jamie and Landon's relationship (though I suspect there were many deleted scenes). And it does not entirely stick to the novel. Those who have read the novel will find that there are many differences. Amazingly, however, the film still manages to capture the feel and essence of the book in that it can make your heart full and break it at the same time. Moreover, it dares to believe in faith and hope. It dares to believe in the transforming power of love. It dares to believe that young people are capable of true, intense and everlasting love. And though it happens to feature teens, it has a universal message -- and that message is up to the viewer, for it never seeks to preach.
More than just a love story, "A Walk to Remember" is anything but typical. Ultimately, it is about faith and hope...and living. No superficial make-overs or fart jokes here, folks.
Memorable, indeed.
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