Inspired by Nicholas Sparks’ sister, Danielle Sparks Lewis, who died of cancer in 2000, A Walk to Remember is a film based on a novel by the author. The movie was released in 2002 while the novel was published in the year 1998. The movie stars Shane West and pop singer Mandy Moore. Directed by Adam Shankman and produced by Denise di Novi and Hunt Lowry, the movie brings out the meaning of true love in a whole new light.
The movie begins with Landon who is a popular boy in school. Having orchestrated a silly prank that almost paralysed his peer, Landon is forced to participate in after-school activities such as tutoring the disadvantaged children, mopping the hallways and participating in a school play. Such acts, his principal thinks, would teach him some humility. Then there is Jamie, daughter of the town’s Baptist minister, a humble girl full of compassion and love for others. She is profoundly religious and would not let go off her faith even if it would cost her a few friends. While she decides to help Landon during the course of his community punishment, the two develop a tentative friendship. However Landon is too insensitive to admit this to his friends which hurts Jamie and fills her with embarrassment. Contrary to Landon’s expectations, he finds himself drawn towards Jamie and eventually falls in love with her when the two happen to perform in a school play together. Being a witness to the sudden change overcoming Landon, Jamie gets to see the good side of the brat. The two delve into a relationship, much to the chagrin of Landon’s old popular friends and Jamie’s strict reverend father. This girl has a life-changing effect on him. Soon Jamie discloses that she has leukaemia and she has stopped responding to the treatment. It is now that they are put to test, and Landon and Jamie realize the true meaning of love and fate. Landon now sets on to fulfil every dream of hers and does all that he could do to keep her happy. Through this process, Landon and Jamie learn more about the nature of love. Jamie dies after the two get married in the same church where her mother had gotten married. The movie ends with a very positive note as Landon fulfills his dream of getting into the medical college and becoming a better person. Four years later, Landon visits Jamie’s father. He tells Jamie’s father that he is sorry he could not grant Jamie’s wish to witness “a miracle” before she died. Her father says, “She did. It was you”.
The focal point of the movie remains Mandy Moore who easily slides into the role with a lot of ease. The character is very original and the portrayal has been very well carried out. Mandy Moore sparkles as Jamie Sullivan in her first leading role. Shane West does a brilliant job in canvassing the transformation of a spoilt boy into a sincere and caring human being. The pace of the movie has been just kept balanced which allows the two actors to grow into their characters. The chemistry between them is also wonderful and seems to make the story even more touching.
The songs add to the emotive content of the movie. The one by Mandy Moore, “Hope”, which is a part of the school play is wonderful and contains the underlying message of the movie. Befitting a new film, the sound and image are excellent, with an anamorphic transfer and surround sound. The music has captured the heart of the viewers, winning accolades everywhere.
The entire movie was shot in Wilmington and the sets that have been used could be a little better though it has not really impacted upon the movie in any concrete way.
The movie was subjected to a lot of criticism, probably because it was being considered a teen flick, too unrealistic in today’s world. It was a modest hit in the U.S.A. Nonetheless, it paved its way into the hearts of not just the teenagers but all those who believe in the miracle of love. It carries with it a freshness and sincerity that can wind its way into many hearts.
The screenplay has been handled effectively and the cinematography has been undertaken using warm and earthy colours.
Some scenes are really moving with a very high quotient of emotional content. However the director has kept the movie lively and aloof from the shades of gloom as even after Jamie’s death there is a sense of positivity that is reflected. It succeeds in conveying a very sacred message about love and a new life that comes with it. Jamie gives Landon a new life by bringing out in him, a sober caring soul sensitive to human beings. Unlike before, he realises his dreams and achieves his ambition as he decides to live his life with the memories of his beloved.
Another worthy point about this movie is that it has a subtle religious touch to it. The re-iteration of the undying faith of the girl in God and humanity has been delicately woven with the love that is embedded in the couple for each other.
It would not be appropriate to say that the movie was flawless. It did have a few weaknesses in terms of direction as well as in the depiction of some characters like a very over-protective Jamie’s father. Otherwise the movie has all the requisites of a beautiful romantic movie.
Indeed it is a treat to the eyes!
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