*Warning, there are spoilers for A Walk to Remember in this article*
In A Walk to Remember, based on Nicholas Sparks’s novel of the same name, Landon Carter (Shane West) falls in love with the sweetest girl in town, Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore). The relationship changes Carter by inspiring him to pursue things he never believed he could do. Some of these new ambitions include attending medical school and building a life outside his hometown. Sullivan also realizes that Carter is not the delinquent he appeared to be, and that he’s capable of caring for others the same way she does. The big twist in both the film and novel is that once Carter and Sullivan genuinely fall for each other, Jamie reveals that she’s dying from leukemia.
What the critics said…
Overall, I thought what made A Walk to Remember bearable was Sparks’s plot rather than the quality of film-making. The film acting seemed like everyone was just going through the motions, with the exception of a few moments – like the play scene. Even back then, critics were saying that people over the age of 13 will likely be too cynical for this film. This suggests that the emotional connection between Jamie and Carter was dramatized and not realistic enough to relate to the viewers. Today, I think the criticism would be the same, if not worse.
Why Carter and Sullivan’s romance isn’t the standard anymore…
After going through 2 decades of romantic comedies, I’d expect people to have tested romantic love to the point where they are more cynical of it than before. Instead, many continue watching The Bachelor. Even if people still believe in romantic love, a romantic relationship doesn’t feel as necessary anymore – especially in high school or college. For one, there are so many potential partners around you. Secondly, dating apps help find people beyond those you see in your daily routine. With plenty of fish in the sea, it seems pointless pursuing someone for 3 months when you can quickly match with 30 people like them on Bumble or Tinder. If anyone’s wondering why high schoolers or college students don’t look at their crushes the same way Landon looks at Jamie, that’s probably why.
Even with all the options out there, I hope people continue searching for intimate relationships. I think it’s much easier for those to be fulfilling in the long run. In A Walk to Remember, the intimacy between Jamie and Carter should be an ideal to strive for rather than something to brush off as unrealistic.
Is the film up to par?
Overall, I’m glad that Netflix released this film since it brings up romantic love and its importance. But unlike Dark Skies, this film has too many criticisms for me to recommend it to others. If the film’s not up to your standards, I’d suggest reading Sparks’s novel instead.