Prayer Focus
Movie Review

A Walk to Remember

MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, language and some sensual material

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Romance Drama
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE
Relevant Issues
Scene from “A Walk to Remember”

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.

Starring: Mandy Moore, Shane West, Peter Coyote, Daryl Hannah, Clayne Crawford | Directed by: Adam Shankman | Produced by: Denise Di Novi, Hunt Lowry | Written by: Karen Janszen | Distributor: Warner Brothers

“She didn't belong. She was misunderstood. And she would change him forever. It all comes down to who's by your side.”

Just when you think that Hollywood has forgotten how to make a decent teen flic—they go out and surprise you. “A Walk to Remember” is an excellent start for the film release year of 2002. I was initially skeptical when I read early on that Director Adam Shankman (“Scream 2”) was going to direct the popular Nicholas Sparks’ novel of the same name. My skepticism was furthered by the fact that Sparks’ novel had been moved from the 50’s to modern day and that popular MTV artist and talk show host, Mandy Moore, had been given the lead.

Remember Mandy? She played the shameless cheerleader in “The Princess Diaries”. Adam Shankman, Mandy Moore, and a great performance by Shane West deliver an excellent movie for this generation of youth. I almost thought “Walk” could pass for a production by Billy Graham’s World Wide Pictures instead of Warner Brothers.

A warning: you’ll need to ignore the negative views of the critics on this one. One popular critic’s views I read showed that he was very upset, saying “Hollywood did not have the right to preach to us.” Does this mean that Hollywood does have the right to give our youth strong doses of violence, glorified drug and alcohol use and irresponsible sex? Where’s this reviewers consistency? As a committed Christian, I found it very refreshing that we could watch a “good” movie that strives to bring out the better side of everyone.

Our story opens like most teen films with the party crowd being glorified. It looks like they are the popular clique that America’s youth would long to hang with. From fast cars to careless boundaries, we see this gang engaging in your typical late night dare for acceptance. The problem is the dare goes too far and Landon Carter (Shane West) becomes the recipient of some unusual penance. He must help the janitors after school, spend his weekends tutoring Jr. High students, and be a part of the school’s drama club. Not a terrible alternative to a simple suspension. His punishment moves him from the world of being shallow to a world that will help him find himself.

Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore) is the daughter of a local minister. Your first thoughts could be “here goes Hollywood picking on creating a stereotype of a poor repressed/religious girl who meets a cool altogether guy.” Jamie dresses plainly, loves star gazing and even (don’t faint folks) shares quotes from the Bible. Her character proves that uncompromised faith can impact the beliefs of others. Jamie resists peer pressure and does not allow her opinion of herself to be guided by others. Jamie’s father (Peter Coyote) is firm, but also has an open mind. The character of the minister is strong in and out of the pulpit. Some excellent dialog helps to shatter the usual minister stereotype.

In so many ways this film stands head and shoulders above the rest of the films in this genre. There is the tender romance shaped by respect and values; the powerful spiritual principle of forgiveness; and the steadfast dreams of a young girl who longs to see a miracle, then exclaims “maybe God has bigger plans for me than I had for myself.”

Producer Interview
Mandy Moore and Shane West in “A Walk to Remember”
Hunt Lowry talks with Christian Spotlight about “A Walk to Remember” and some upcoming projects… [Read It]

Love and Dating

Yet, this is not the perfect “…Walk…”… it does have some mild profanity and religious exclamations. Also, some of the scenes were a bit strong for a “PG” film, but, overall, this is a movie to remember. My question is this: will the dulled MTV crowd buy into it? While its opening weekend was strong, (I was in a packed theater with lots of teens in the audience), much of the crowd laughed and made fun of the film. I can already see a shameless parody coming (“Not Another Teen Movie 2”?), but the message is inescapable. I strongly encourage parents and Christian youth to support this film. Let Warner Brothers know that you would like to see more movies like this one. We long for good films for our youth—well finally, here’s one on the right track!

Viewer Comments
Positive—My husband and I are 50. We needed a good “date” movie. We loved a Walk to Remember and believe other adults would enjoy it as well. It would make a great “witnessing” vehicle if teens were to take their unsaved friends.
My Ratings: [Good / 4½]
—Sharon, age 50
Positive—I would highly recommend all the moms… and yes dads to take their daughters to see this movie. I went with my 16 year daughter as a girls night out. I am so glad I did. There is a bit of crude remarks from some of the teens but quite honestly this is the way most teens act in real high school… What did my 16 year say? Well, she said true love is not selfish. She is just dating a Christian young man and this really put things in perspective. Love is not just about sex… its about so much more. I cried. She cried. Everyone in theater cried. Yes, it’s that good…
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 5]
—Virginia Orona, age 40
Positive—Though the language in the beginning is offensive its real in that it is what is common place and acceptable in public and private school amongst kids—so from my kids perspective they stated it portrayed things realistically so it was norm. I write only because I have 9 kids from age of 20 to 5 months—I took all but the 5 mon and we all were [put] off by the language but we all cried at the end—my kids (all eight) have lived thru a divorce or a loss of a mom so they all related to the story. We all had a great talk afterwards. My wife and I watched it Thursday and took the kids Friday—best hundred I spent on a movie this year. And that is not very often at all. If you have a 12-15yr old wanting to see a relationship built then this movie helps you understand [how] different people work and think—it also shows how God in a person attracts the unbelievers—I do believe that you need to be equally yoked—my kids have been taught that and prayed over from the young age for their godly spouse…
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—DadOf9, age 35
Positive—My aunt had seen A Walk to Remember with a friend of hers and thought that I would really enjoy it, so we walked into an afternoon matinee. At first I was totally turned off by the vulgar unchurched teens, but by the end I realized what a powerful experience it had been, and what an excellent collection of moral lessons can be found throughout the film’s moving transformation into a sad but positive climax. Like another favorite film of mine, Les Miserables, there are some problems, which other people have commented on [here]. But the end result is worth a few moments of uncomfortableness. Additionally, the film is beautiful from a visual standpoint, and Mandy Moore’s singing part in the play is utterly breathtaking. That girl has talent… and what makes it so great is that this film not only showcases that, but also is a wonderful example of what Hollywood is capable of… for the side of good. Just one thing more—pack a box of tissues. You’ll need every one.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Charity, age 18
Positive—How does a down-to-Earth Christian girl change the life of a worldly, self-centered, popularity oriented, trouble-making boy, who wouldn’t ordinarily give a girl like her a second thought? Landon Carter gets himself into some trouble and part of his punishment is to perform in the school’s spring play, opposite this very girl. He ends up needing her help, so his attention is turned. Once he is paying attention to more than “outward appearances” Jamie Sullivan’s strong, confident faith in God, in spite of less than perfect circumstances, shines through and she has his attention! Then, little by little she begins to share her dreams with him and he is inspired to think about deeper things than where the next party is and whom he can make fun of next! Once he starts thinking about deeper things, he begins to try to set things right with certain people. He’s not very good at it at first. He’s not used to being humble. When confronted with some disturbing circumstances, he begins to think more deeply about God.

The words to the song playing while he’s driving and thinking say something like, “When I am confused, in You I find my peace” and you see his countenance change from angry, to peace, to tears of joy. No, the movie doesn’t talk about conversion. Yes, there is some bad language. But in my opinion, anyone who can’t see the stark contrast between the foul-mouthed, shallow person he was and people he hung with and the thoughtful, kind, confident, peaceful person Jamie was, isn’t looking and doesn’t want to see! The contrast had to show clearly in order to make the comparison! Jamie and the change in Landon end up affecting some of Landon’s old friends, before it’s over. I think this movie was wonderful and that we should encourage others to see it. So often Christianity is made to look weak or foolish. This one doesn’t in any way. We ought to really be thankful for that!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Polly, age 47
Positive—I for one went to see this movie because of Mandy Moore. She has a voice that is incredible and while she is a teen star, she keeps herself free of the tainted lives of so many others. The character Jamie Sullivan is, I believe, very much like Mandy in many respects which is what makes it work so well. Overall, the movie is terrific. For once there is a movie without perversion, drugs, sex and violence and “Wow” it’s really good. I would recommend it to everyone and I hope that all of you out there see it. That way Hollywood will get the message to do it again and again. Hey, we live in an imperfect world with a crumbling value system in our country. Movies like this and songs like “Cry” and “Only Hope” could be just the shot in the arm our teens need to allow them to feel that they are experiencing teen life, and yet are actually having their beliefs reinforced. I give the film the highest rating possible.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—xcaliber_knight, age 35
Positive—This movie A Walk To Remember was awesome. I went with a bunch of friends both guys and girls and it wasn’t uncomfortable to be with them like some other movies. It was very sad at the end but it was all in all an excellent movie.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Bianca, age 18
Positive—“A Walk to Remember” is a great movie. It is a story about how a girl with evil all around her stands for God and isn’t afraid what others think. This movie will make you cry—being happy and sad at the same time. It is great quality. However, I found an objection in that Jaimie (Mandy Moore) marries a non Christian. I know it implies that he is a Christian in that his life changed, so maybe he is. But anyway, I believe that they should have shown it on the screen.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Melissa, age 16
Negative—It was hard for me to pick whether to label this film positive or negative. As a Christian, I found a few things strange. The marriage seemed strange to me all though he wanted to fulfill her dreams we are seeing Jamie and her dad compromise—II Cor 6:14. Although Jamie’s dad is a minister he is portrayed in the beginning of the movie as a mean anti-social. His living room and study are dark in the beginning of the film but lightened up at the end. It seems that the dad is the one that was transformed in the movie by allowing her daughter to date and mary Landon. In one scene when asked if she is afraid Jamie responds “to death.” With as much faith the character has the answer seemed to be surprising. (Matt 8:26, Lk 12:7, Lk 12:32). At one point when she was in bed giving Landon a book she said “Don’t worry, it’s not a Bible.” The audience around me laughed. It seemed to give the wrong message of giving a Bible as a gift and even a compromise on the value of the Word…
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
—Mike C., age 28
Positive—I am a stay-at-home mom. I took my daughter and two of her friends to see “A Walk to Remember.” They are all thirteen and love God. I had major reservations about seeing the movie with them, but I am truly grateful that we went. It was good for them to see that the more boys grow to love God, the better men and future spouses they will be. Also that girls should be themselves, because Christian women are spirited and beautiful. I have not read the novel, but I appreciate that Nicholas Sparks knew we might guess what would happen to Jamie and Landon. I salute him for the surprises along the way and for keeping me from guessing what the walk to remember actually was. As for negative moments, although Landon did not state that he had become a Christian, the scene where he cries as he drives seems to symbolize his great struggle with God, and then his acceptance. Did you go out and tell everyone when you accepted Jesus? I didn’t, not right away. Jamie wanted a miracle and I think God accomplished it…My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—S. Reed, age 43
Positive—As today’s movie market overflows with big budget, action packed, special effects driven money, making machines—movies that emphasize morality in any form have become increasingly rare. A Walk To Remember is a breath of fresh air long overdue. In all fairness this movie isn’t a Christian movie. There are a handful of obscenities and mild sexual references by non-Christians which in my opinion is an accurate depiction of the world we live. People curse and make off color jokes, deal with it. What I appreciate about this movie is the fact that the Christians (star Mandy Moore and father Peter Coyote) are not depicted in the usual bible “forcing”, homosexual hating, head in the book dogmatics that Hollywood has become accustomed to showing. These Christians are of a different type. They stick to their beliefs without forcing them on others. They make decisions based on God’s Word and not societies peer pressure. Their light shines! The movie is not preachy and there are no conversions but again “it’s [not a Christian movie]”…
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3]
—Michael Richardson, age 25
Positive—I just saw this movie last night, and I really enjoyed it… even though I was practically sobbing towards the end. I really hope that Hollywood will continue coming out with movies with encouraging Christian messages. I was really skeptical of the movie at first seeing that Mandy Moore was starring, and how the pastor was portrayed. Some of the ways scripture and “the strong moral message” was integrated into the scenes were a bit corny and not smooth. But I was really glad the morals were present. The swearing didn’t phase me, but I assumed before seeing the movie that there wasn’t going to be any making out. Although there wasn’t tons of kissing going on, I thought some of the kisses were unnecessary.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Lin, age 15
Positive—“A Walk to Remember” is a refreshing look at a truly Christian worldview, and how it can affect the world around it. The main character, Jaimie Sullivan, lets her faith lead her through lifes joys and trials, always acknowledging that God’s plan for us is best, whether we understand it or not. It is good to see a movie deal with a good, and obviously Christian, role model in such a positive way. This movie deals with human sensibilities in a real way. Christians will see that faith lived can affect those we interact with, even though they initially reject it. It deals with love and hate, misunderstanding and acceptance, sin and forgiveness, and ultimately, repentance and redemption. There are many positive elements in this movie that the world needs to see expressed more often. While there are several scenes in which foul language and even some crude gestures appear, they help to demonstrate the cavern between our human sin and the grace that God gives.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Chris Coppa, age 36
Positive—I am very glad my daughter and wife wanted to see this movie, it was a very enjoyable move! I would say for at least 10 and above depending on your personal beliefs. There are about 5 “a” words and 5 “s” words which will be clearly heard. Too bad—they were not really needed. Keep in mind that this was about a crude rich popular guy slowly falling for a minister’s daughter, (Mandy Moore who played a wonderful part!}. I understand the directors need to show how far off this boy was. The first 5 minutes are the worst as you see the worst of the crowd he runs with. Nevertheless, you see his transformation to a wonderful young man because of the faith the minister’s daughter puts in him. It teaches a valuable lesson, kids need someone who believes in them, they are crying out for it because most parents are too busy! It is very touching in parts and the strength of this boy to take ridicule from his old friends to stand by (Mandy Moore’s character) is one of the highlights of the movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—D. Hobbs, age 50
Positive—There were a couple of crude remarks and gestures tossed in, but not so many as to make the conscious moviegoer uncomfortable as some of Hollywood’s latest creations do. My only complaint about it was that the movie seemed to move slowly through the plot and then ran in fast-forward at the end. Overall, I enjoyed it and will probably recommend it to my friends and the youth at my church.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Jenn, age 23
Negative—“A Walk To Remember” did have several good qualities including the noticeable difference between the Christians and the non-Christians in their actions and attitudes. Mandy Moore did a good job portraying an outcast girl that had faith. Even though the entertainment quality of this movie was good, there were several things that overshadowed the good values in the movie. The first being that profanity was scattered throughout. The second being that Jamie (Christian girl) marries a non-Christian guy. This is clearly in violation of scripture. Ref. II Cor. 6:14-18. Even though the guy she marries changes throughout the movie and has “faith”, his faith is not in God for salvation. Due to the language and bad example for a relationship of a believer, I cannot recommend this movie for families to see.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Brian S., age 20
Positive—I had read the book “A Walk To Remember” and couldn’t wait to see it in theaters. When I did, I was not disappointed. The acting was good, and the overall theme was too. The only objection some people may have is the language. The music was great, and the soundtrack features a few Christian artists such as Racheal Lampa and Switchfoot. This movie was definitely worth my money and I would see it again… it had many positive elements and I think that many people would find it enjoyable.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Tara, age 18
Positive—I really enjoyed “A Walk to Remember.” As a Christian teen girl, I could really relate to Jamie. There were scenes that the movie could have done without, but it was a great movie overall. The movie positively displayed Christians, although I wasn’t too happy with the Reverend in the beginning. Mandy Moore did a wonderful job of playing a Christian. The only problem I had with the movie was the sexual references. I was very happy that Jamie, and Landon did not have sex, and that he respected Jamie and her decisions. Overall, I thought it was a great movie. I would see it again.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
Positive—I really enjoyed this movie. There are real positive things that are expressed throughout the movie. It shows how ones faith can make you and someone you know a better person. It is a real good movie and I would suggest to go see it. If you do make sure and take some tissues though.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Amy, age 16
Positive—I really loved this movie. It seemed to have a very good message about falling in love for the right reasons, not the wrong ones. It has been called a teen movie several times, but I object to that notion. It seemed to me to be a very deep movie that I know for a fact touched many people’s lives that just happened to be between teenagers. The only relevance that it has to other teen movies are simply because that is what real high school life is like. Unlike so many Hollywood movies today, it did not use sex or things along those lines to pull in the audience and it didn’t need to hide behind major special effects to cover up a bad plot. It was a genuinely good movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Carla, age 14
Positive—“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”—1 Corinthians 13:4-7. | I had seen the previews and I had no idea what this film was supposed to be about. My friends invited me to see it and I was expecting another typical teen-love story. The beginning made me a little unsure what it was going to be like, but overall it was a very good movie. I give applause for Hollywood, because this was a rare film of its kind that actually mentioned God and used Him for a purpose throughout the movie. Even though there were a few objections, I was very surprised and satisfied with this sweet and inspiring movie. I would recommend this film for teens and others, who could learn a lesson a two from it. Now I feel I should read the novel, if there is anything the movie missed!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Lindsay, age 14
Positive—When I first saw the previews of this movie, I thought it would be interesting to see. So, I went to the theater but I was very surprised what I found out: the movie was sold out! As I watched “A Walk To Remember,” I thought it was an excellent movie. There was only one little objectionable thing and that was there was a bit of swearing. But by the middle to the end, none was heard. I found this movie inspire me to become a better person and not always do what the “cool” thing is, but the “right” thing, and that it can be very rewarding. I recommend this film for young teens (and older) who need some inspiration and help get their problems off their mind. Oh, by the way, Mandy Moore and Shane West were great!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Olivia, age 14
Positive—I saw a walk to remember with a friend of mine who just became a Christian. We both loved it. This is a great movie. Maybe some adults would find it’s a bit too “teenager” for them, however, it’s NOT your average teen movie. This movie has a different message than most. I watched it, and felt that if I was good and honest and faithful to the Lord, eventually I’d end up in some type of relationship. And even if I don’t, I realised, it’s very beautiful to stay pure and not try and win love by dressing like the Britney’s and such. It was a really good movie, [even] if you’re not a Christian. Great love story. The guy in this movie is VERY cute. I’d go see this movie again, with my friends or my family. it was awesome!
My Ratings: [Good / 4½]
—Alicia, age 16
Positive—“A Walk to Remember” was an overall good movie, with a positive message about Christians and having faith. Although I didn’t like the bad words some of the characters said, it was not nearly as bad as most of the other teen movies out there. It portrayed the main character, who was a Christian, in a very positive light. Jamie (the main character) is a positive role model, and the movie has lots of good messages about forgiveness and faith. Although there were parts I didn’t agree with, I feel like this is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It’s not one to miss out on!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
—Nicole, age 16
Positive—I think A Walk To Remember is a great movie! It is especially good for teens because they can relate to the situations. The movie does have some cuss words in it and a few crude jokes, but they are things that teenagers hear and say at school. Those words did not need to be in the movie to make it great, but they do cause the movie to be more like reality. This movie does not encourage drugs or sex. The references to God and Christianity are correct, although they do not show that you need more than love to make it to heaven. The message of this movie is that if you give people a chance, they can change for the better. This movie gives me hope for my friends who need to change their lives around and it causes to me to want to be deeper in my faith.
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 5]
—Jaimie, age 17
Movie Critics
…Christian worldview with solid moral elements, including strong abstinence message… however, the most disappointing thing is the Romantic notion that, somehow, human love can conquer what’s bad and “save” someone from immorality…
—Bruce Donaldson, Movieguide
…Strong Christian elements, including Bible readings about love, are included without seeming overly preachy. And although a few crude sexual comments are made, no sex scenes are shown. Unfortunately, almost a dozen obscenities are heard…
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…It’s time for the “critical” audience to put its money where its mouth is. Warner Brothers has taken two major risks recently with PAY IT FORWARD and now with A WALK TO REMEMBER. They are trying to give the concerned audience what it wants and WB is to be commended for doing this… Should you go see A WALK TO REMEMBER? Sure. Will you be inspired? Probably. Is it a great movie? Well, no it isn’t. But the next one might be!…
—Rose Pacatte, Pauline Center for Media Studies
…non-explicit, sexually related comments… gestures and movements… Some making out…