|Guest blogger Calvin Chase
Hello everyone, this is Calvin, CJ’s son, and this is the first in my little series: a single guy reviews chick flicks. On today’s agenda is the 2002 film A Walk To Remember. My parents warned me before watching this movie that, according to critics, this movie would make me cry. But, shrewd analyzer that I am, I shrugged off their warnings with the claim that I don’t cry easily and braced myself for emotional drama. However, when the movie started, the very first thing I saw was a bunch of punk teenagers engaging in… explicit bathroom and lewd humor. My natural reaction to that was to be both surprised and unimpressed, but I settled in and waited to see what direction the film would take.
A Walk To Remember is about a popular high school senior named Landon, who holds a grudge against his father for divorcing his mother, and Landon’s unpopular Christian classmate Jamie. After Landon is involved in an accident that seriously injures a fellow student, the principle threatens to expel him unless he agrees to tutor other kids on Saturdays and participate in the school play. The grumbling teenager accepts these responsibilities, but puts no enthusiasm in his work. Jamie, the local pastor’s daughter who also participates in these activities, tries befriending him and encouraging him to make his life more meaningful. At first Landon rudely rebuffs her kind gestures, but as the play draws closer, he starts to worry about making a fool of himself onstage. Landon therefore asks Jamie for help learning his lines, and she gladly agrees with one condition: that Landon not fall in love with her.
At the time this agreement is made, Landon laughs and says that he definitely will not fall in love with Jamie, but as time passes and he gets to know her, he begins to see something attractive in her. The potential budding romance swiftly ends, however, when Landon’s friends make fun of Jamie and Landon makes no move to stop them. Jamie instantly loses all hope that there is anything good about Landon and refuses to speak with him anymore, let alone help him. Landon in turn realizes he has fallen in love with Jamie and seeks to redeem himself in her eyes by working harder to memorize his lines and tutor the kids.
On the night of the play, Landon does an outstanding job portraying his character, but has a hard time remembering some of his lines when Jamie comes onstage wearing a beautiful white dress. Even so, the play is a smashing success, but Jamie leaves after Landon kisses her at the end of the play. Landon tries to go after her but loses track of her when his father, who’s trying to repair his broken relationship with his son, cuts him off to say how well he did. Landon huffs away from his father with barely a word.
In the days that follow, Jamie continues to ignore Landon, but then Landon’s ex-girlfriend, jealous about the attention he’s giving Jamie, convinces the other popular kids to bully her by posting her face on a pin-up poster and handing out copies to the whole school. Landon arrives to find one of the school jocks rubbing it in her face and stands up for Jamie by punching the bully. After a short fight, Landon goes after Jamie, confronts her, and confesses his love to her. He asks her to go out with him, but even though she also confesses love for him, she replies that she’s not allowed to date. Landon therefore goes boldly before her father, the pastor who greatly distrusts him, and asks him politely but vehemently to let him date Jamie. After a heated argument, Landon convinces the pastor to allow it. From that point on, Landon does everything he can to make Jamie happy, particularly in his efforts to make her list of dreams come true.
Now, up until this point in the movie, I was rather unimpressed. This story wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either; quite frankly it seemed too predictable for my taste. But then, just as I considered falling asleep, Jamie revealed a dark secret which changed my entire perspective of the movie. I’m not going to say what it was because that would spoil the latter half of the movie, but I will say that it made the movie worth watching in the end. Nonetheless, the twist comes late and most guys watching the movie would have fallen asleep long before then. Frankly if I had not been watching the movie for a review, I would have left and watched some anime instead.
This movie is rated PG but could have been PG-13 for cursing and vulgarity. The depictions of Christianity in this secular film seem stereotypical Hollywood at the beginning (judgmental pastor, etc.), but stick with it. This perspective changes as Landon’s attitude about faith improves.
The final verdict? This movie is good for a girls-night-out, but you probably shouldn’t invite a guy to watch it with you. And if he does agree, take it as a sign he really likes you.