Making the Grades
A Walk To Remember doesn't stray far from the typical teen path when it comes to characterization. Landon Carter (Shane West) is a handsome bad-boy with an ex-girlfriend unabashedly marketing herself to get him back. He hangs out with a tough crowd of truants who get their kicks by pulling pranks on their peers and harassing Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore) the Bible carrying class reject clad in a frumpy sweater.
Life is cool for Landon until a dare goes wrong. While lying to elude police prosecution, he is instead sentenced by his principal to be part of the school's upcoming play. Unhappy about it, he doesn't use any sugarcoating to let the troupe of amateur actors know how he feels... especially Jamie.
But with opening night looming closer, he starts to panic. Well out of his friends' sight, he asks the preacher's daughter for help with his lines while refusing to acknowledge her at school. And although she may be willing to overlook his mistakes, her pulpit-pounding father (Peter Coyote) doesn't feel the same way. In a very uncharitable tone, he lets the boy know exactly what he thinks of him.
However, this is where A Walk To Remember takes a turn down the road less traveled, at least for teen movies. With some content issues and plot-holes big enough to mire a school bus, this film still portrays some refreshing changes. Jamie does get prettier as her relationship with Landon blossoms but she doesn't lose the dowdy sweater... entirely. With a self-written list of goals to accomplish, she doesn't cross the line even when Landon makes the move her daddy warned her about. Initially repulsed by her faith, Landon begins to admire her direction in life and even more, her belief in him.
Now I'll admit this is a chick flic (and a possible redemptive date night for all you guys who've taken your girl into the latest string of war movies). But unlike the quick sex and make-up magic promoted so often, this is a story about what love could be... whether you're dating or married.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about A Walk To Remember.
Jamie made a list of things she wanted to accomplish in her life. What kind of life goals would you put on your list?
Seeking and granting forgiveness are themes that run throughout this film. Can you list the characters that either said they were sorry or forgave someone? Did you feel differently about the characters afterwards? Is apologizing or forgiving easy?
In many teen movies (such as She’s All That and The Princess Diaries), characters have to change their outward appearance before they are considered acceptable. How did Jamie change when she fell in love with Landon? What kind of changes did Landon make? Were these changes external or internal? What motivated the transformations and who benefited from them?