Movie review: ‘A Walk to Remember’ (2002) stars Mandy Moore and Shane West

What happens when a too-cool, drifting teen-aged boy strikes up a friendship with a preacher's daughter? A Walk to Remember is a heart-tugging, modern drama about the search for, and price of true love based on the bestselling novel, “Message in a Bottle,” by Nicholas Sparks. It stars Mandy Moore, Shane West, Peter Coyote, and Daryl Hannah.

A Walk to Remember tells the story of Landon Carter (Shane West), a popular boy in his senior year at Beaufort High, who gets into trouble after a practical joke between Landon and his friends leaves a boy in the hospital. As punishment, Landon is asked by the school principal to do community service, as well as participate in the high school’s spring play. Landon’s participation in community service as well as the rehearsals for the spring play bring him into closer contact with a fellow student who is a minister's daughter, Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore)—a young lady who is sensible and intelligent, and whose self-confidence doesn’t depend on the opinions of others.

When Landon finds it difficult to memorize lines for the school play, though it’s the last thing he wants to do, he asks Jamie for help. Landon soon finds that his blossoming friendship with Jamie opens up a new world to him—a world of ideals, faith, hopes and dreams, hard work and determination. Landon even surprises himself when he finds that he is falling in love with Jaime, a girl who has never hung around with the popular group, and a girl whom his own friends have often ridiculed. Yet Landon cannot help but be drawn to Jaime’s lovely inner qualities like sincerity, kindness, and modesty—as well as to her quiet outward beauty, too.

I definitely recommend that parents view this movie with teens ages 14 and up only, because of some sensual content, and because of the profanity used in some scenes. Though this movie has many noble themes and a great lesson, its subject matter is not suited for kids under 14.

A Walk to Remember is to be praised for the wonderful way it introduces topics like faith, purity, respect for authority, and the pursuit of academic excellence to a generation of young people who are desperately searching for answers to their questions in a confusing world. One touching and noble moment in this movie occurs when Landon goes to the church and asks Jaime’s father, Reverend Sullivan (Peter Coyote), for permission to take Jaime out to dinner. Probably many teen boys today are not even aware of such protocol when dating a girl, but that scene modeled a good example for young men to follow.

Likewise, the way that Jaime kept Landon’s and her relationship pure by maintaining physical boundaries is an example that many teen girls today would be wise to emulate, for their own self-respect and so that they don’t end up in a situation with serious life-changing consequences such as pregnancy out of wedlock, or even the contracting of a sexually transmitted disease. Probably the most admirable theme of all presented in this movie is that true love is proven with a commitment, and willingness at times to give sacrificially to bring joy to the person we love.

A Walk to Remember also offers insightful perspective on the subject of love and loss. Is it painful to lose someone we have truly loved? Yes, indeed it is. Yet with eyes of faith we can see that having experienced both the giving and receiving of genuine love from a special person brings richness and depth into our lives.


Movie Trailer: “A Walk to Remember,” starring Mandy Moore and Shane West

Drama/Romance/Inspirational. Rated PG for thematic elements, language, and some sensual material. Recommended for family viewing, with teens ages 14 and up. 1h 42 min. Warner Brothers Pictures 2002 release, in color, directed by Adam Shankman. Check your favorite online streaming service, movie rental source, or the public library for availability.

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Portland, Oregon residents can borrow A Walk to Remember (2002) on DVD at the Multnomah County Library, tel. 503-988-5234, or place it on hold with the library online.


Author, poet, columnist, and speaker JENNIFER ANNE FABREGAS MESSING of Portland, Oregon, is a wife, and mother of three children. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Christian Education. A past president of the Oregon Christian Writers, Jennifer Anne has over 200 articles, short stories, movie reviews, and poems published in 60 magazines and books, including: The Christian Journal, The Proverbs 31 Woman, LIVE, Standard, Bible Advocate, Christian Fiction Online and Edify Fiction. Her latest book, EVERLASTING LOVE: Romantic Vignettes for a Woman’s Heart is available in paperback and e-book format from Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, and Smashwords. Visit the BOOKS page of this website to order her books.

Copyrighted © 2018 by Jennifer Anne Fabregas Messing. All rights reserved. Contact the author for reprint information. Email:

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