A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Walk to Remember is a 2002 coming-of-age movie loosely based on the Nicholas Sparks novel. A teen boy is peer pressured by a group of popular teens (who have been drinking and act drunk) into jumping from a high distance into a body of water below, resulting in near-fatal injuries. Before Landon cleans up his act, he drinks and drives. Popular teens in a high school verbally bully the way another teen girl dresses. The movie explores peer pressure and cliques, and characters learn to move beyond such childish and conformist social groupings. It's clear that Jamie is very principled and she shares only chaste kisses with Landon. At one point, she asks, "Are you trying to seduce me?" and he replies, "Are you seducible?" She says she is not and he respects her for it. Landon's best friend is African American, but the character's dialogue is so stereotyped that he seems like the "token black guy" in Not Another Teen Movie. He and Landon have an elaborate special friendship handshake -- including a pantomime of smoking a joint -- and there's an unintentionally hilarious moment when, after an exchange of sympathy and support, they soberly go into their handshake moves. Occasional profanity, including "s--t," "bulls--t," "chickens--t," "piss," "damn," and "hell." Themes of terminal illness might be too much for sensitive kids.
What's the story?
Teen Beat pin-ups Mandy Moore and Shane West star as high school seniors Jamie and Landon. Landon, the glamorous bad boy in Beaufort, spends most of his time with friends, partying and pumping up their own egos. After one of their pranks seriously injures a boy, Landon's sentence is to tutor a disadvantaged kid, sweep up, and star in the school play(!). Landon keeps running into Jamie, a plain, Bible-toting girl who always wears the same sweater and does not care what other people think about her. He asks her for help learning his lines. When he sees her for the first time on opening night, all dolled up to play a nightclub singer (apparently their play had no dress rehearsals), it turns out that she is very pretty. He finds himself drawn to her, and, through her, drawn to a better notion of his own potential.
Is it any good?
There's nothing here that anyone over the age of 15 hasn't seen a dozen times. Tweens may swoon but parents will just see a syrupy re-tread of Love Story set in a Beaufort, North Carolina high school. Some of the overly familiar situations include the plain girl who loosens her hair and turns out to be beautiful, the reunion with the estranged father, and that old favorite, movie star's disease, in which the actress becomes more beautiful as she gets sicker. The direction, cinematography, and performances are barely adequate, but the Beaufort setting is lovely and the movie manages a couple of affecting moments. But A WALK TO REMEMBER is a movie to forget.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether they have lists of things they want to do before they die, and how we can help each other realize our dreams.
This movie was based on a Nicholas Sparks novel. The novel is set in the same town, but is set in the 1950s. Why do you think the movie is set in the time when the movie was released? Would teens be less likely to watch a coming-of-age movie not set in their time? Why or why not?
Did scenes involving peer pressure and cliquish high school behavior seem realistic, exaggerated, or inaccurate compared to teen realities?
- In theaters: January 25, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: December 24, 2002
- Cast: Mandy Moore, Peter Coyote, Shane West
- Director: Adam Shankman
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Book Characters, Friendship, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements, language and some sensual material.
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.