‘A Walk to Remember’ is a faith-based coming-of-age drama that is innocent, sincere, and grounded in context with what it intends to be. Although a bit predictable, the film is further elevated by the great performances of its cast and its well-written characters. While some might see it as a typical tale of teen romance that ends on a bittersweet note, the film serves more as a teenager’s growth from being trapped in his own inner turmoil to finding the true purpose of his life.
Corrupted by the bad influence and peer pressure of his so-called friends, Landon Carter attempts to prank a new student. But this prank does not go as planned and gets the boy gravely injured. As a result, Landon is given a choice by his school principal: he can either get expelled or simply devote all of his time to community service. For obvious reasons, he goes for the latter and that’s when he gets the opportunity to actually know Jamie Sullivan, a school nerd who is the daughter of a local Baptist. Carter despises her and even hates how she keeps rambling about god and faith all the time. But he is tied down to her when he becomes a part of the school play. He asks her if she’ll help him practice his lines and that’s when she casually warns him not to fall in love with her.
At first, behind closed doors, when his friends aren’t around, Landon acts all nice around Jamie and shows her a side of himself that no one else has seen. But when he’s around his toxic influential friends in school, he again treats Jamie as a complete stranger. It takes him a while to realize that Jamie isn’t the one he should be hating, but it’s his own group of friends who have been holding him back all this while. With this realization, Landon goes through a slow catharsis until one day, at the school’s play, he sees a completely different side of Jamie. Landon eventually openly accepts his love for Jamie but his happiness is shortlived. Jamie reveals it to him that she has been suffering from Leukemia for two years and has now stopped responding to treatment. This, of course, leaves Jamie with two choices—he can either drift back to his old life or he can make the best of his limited time with Jamie.
A Pursuit of Faith
When Landon first gets to know about Jamie’s disease, his faith dwindles and he rushes to his father for help. But in these moments of helplessness, he realizes that he must now do everything he possibly can to give her the best possible life while she’s with him. The moments that follow in the film primarily focus on Jamie’s happiness and how she refuses to give up on her faith. She claims that before Landon came along, she had already accepted what God had in store for her. But for once, after falling for Landon, she was being forced to be mad at God. But even after questioning her own beliefs, Jamie manages to get a grip on them. Jamie, until the very end of the film, stays the same. But it’s Landon who completely changes.
It wasn’t just Landon’s friends who shaped him into the rebellious teenager that he initially was. But it was also his father’s abandonment that made him look at the world around him with a pessimistic outlook. Unlike his friends, Jamie showed him that he, too, could be loved and accepted. And this acceptance that allows him to heal from the trauma of his childhood abandonment. Even in her death, Jamie shows him a positive light and this, in turn, liberates him to see the positive in himself. There’s a specific scene in the movie where Jamie tells him mother how he now wants to aim for university. Almost unrecognizable to her now, his mother first questions him and then realizes that her son is not the same anymore.
The Ending: “But our love it’s like the wind. I can’t see it but I can feel it.”
In the final moments of the movie, Jamie passes away and the film takes a time jump. This time jump reveals that Jamie’s words left a deep mark on Landon and he still lives by everything that she taught him. However, Landon still struggles to hold onto his faith in God. In the back of his head, he still believes that Jamie did not get the miracle that she deserved. He believes that Jamie deserved to live with him for the rest of her life.
His grief blinds him until he meets Jamie’s father. Jamie’s father, who once despised Landon, now knows how much he loves his daughter. He opens up his eyes to the fact that Jamie did eventually get the miracle she wanted. “You are Jamie’s miracle,” he says and makes him realize that Jamie always wanted to get married to a man she loved in her home church and he made that possible for her. He gave her the life she always dreamt of. With this, Landon’s faith is restored and he learns that Jamie may not actually be with him all the time, but he’ll always feel her presence with everything that she taught him.
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