It’s been 15 years since A Walk to Remember (January 25, 2002) came out and I’m still just as in love with it as I was back then.
The classic love story of the shy girl (Mandy Moore, as Jamie) helping the popular, bad boy (Shane West, as Landon) in school before the two fall madly in love is the overarching storyline for this film, but it goes so far beyond that. It’s genuine. You can feel the connection between the two leads. You root for them, you cheer for them, and you cry for them when the inevitable twist comes and you realize exactly why Jamie told Landon to promise he wouldn’t fall in love with her.
It’s also funny and witty, and you’re happy that the shy girl is also resilient and strong and confident. She’s confident on stage in the school musical with talent to spare, and also confident and funny when standing up for herself and refuses to be “secret friends” with Landon.
The movie gave the quote that is still said today and is a perfect for Instagram quote cards, “Love is like the wind, you can’t see it, but you can feel it.” It gave us a beautiful soundtrack, which included Mandy Moore’s tear-jerking in-film song “Only Hope,” as well as her song “Cry,” “It’s Gonna Be Love,” and a BUNCH of Switchfoot tracks.
It also gave us one of the best movie boyfriends (and then husbands), ever. Landon Carter is hot and a bad boy, and is that way because he has a troubled relationship with his dad. He is sweet to his mom and wants to be better for her. As he becomes friends with Jamie, he starts to stand up for her, and then they grow closer and become so much more. He stands up to his friends in order to stand up for Jamie. He listens to hat she says and what she wants and her dreams for life, and he works tirelessly to make them happen, come true. Naming a star after her? A perfect gift for a telescope-loving Jamie. A butterfly temporary tattoo for someone who wants a tattoo, but not really? ADORABLE. Building a giant telescope day in and day out for her? He’s amazing.
But the sweetest and hardest gift for him to give her and one of the best moments in the movie was when he finds a way to make her dream of being in two places at once a reality. While most might skip over that number on the bucket list, thinking it impossible, Landon accepts the challenge and delivers tremendously. He drives her to the state line, gets her out of the car and walks her over, places her feet in the correct position, and tells her that she’s straddling the state line and is, therefore, in two places at once. I mean, *swoon*.
I’ve seen it countless times. Not an exaggeration, as I’ve seen it over 50 times and have simply lost count. Nor does it matter how many times I’ve seen it, as I could always watch it again, while reciting all of the words, of course.
When planning a movie night with friends, this is always at the top of my list. When meeting new people and talking romance or teen movies, this is always the one I bring up. If they say they’ve never seen it, I gasp, then proceed to make them promise to watch it immediately.
This is my first example on this blog of what it means for a movie to be a Hallmark-esque movie without it being on Hallmark, or on TV for that matter. I’m a Millennial Hallmarker; I love heartfelt romance movies, cheesy or not, but mostly cheesy. I love feel-good ones at that, though that doesn’t always mean the ending is perfectly happy.
A Walk to Remember is a prime example. It’s romance, it’s teen, it’s beautiful and sappy. It’s sweet and happy, yet sad and heart-breaking. It makes me laugh, but also cry. It makes me believe I can do anything, build anything, be anything. It’s a movie that after 15 years of watching, still make me feel all of those things.
That’s powerful. That’s Jamie and Landon. That’s Mandy Moore and Shane West. That’s novelist Nicholas Sparks. That’s director Adam Shankman. That’s screenwriter Karen Janszen. A big THANK YOU to all of them, and all of the bits and pieces that went into making this romantic teen movie one to remember. It’s done such a good job, that not only is it a movie I could never forget, but it’s one that I never even give myself a chance to do just that because I watch it so often.
The early 2000’s were the last years that a large sum of teen movies, with A Walk to Remember being at the top of that list, were being made. As heart-wrenching as this 2002 Sparks flick was, the downfall of the teen movie in the years following is what hurts the most. But, that’s for another time and another blog post because today, on the 15th anniversary of A Walk to Remember, we shouldn’t be mourning the extremely unfortunate loss of the teen movie genre, but rather celebrating the long-lasting love of the teen movies from the times of Mandy Moore, Julia Stiles, Hilary Duff, Amanda Bynes, and Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen.
So, just sit back…
And celebrate today’s holiday by opening a bottle of wine, since 15 years later you finally can, and watching A Walk to Remember for the first (OMG!), second, fifth, twentieth, hundredth, or countless time. Enjoy!
When you’re done reminiscing alone, come back and reminisce in the comments below with your favorite scenes from the movie, where you were when you first watched, and anything else you’d like to share!