A Walk to Remember is a weepy 2002 romantic drama tragedy about a bad boy and a sweet Christian girl who fall in love and are torn apart when one of them gets leukemia. Everything you can expect from Nicholas Sparks, who wrote the 1999 novel from which the film was adapted.Also* notable for being the breakout acting role of teen pop princess Mandy Moore, who also contributed to the soundtrack. Also in the cast are Shane West, Peter Coyote, and Daryl Hannah.
The book provides examples of:
- Desperately Seeking A Purpose In Life: Landon has this problem.
- Everyone Has Standards: Landon volunteers for the school play when Jamie asks him, though he's not interested, because he does owe her for being his date.
- Letting Her Hair Down: Jamie keeps her hair in a bun for most of the book. She lets it down for her dance date with Landon, and when she stops taking medication for cancer she starts letting it loose more.
- Reality Ensues: Due to the weakness of her illness, Jamie needs a wheelchair when she and Landon get married.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Jamie makes a good impression on Landon when she shows up with her hair down at a school dance, and more so when she helps clean up a student who's sick.
- Stepford Smiler: Jamie sadly admits to Landon with a smile that she's been suffering from cancer.
The film provides examples of:
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Jamie is more anguished about Landon falling in love with her, while she's dying.
- Adaptational Villainy: Landon didn't cripple another student with a Deadly Prank in the book, and at worst he was a drifting Jerkass.
- Altar the Speed: The young couple gets married after an extremely short courtship. Because he knows she's dying, and "getting married at the same church her mom did" was one of the things she wanted to do before she died. Sweet or saccharine? You decide.
- Beautiful All Along: Although she was never supposed to be "ugly" (just plain), Jamie has this moment during the scene in which she performs in the school play; as she takes off a black cape she is revealed in a blue silk dress, along with full hair and make-up for the first time.
- Bittersweet Ending: Jamie died three months after getting married with Landon, but Landon has already changed himself and even states in the end, that Jamie will always be with him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Jamie responds this way after explaining one of Einstein's theories and his faith in God and one of Landon's friends asks that if there was a higher power, why doesn't he get her a new sweater
- Jamie: He's too busy looking for your brain.
- Death by Sex: A variation: Landon and Jamie getting married serves the only purpose of allowing the two to have sex at least once before she dies, without violating her Christian beliefs.
- Grand Romantic Gesture: Landon helps Jamie complete a few things on her "list" including being in two places at once (straddling the state line).
- Karma Houdini: Landon is part of a drunken "prank" that pretty much cripples another student. His punishment is being made to do some community service by the Principal, as opposed to, say, a criminal trial, or at the very least having to defend himself in a civil suit.
- Subverted, though, when he does try to make amends throughout the film.
- Mood Whiplash: The movie starts out all fun and energetic - with the Breeders' "Cannonball" played over the opening credits - and you think it's going to be a typical lighthearted teen romance-drama. Needless to say, that comes crashing down.
- Never My Fault: Before they find out that Jamie has leukemia, some of Landon's friends apparently don't realize that maybe Landon wouldn't like it that they photoshopped Jamie's head onto a porn star's body, and seem to actually be confused when Landon pushes one of them and then slugs him in the face hard enough to knock him to the floor.
- The Pollyanna: Jamie mostly is this; she is a devoutly religious girl who is always optimistic and faces her impending death gracefully.
- Product Placement: Remember the Star Registry? "Name a star after someone"? Well, Jamie gets her own star thanks to Landon.
- Setting Update: The movie changes the setting of the novel from The '50s to 1998.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Jamie steals the stage when she reveals her costume for the play; her stark change in looks makes Landon forget his lines and leads to an impulsive non-scripted kiss on stage at the end of her solo.
- Wham Line: When Jamie tells Landon she has leukemia.