Follow TV Tropes


Film / A Walk to Remember

Go To
Someday we'll know, if love can move a mountain...

A Walk to Remember is a 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 notable are the songs from Christian Rock Band Switchfoot, which was hugely instrumental for bringing the band mainstream success. Also in the cast are Shane West, Peter Coyote, Lauren German, and Daryl Hannah.

The book provides examples of:

  • 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.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Jamie and Landon's story is based on that of Nicholas Sparks's sister and her husband.
  • 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. In the book, she was more matter-of-fact about it.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Jamie Sullivan was blonde in the novel. Here, she is brunette.
  • Adaptational Skimpiness: In the book, Landon realizes how beautiful Jamie is when he sees her in costume as the Christmas angel in her father's annual play. In the movie, this is changed to a formfitting blue silk dress.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Landon's friends weren't mean to Jamie the way they are in the film.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Landon didn't cripple another student with a Deadly Prank in the book, and at worst he was a drifting Jerkass.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: In the book, Jamie is a bit of a Pollyanna who would never dare say a cross word about another person. In the movie, she's more of a Deadpan Snarker who's willing to call Landon out.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Despite the synopsis given above, this trope is subverted. Jamie is not attracted to him at the start of the film, and calls him out on many of his "bad boy" qualities (such as his need to be popular and acting like a jerk to her in front of his friends). It's not until after he drops the act and changes his ways that she begins to fall, too.
  • Alpha Bitch: Belinda, though she is somewhat redeemed by the end of the film.
  • Always with You: "But our love... It's like the wind. I can't see it, but I can feel it."
  • 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.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Jamie never actually looks like she's suffering from a terminal illness.
  • 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.
  • Childhood Friends: Not friends, per se, but thanks to growing up in a tiny town, Landon and Jamie have been in all the same classes in the same schools since they were in kindergarten.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Reverend Sullivan does not approve of his daughter dating Landon due to his bad reputation and her illness. He eventually accepts the relationship and even marries them.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Despite being portrayed as mousy and quiet, Jamie gets some great one-liners.
    • 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.
    • When Landon asks her to help him run lines:
      Jamie: Landon Carter is asking me for help?
      Landon: Yeah.
      Jamie: Okay. I'll pray for you.
    • Calling Landon out for being a jerk to her in front of his friends.
      Jamie (false smile): Like we could be secret friends.
      Landon: Exactly, exactly it's like you're reading my mind.
      Jamie: Great umm... maybe you could read mine. (Slams door in Landon's face)
    • Landon tries to find out what's number one on Jamie's list early in the movie:
      Jamie: I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.
  • Disappeared Dad: Landon's father abandoned the family, and he's still bitter about it.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: During the play, Landon is so taken aback by Jamie's transformation he forgets his lines. He can't take his eyes off her during her solo, and impulsively leans in to kiss her as the curtain falls.
  • God-Is-Love Songs: Jamie is a fan of this type of music. Landon initially dismisses them, even changing the radio station in her car when she gives him a ride home and Eric later mocks him for listening to it.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Landon helps Jamie complete a few things on her "list" including being in two places at once (straddling the state line).
  • Happily Married: Jamie and Landon. Even though they only had three months together before her passing, he admits that they had "more love than most people know in a lifetime."
  • Heel Realization: Landon's friends realize they went too far with the flier prank when she has to go to the hospital, and they find out she has leukemia. They come to Landon to apologize.
  • I'd Tell You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You: Landon asks what's number one on Jamie's list. Jamie quotes this trope.
  • Inconvenient Attraction: Played with, when Jamie tells Landon she's dying and tries to break up with him. She tells him that before falling in love with him, she had accepted her death, but now she couldn't.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Landon.
  • 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.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Landon.
  • Last-Name Basis: For reasons unknown, Jamie refers to Landon by his last name until after they start dating.
  • Leitmotif: Jaime and Landon have a theme playing for different occassions.
    • "The Kiss" - played on guitar.
    • "Star Gazing" - duet of guitar and piano, representing Jaime reciprocating Landon's feelings.
    • "It's Not Funny" - piano only played in major key.
    • "Jaime in Hospital" - Dark Reprise of "The Kiss" counterpointed with sad violin.
    • "God's Bigger Plan" - played when Jaime gives Landon her mother's bible and accepting her eventual fate.
    • "They Wed" - the Triumphant Reprise.
  • Like You Were Dying: The whole movie.
  • Love Redeems: Landon. Before befriending Jamie, he was an aimless jerkass with unresolved issues with his doctor father. After they fell in love, he became a Nice Guy with a passionate love for her who forgave his father and applied for and was ultimately accepted to medical school. One can even argue that their love redeemed most of his friends as well: Eric, Dean and Belinda all apologized to Landon for mistreating Jamie and accepted their relationship, but the former two were even in attendance at their wedding.
  • Manly Tears: Landon sobs into his dad's arms after the latter pays for Jamie's home health care.
  • Missing Mom: Jamie's mother, who died when she was a little girl.
  • 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.
  • The Mourning After
  • 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 swimsuit model'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.
  • Never Trust a Title: There's not much walking in the movie, although there was plenty in the book.
  • Opposites Attract: Jamie and Landon.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Jamie's father starts out the film as a widower, and by the end, has also lost his daughter to cancer.
  • The Pollyanna: Jamie mostly is this; she is a devoutly religious girl who is always optimistic and faces her impending death gracefully.
  • Preacher's Kid: Jamie.
  • Product Placement: Remember the Star Registry? "Name a star after someone"? Well, Jamie gets her own star thanks to Landon.
  • Secretly Dying: Jamie knew about her impending death prior to the start of the film, but hid it because she didn't want anyone to treat her differently.
  • 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.
  • Shrinking Violet: Jamie
  • Statuesque Stunner: Jamie.
  • Wham Line: When Jamie tells Landon she has leukemia.
    Jamie: I'm sick.
    Landon: I'll take you home. You'll be be...
    Jamie: No. Landon! I'm sick. I have Leukemia.
  • You Are Not Alone: Landon asks Jamie if she's afraid to die. She reveals she's afraid of not being with him. He holds her and assures her that will not happen.

Alternative Title(s): A Walk To Remember