Tuesday, July 16, 2002
A Walk to Remember: I got the book. Read it. Loved it. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see the movie in the theaters. The trailers had made me a little wary. It seemed, at first glance, that God had been taken out of the movie. However, I got the movie on Friday and watched it over the weekend -- several times.
The movie is loosely based on the book. The broad strokes are there. God is toned down in the movie, but it's still a great film. Some critics have compared it to "Here on Earth." While there are some similarities -- "A Walk to Remember" is about 100 times better.
It is the first movie I've seen in quite some time where a character who holds sincere religious convictions is not belittled, caricatured or mocked. Jaime Sullivan, played excellently by teen pop artist Mandy Moore, is secure in who she is and in her faith -- a rare portrayal in Hollywood today.
A lot of critics assailed "A Walk to Remember" for being excessively sweet and for its unrealistic portrayal of teens today -- specifically Moore's character. According to Hollywood, when people fall in love, they show it by hopping in the sack. Waiting for marriage is bizarre, if not insane.
I spent some time reading the amateur reviews on IMDB and it was really obvious that people either loved the film or hated it. There were very few lukewarm comments. Most of the critical comments complained that the movie was unbelievable because kids today have sex at the drop of a hat. In fact, one person who wrote a review said that she had read the book and thought it was believable when it was set in the 1950s, but not the 2000s for that very reason.
However, I wanted to quote one review, because it captured what the mainstream doesn't get about Christians today.
I've read some negative comments about this flick coming from European (especially British) male reviewers. Pretty much, what they have to say is that the movie sucks because it is either totally unbelievable or a 'remake' of 'Here on Earth.'
Now, I'm a male, I'm European, and I grew up in Europe. I think I have an idea or two on why European males consider this movie totally unrealistic. Let's get to the core of the issue here.
The plain truth is that Christianity is a mystery in Europe, especially for the new generations. Girls like Jamie Sullivan in Europe are like white flies (even among the evangelical Christians that I know over there!); therefore, when your typical European guy sees this movie, he'll be thinking, `This thing does not make sense…'
See, the truth is that Europeans can relate more to the girl of 'Here on Earth,' who does not have any problem betraying her boyfriend with the main character of the flick, or with the girl of 'Autumn in New York,' who does not have any problem flirting with the male lead after five seconds she's known him (and going to bed with him after fifteen minutes), even though the guy could be her father and actually had something going on with the girl's mother a few years before.
See, those kinds of creepy things are perfectly acceptable in a movie for your average European guy. But, when you see the pure and innocent love story of 'A WALK…,' they say: 'Already done.' Already done? Really? A love story where two teenagers do not go to bed and yet show the greatest intimacy you can see in a movie, where the guy blesses his girlfriend with total love without expecting anything back, just for the sake of making her whole. You've seen this in many movies? Really? Ok, I'll tell you what. Name one other recent movie where you see the kind of unconditional love, purity, innocence, redemption, forgiveness, and spiritual growth (the average European guy will want to look up the words 'spiritual' and 'growth' in the dictionary, since he's probably not accustomed with them) that you see in 'A WALK…' Since, this story has been done so many times, you won't have any problems naming at least one other movie, right? Oh, and please, do not come up with a movie like `Life as a House.' I saw that one, and it falls under the same category as 'Autumn in New York' and 'Here on Earth;' movies that want to win my heart by showing one aspect of love while showing lack of respect for all or most of its other characteristics.
One final word of advice for your average European guy out there: look up the word 'love' in your dictionary. Too many years of European cultural influence might have led you to confuse it with the words 'Lust,' 'Selfishness,' and 'Sex.'
This guy's got it right.
Now there is some cussing in the film, but not much. The movie was rated PG, and there's only one sexually suggestive part in it, but it doesn't involve Jamie Sullivan.
"A Walk to Remember" is truly a unique film -- and one of my favorites. It's not as good as the book, but then nothing made by Hollywood could be. But for what it is, it is a great film.
On a related note: Where are all of the women like Jamie Sullivan? Even at the fairly-conservative church that I attend, too many women wear clothing that is very provocative. It's not attractive. That's not what real men are looking for in a woman. They're looking for strength of character. Intelligence. Self-confidence. Compassion. Grace. Kindness. Patience.