Shades of bullying and ostracism are outshined by love, faith and identity.
I felt the tone of the book it was a little too preachy and Landon’s final decision felt like it was motivated more out of duty than love. Where as in the film, each character was developed so much better. Nuisances and extra parts to the modernized storyline had it feeling much more realistic. The religious aspect had been dialled down, which really let the romance shine. Additionally, I appreciated in the movie how they allowed Jamie to enjoy the climax of the story a little before the ending, it really let the emotion resonate with the viewer – where in the novel the story simply stopped.
I adore Nicholas Spark’s stories, however his narrative style does not match the subject matter. I refer to the writing of Beautiful Creatures or Mara Dyer, where the language is practically melodic. Spark’s felt dry in comparison, and the repetition of the phrases ‘by the way’ and ‘hits you right between the eyes’ ended up giving me a headache.
The movie explored Landon and Jamie’s story so much more. There wasn’t such a clichéd ending either. Where I completely broke down in tears in the film, the book barely had me emoting. I remember when first reading A Walk to Remember over fifteen years ago I couldn’t think of a better piece of literature, but today having a more experienced pallet, it did not stand up to my raves. It may sound like I don’t like the book, when in fact I did – a great light read for an afternoon… I just wish it packed the punch that the movie did.
The title is tied in brilliantly within the novel, and there is a completely different interpretation for the film. Additionally, our main characters Landon and Jamie are different versions. Where Landon is more of an everyday guy in the novel, his screen counterpart (played by Shane West) is a smart-ass rebel. The latter serviced the character arc with much more dramatic flair. Jamie on the other hand was a goody-two-shoes that could do no wrong, that everybody loved for the book, yet in the film Mandy Moor played her as an understated, quite soul with an unwavering heart and unconditional kindness. Again the latter felt more realistic and fragile and was easier to identify with.
I feel like the Landon of the film was driven by his feelings to do more for Jamie – like checking off her bucket list, not afraid of rolling up his sleeves and doing some hard work to get there. In the book that impact was lost – there was maybe a couple of grand gestures leaving the story feeling rushed.
The bullying and teasing dealt with in the book was minor in comparison to that of the movie. Landon really struggles with it in the film, and lashes out, where the reaction in the book felt a little over dramatized. So too, did the reactions to Jamie’s news on the printed page… I much prefer the reveal in the film.
I’d recommend either, the book is soulful and touching; but the film crawls under your skin to squeeze your heart…
So a resounding win for the movie in my opinion!
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