A Walk to Remember (2002)

a walk to remember

GASP! A teenage romantic flick with wit and chemistry!

I will take the stand of Mandy Moore’s character Jaime, and not care what you think of me. I came across this movie back in 8th grade, and despite a girl at my lunch table named Mary who ruined the ending (which I will not), I found myself to really like A Walk to Remember. Even over a decade later, it is still enchanting to me, and even gets the tears flowing.

For those who don’t know, it tells the story of Lance (Shane West), a high schooler who is put on many punishments for a prank gone wrong (being in a school play, tutoring, etc). At all these places he finds Jaime (Mandy Moore), who is there because that is the type of girl she is: the daughter of a Reverend (played by Peter Coyote), who does not mind wearing the same sweater every day.

That they eventually fall in love is obvious. It is the way they get there that is the core of this nearly forgotten film. Lance is a popular kid, but the shell around his heart eventually starts to wither away. Jaime is as kind as she seems, but won’t take disloyalty sitting down either. Moore and West do very nice work together.

Another thing I like about the film is, unlike many other movies based off of books by Nicholas Sparks, the characters don’t seem to find a need to sleep together. I doubt I am ruining anything, for the movie is rated PG (and should be fine for most kids middle school and up). After all, Casablanca did not have any scenes of sexuality, did it?

Recently, I saw the disappointing Me before you, in which the film ends with the characters not standing up for what they want to, and letting others make the choices for them. In A Walk to Remember, the characters seem real, and we feel for their triumphs and their failures. Those they can control, and those they cannot.

A Walk to Remember is one of the most underrated films I can think of.

 

Overall: Four Stars ****

Me Before You (2016)

Me Before You

A nice date idea for the characters in “Me before You”.

I have a hunch that whoever is reading this review is interested in one thing, and one thing only: Did I cry during Me before You?  I can confidently say I did not cry at all.

That is not to say I am not one to cry at certain movies (I did feel my eyes get wet during The Fault in our Stars, a far better film). The problem is that the characters in Me before You make decisions that seem unrealistic to their characteristics (mainly the character of Lou Clark).

Lou Clark (played nicely by Emilia Clarke) is a decent, soft hearted young woman who still lives at home with her parents and older sister. Ever since her parents have lost their jobs, Lou has decided to stay behind to be with them, despite dashing what dreams she may have had. She is dating Patrick (Matthew Lewis), who is more obssessed with running than he is with her.

One day, she gets a new job working for a very (and I mean very) wealthy family. After meeting with Camilla (Janet McTeer) and Stephen Traynor (Charles Dance), she becomes the new care taker of their son Will (Sam Claflin), who was recently paralyzed after a motorcycle accident. Sorry, but no points on guessing whether or not they fall in love.

Clarke and Claflin have fine chemistry as the sweet innocent girl trying to help the hard heart in a wheel chair. Really, none of the actors are at fault here. There is also a few pieces of fine imagery that would work, but not in a movie like this where the story takes every wrong turn possible. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say we are supposed to feel some form of either happiness for a specific character, or some form of sadness. The feeling I felt was more of a betrayal.

Parents, there is no real nudity of any kind, though some revealing clothing. There is some swearing, but nothing the local middle schooler would not have heard. If they saw movies like The Fault in our Stars or The Notebook, then they are fine here.

The movie was based off the book by Jojo Moyes, who also does the screenplay. I did not read the book, and have cemented my status in saying I won’t anytime in the future. There are good romantic films that can make you cry (I already mentioned The Fault in our Stars and The Notebook, but there is also A Walk to Remember, Love Story, and even going back to the Chaplin masterpiece City Lights, though it is more of a comedy). Me before you is far from those films.

I end by saying this is the first movie I ever went to that I was the only one in the theater. I guess others learned about the movie before hand.

Overall: One and a Half Stars * 1/2