Walk to Remember
House Church Central Goes to the Movies

Warner Brothers in association with Pandora. Produced by Denise Di Novi, Directed by Adam Shankman. Screenplay by Karen Janszen from the Nicholas Sparks novel.

An associate and I had both read and enjoyed the Nicholas Sparks novel, but were disappointed when we saw the film. Our main objection was that the action was reset from the 1940s to the 1990s, forcing the screenwriter to come up with major revisions to the plot.

But I recently viewed the DVD and listened to the full-length commentary by Sparks and screenwriter Janszen. I then watched the film again and enjoyed it a lot more. Why? Because the commentary freed me from the novel and allowed me to see that, with Sparks' collaboration, the movie has a completely different plot emphasis--one that our culture needs to hear. The novel presented a love story tinged with tragedy, but the film places its emphasis on the story's redemptive aspects.

Even though the Jamie (Mandy Moore) is the daughter of a Southern Baptist pastor (Peter Coyote), don't view this film for its Christian content. What little Christian substance that may have been in the novel has been further attenuated in the film. The redemptive themes center more on the effect that the Jamie's illness and death have on the other characters--mainly Landon (Shane West) and the many secondary characters that the film introduces. Landon, you see, begins the story as a popular boy mixed in a popular crowd--a cliquish crowd that only values revelry and fooling around. They are all characters with potential who have arrived at a time of life where they can go either way. The workings of the story does a redemptive work on each of them.

The movie does touch on theodicy because of the death of its heroine, but there is little substance there. And the authors greatly abuse Paul's famous Chapter 13 from I Corinthians, even going to the extent of re-writing it (the passage, of course, was never intended to describe the love between husband and wife, but rather the love that Paul wanted to see within Christian fellowships).

If you have not read the novel, I think there is a good chance that you will enjoy the film. Look for the redemptive messages, and I think that you will be rewarded.

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