A Walk to Remember was the second of Nicholas Sparks' highly successful romance novels to be turned into a film. With a convincing cast and captivating love story at its core, the movie formed the recognisable foundations for numerous Sparks films to come. The story is set in the small town of Beaufort in North Carolina. Landon Carter (Shane West) is a popular and cocky teenager who manages to get himself into all kinds of trouble over and over again. Until one of the pranks he is involved in goes horribly wrong and another student ends up in the hospital. Landon is held responsible and as punishment he has to participate in community service after school, which includes starring in the school play. During the rehearsals, he meets conservative and religious Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore), the reverend's daughter, who is the complete opposite of him. Landon starts to realise he will have to take things more seriously, so he decides to ask Jamie to help him. Unexpectedly, he falls for her, hard, and from that moment on their lives will never be the same again. Especially when Jamie reveals a big secret, something that will change Landon forever.

I actually read the book before I saw the film and even though some changes were made (the film is set in 1998 while the book takes place in the 1950s), the movie is a wonderful adaptation of this heart-breaking love story. The film is directed by Adam Shankman, known for films such as The Wedding Planner and Hairspray, but it's also clear Nicholas Sparks made sure to add that recognisable romantic spark of his to it. The two main roles, Landon and Jamie, are convincingly brought to life by West and singer Moore, who have great chemistry together. I was pleasantly surprised by Moore's performance and it's clear she can do more than just sing. The role of Landon seems to have been written for West, who manages to convey the cocky character of Landon perfectly. The film had my attention from start to finish and made me both laugh and cry. In contrast to some other Nicholas Sparks films, this one really made a lasting impression on me and was quite an intense experience. It's a convincing heart-breaking love story about hope and courage; a film that will make you both smile and shed a few tears. In my opinion, it's one of Sparks' best novels and a worthy screen adaptation.

Movie reviewed by Jody Hoekstra

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