Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2002. Warner Bros., Pandora Cinema, DiNovi Pictures, Gaylord Films. Screenplay by Karen Janszen, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. Cinematography by Julio Macat. Produced by Denise Di Novi,Hunt Lowry. Music by Mervyn Warren. Production Design by Doug Hall. Costume Design by Doug Hall, Beverley Woods. Film Editing by Emma E. Hickox.
Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, this treacle centres on the inevitable love affair between a Christian girl (Mandy Moore) who suffers for her faith at a school full of disrespectful teenagers, and a popular jock (Shane West) with no religious bent who at first is disdainful of her but gradually sees her value. He is placed in community service after an unkind prank goes terribly wrong, thus putting himself in the way of this girl who is looked down upon by her fellow students. Through the time they spend together, he comes to see that she is actually quite confident despite being a misfit, and falls in love with her as the story travels in the sappiest possible direction. It’s a well-intentioned little romance, and the kids give it their all, but it also plays on a completely bullshit conceit: Christians aren’t going to get crap for their Jesus freak-ness in Bush-era America; she’s only being made fun of because she wears ugly sweaters, and while that’s not a very nice thing to have happen to someone, the fact that she’s proud of having bad fashion sense because it makes her a better person is just weird. The romance angle requires a lot of patience, particularly for anyone who has ever watched more than one movie.