Why The Dad In 'A Walk To Remember' Is Super Problematic

Warner Bros. Pictures

Brace yourselves, as the anniversary of a movie is about to make you feel really old. The Nicholas Sparks classic A Walk To Remember came out in 2002, making it 15 years old. Wow, just wow. Starring Mandy Moore and Shane West, it's one of the most tragic movies, based on a novel by Sparks, ever made. Moore plays Jamie, a high-school girl who cares more about being kind then being cool. Enter Landon, the attractive bad boy, who is forced to spend time with Jamie by performing opposite her in the school play. Sparks fly, and the pair fall in love. There's just one problem though, and that is, spoiler alert, Jamie has leukemia. And Jamie's dad in A Walk To Remember is super problematic for several reasons.

In 2017, audiences are well-accustomed to movies based on the prolific work of Sparks. We know that something devastating is likely to happen to one of the lead characters, and that we will need to go to the movie theater prepared with a bumper box of tissues instead of a bucket of popcorn. And, in true teen movie style, Jamie's dad in A Walk To Remember is over-protective and over-bearing. As the movie progresses, it becomes easier to understand why. As his daughter is ill, Reverend Hegbert Sullivan totally smothers her. Having lost his wife, and Jamie's mother, Reverend Sullivan is particularly strict, but sometimes that's an issue.

While Reverend Sullivan's actions in A Walk To Remember are mostly understandable, it feels as though his rules are stifling Jamie, who should have more control over her own life. As Jamie is living with leukemia, it's natural that her dad would feel panicked and want to protect his daughter. But on the flip side, he should also want her to experience everything that life has to offer, while she still can. Sure, dads are often unimpressed by the guys their daughters bring home, but as a young woman, Jamie should have more control over who she dates. Obviously, Jamie and Landon fall in love, and there's nothing that anyone can do about it.

When Landon first asks Jamie out on a real date, she responds that her father doesn't allow her to date. As a 17-year-old woman, it's pretty hard to believe that she wouldn't be allowed to date. Even the fact that she's ill shouldn't prohibit her from having relationships, if she wants them. It's here that The Fault In Our Stars is an interesting contrast to A Walk To Remember. Hazel's parents initially caution Gus about dating her, but quickly get on board with his relationship with their daughter. Conversely, it takes much longer for Jamie's dad to approve of Landon, and his motivations feel incredibly selfish.

Luckily, Jamie is headstrong, and her love for Landon can't be denied. The Reverend's strict rules are likely, in part, down to the fact that the novel version of A Walk To Remember is set in the 1950s. But if the movie had been made in 2017, Jamie's dad would definitely require an attitude change when it comes to his daughter's love life and personal choices, and support her in whatever she chooses to do.