I don't know - I'm way too old for a middle life crisis, maybe its the onset of dementia, but this film really got to me. Never in all these years have I come across as beautiful and pure a character as Jamie Sullivan - and to think I gave MTV the flick whenever Britney-clone Miss Moore, started up her song of the month. Call it manipulative, unrealistic, contrived, saccharine, whatever your pleasure - but I absolutely lost my heart to Mandy Moore's character here. Perhaps the deep-rooted protective instinct in my nature, maybe a reminder of what I never found but always desired, but I would be lying if I did not admit to falling totally in love with Jamie, matter of fact that would be an understatement.
An impossible blend of strength, integrity, natural beauty, youth, feistiness, femininity and vulnerability - Mandy Moore delivered a performance so genuine and moving it totally stunned me. She was utterly spellbinding in every scene she was in - which was most of them. I thought her rendition of "Its gonna be love" during the school play was cinematic magic. She was for those moments, every man's dream and the epitome of virginal translucence.
I was impressed too with Shane West's performance who at times was so reminiscent of a young Kevin Bacon somewhere around his FOOTLOOSE days. At times I agree, the film seemed to be headed down THE MAJESTIC path of over-sentiment but I'm sorry guys, I don't care. So long as Jamie was on-screen ripping my emotions apart, the rest really didn't matter! What a stunning performance from so young a girl with barely any acting experience. The mere fact that this flick has pulled an everage user rating of 6.6 would suggest a LOT of people liked it. It blows LOVE STORY totally out of the water. On reflection, it is the film's very simplicity, lack of pretension and strong supporting actors that serves it so very well.
By the way, it does so help being a hopeless romantic!