In a rare embrace of teen intelligence and philanthropy, mainstream Hollywood tells the story of a Christian North Carolina high-school girl who places personal values above peer acceptance and the rudderless fellow student who falls in love with her. Jamie (pop singer Mandy Moore in an impressive debut) is the daughter of a Baptist pastor (Peter Coyote). She wears her faith on her frock sleeve and slowly earns the respect of in-crowd senior Landon (Shane West) in a shameless, compassionate tearjerker about hope, inspiration and courage. Moore can act as well as sing, and Coyote and a dark-haired Daryl Hannah as Landon’s mother contribute resonant performances. The film is based on the book by Bella Vista High School graduate Nicholas Sparks, who also wrote Message in a Bottle, and directed by Adam Shankman (The Wedding Planner).