Dear John: Movie Review
Cast: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Richard Jenkins
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
After the Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe and the Last Song, another Nicholas
Sparks book makes its way to the big screen.
This time, it's 2001 - Tatum is John, a US military man on leave, who, one
day meets Amanda Seyfried's Savannah in one of those spring break coincidences
that can only happen in the movies or romantic fiction.
The pair begin an easy and intimate 2 week long romance which is cut short by
Savannah's return to school and John's return to the theatre of war.
But pledging their love to each other, the duo promise to write and keep
their love alive.
However, life has a habit of getting in the way and the romance doesn't turn
out quite like it should.
Dear John is going to appeal to the romantic among you; it's not that I'm not
romantic (honest) it's just that this film failed to register any kind of
emotion in me at all. I was curiously unmoved by the whole thing. Sure clichés
abound (one girl says of another boy -'I'm not his type, he just doesn't know it
yet') and there's sentiment flying left, right and centre in this formulaic
Half the problem lies with the leads; while Seyfried's enough to carry off
the role of the conservative college student who falls hard for John, it's
Tatum's performance as John which barely seems to register any emotion at all
(save for one scene with his father) - his army man is a stereotype, who in one
scene resorts to fisticuffs because he's angry. Oh and he has daddy issues too.
(Although given his autistic father is so wonderfully played by the ever great
Richard Jenkins, you almost forgive him.)
While you can't blame the actors for this (I'm guessing it's part of the
screenplay), it just makes the film feel predictable and disappointing.
The spectre of 9/11 hangs nicely over the relationship and gives the film a
welcome touch of reality; but Dear John, complete with its music video style
scenes of letters being written, posted and shots of mail travelling and being
delivered, offers nothing new to the romantic drama genre.