"Dear John" Movie Review (2010)

2/06/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

"Dear John"

Directed by Lasse Hallstrom, Written by Jamie Linden, 91 minutes, Rated PG-13

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

"Dear John," another in a long line of romance dramas based on the novels by Nicholas Sparks, is a movie destined to bring in money. It's a romance starring two reasonably well-known young actors based on a novel by this generation's go-to romantic writer. If this doesn't make money, nothing will.

As such, it does very little to separate itself from other romances, and especially not other Nicholas Sparks' romances. The man has put in very little effort in distinguishing one story from another--a young man from the wrong side of the tracks meets a girl, they fall in love, it's not necessarily destined to work out, but their love changes them in significant ways regardless.

The guy from the wrong side of the tracks in this film is John (Channing Tatum), a green beret on leave for two weeks who meets the beautiful Savannah (Amanda Seyfried). They obviously connect on some unseen level and for two weeks, they're constantly together. When John has to go back to his post and Savannah has to go back to school, they promise to write non-stop and share everything. Things don't quite work out that way, due to multiple unfortunate/tragic/unseen events.

The biggest problem of the film (one of many, I'll say right now) is that we aren't given any sort of tangible reason these two are together. There's no extensive dialogue between the two, they have almost nothing in common in personality or activity, and all they generally do in those two weeks are hang out at beach parties and talk about John's dad (Richard Jenkins), who may be moderately autistic and who John learns to appreciate more throughout the film.

The narrative also is very sloppily constructed. It consists almost entirely of sad musical montages, montages of letters being read in voiceover, one or two scenes of melodramatic dialogue, or scenes in which Channing tries to say something profound or interesting--and fails miserably.

A major aspect of the film is John's father's coin collection--John says he toured a minting facility once and compares himself to the fine pressing of a coin, and then to an imperfect coin that is tarnished by bad pressing but becomes rare and valuable in the process. It's a sad state of affairs when you have to compare yourself to a collectible coin to express your individuality.

The film was directed by Lasse Hallstrom, known for such varied works as "The Cider House Rules," "Chocolat" and "The Hoax." Most of the films he's made are well-crafted, unique, and at the very least, thought-provoking. His "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" is one of the more heartwrenching films about family and the desire to leave your hometown. The fact that he has to resort to making films like "Dear John" is pretty sad, especially when it takes the cliches he made work splendidly in some of his romances and beats them like a dead horse.

I suppose that, like all romances, "Dear John" definitely has an audience. The story is told easily enough, the direction is adequate, and surely there have been worse performances. Overall, though, this is far from a recommended viewing.

Grade: D

View the trailer for "Dear John" below. What are your thoughts?

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  1. Anonymous said...

    Looks like it promises to be a real tear jerker and may be one for the female crowd. I'll wait and see.

  2. kellysionna said...

    it was very promised movie for all and my sister did cry at the end of this movie. wow there are many good things to be wrote about this movie and yes we are well accepted this movie


  3. Alan said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
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