Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Dear John

UK Release: 14th April 2010
Watched on DVD: Friday 19th October 2012
Rating: 12A
Genre: Drama, Romance, War
Runtime: 1hr 48mins
Tagline: What would you do with a letter that changed everything?
IMDb Plot Synopsis: While John is on leave in his hometown, he finds Savannah, a college student visiting the town. Although love was unexpected, it doesn't mean they didn't find it. With the knowledge of John having to leave for the army, their love still lives, until his re-signs on due to the 9/11 attack. Troubles invade and their love put on hold. One cannot bear it anymore; can the other?

My Review: I remember seeing this in the cinema when it first came out and being surprised at how much I liked it. It was released rather close to The Last Song, another Nicholas Sparks novel-turned-into-a-movie, and there was an air of this-is-too-much about the whole thing. It does seem that a lot of his books fit the screen very well, my favourite being (as well as most I’m sure) The Notebook. That is a beautiful, touching and heart-breaking film, yet others that have followed haven’t quite grasped the lucid intensity of that great love between Noah and Allie. 
Dear John is focuses around John (played by the ridiculously gorgeous Channing Tatum), a soldier, who meets Savannah (played by the lovely Amanda Seyfried) while he visits home on leave. They fall head over heels over the course of a summer but when reality kicks in and he has to head back to the army things become a little fraught. The letter idea is wonderfully romantic and it is shot well - giving a sense of the contrasts of their worlds and how much it means to them to receive these letters. 
The film simply would not have worked without the great chemistry between the leads but it is Richard Jenkins playing John’s Dad that truly gives this film its heart and humanity. Bill has a form of Asperger Syndrome and it is through coins that John and his Dad connected when he was younger. This is shown wonderfully in the beginning when John talks about how he himself is a coin. It’s that father/son relationship which is the most special, and ultimately the most heart-breaking. 
So while I didn’t necessarily enjoy it as much as I did a couple years ago in the cinema, I think this is because my tastes have grown up a bit. It is still a film with a heart, despite the Sparks sentimentality.

Score: 7.5/10

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