The great classic romance movies of history such as Casablanca, An Affair to Remember, even Titanic, have served as a measuring bar for today’s love stories. Lasse Hallstrom’s ‘Dear John’, based on Nicholas Sparks book, should not by any means be compared to the aforementioned, but it also shouldn’t be discarded as syrupy blather. Rather, it is a likable, warm story that manages to rouse a tear and perhaps incite a small swelling in the throat. I would not label it a typical run of the mill ‘tearjerker’, but it has a few moments that garners your emotional attention.
The film revolves around the love letters a soldier (Channing Tatum) and a young woman (Amanda Seyfried) share for a few years. John meets Savannah at the beach near his home and they eventually begin dating, but as soon as 9/11 happens he has to pick between her and the duties of war. How it turns out is for you to see.
‘Dear John’ isn’t going to devastate you or scar you emotionally. It is not Nicholas Sparks best, but it manages to awaken some sentiments of sadness, anger and loss that can be attributed to some descent acting and empathic screenwriting. The best part of the movie is Richard Jenkin’s performance as John’s father. His scene near the end provides perhaps the most compelling and dramatic scene of the movie. If you haven’t seen the wonderful, but small film The Visitor, try and squeeze it into you Netflix queue to see and appreciate Jenkin’s Oscar nominated performance. Just marvelous.
This valentines week’s film options should be an easy romantic choosing – Dear John over Valentine’s Day. The former is a failure in so many levels. Whether it is your other half or just a friend, Dear John is your best watch for eliciting some of those valentines sentiments your looking to draw out.