Dear John (2010) Review

A romantic drama about a solider John (Channing Tatum) and Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) a college student who meet and fall in love after two weeks together. While John is on leave from the Army.

As with any film based on a Nicholas Sparks novel you just know that you are going to need to have tissues at the ready. I actually finished reading the book yesterday and went to see the film today, I am however going to try my very best not to compare the two in this review. I am taking them as two totally different stories, as the film does differ from the book and I can understand why those differences were apparent.

The opening scene is seeing John getting shot in the army and talking about his last thought before he blacked out being about coins – this is to do with his father who collects them and has always been obsessed with coins. The story then takes us back as John’s thought before getting shot was about “you” – the you being Savannah. So we travel back to the day they first met and how they quickly fell in love with one another and promising that nothing will break them.

John being on leave in the army is based out in Germany but he has only 12 months of service left before he can leave the army. They communicate through letters keeping each other updated with what is going on in there lives. A major event impacts their plans, September 11th. This sees John extend his service. Another important relationship in the story is between John and his father. Who we find out is autistic and this is the reason he has not shown much emotion towards John over the years.

Savannah’s letters out to John start becoming less frequent and he has to wait a while to receive what would be his last letter. She sends him a letter explaining that she has found someone else. Now this is where I remembered the full letter from the book and yes I did cry. You could not help but to feel sorry for John as he really loves her so much and to do such a thing in a letter is totally unthinkable. He does not respond to the letter he just leaves it.

In 2007 John is told he is to head back to the US because his father had a stroke. Some of the following scenes were difficult to watch as they were so emotional with John realising that his father is dying. The letter he was heard speaking at the beginning of the film was written to his father and he reads it to him not long before he dies.

After his father’s death he decides to go and see Savannah, and finds out it was Tim who was her next door neighbour who she had married. It is so obvious that she is still in love with John. Tim is ill in hospital and may not have much time left. I will not go into the ending or any more into the plot as I have probably revealed way too much but it has to be stated so I can explain how I feel about it all.

While it is not the best film I have ever seen it still really hit me hard (possibly because I read the book and knew more background information) I cried when John cried as I really did feel so sorry for him. It’s all such a difficult subject as he is stationed some where else in the world and waiting for letters is what keeps him going through the tough times whilst at war. For Savannah to end up marrying someone else without so much an explanation to John is just so cold and awful.

I would give anything for someone to love me the way John loved Savannah and I would have so waited for him to come home again. It’s amazing the impact someone can really have on you. I was actually pretty impressed with Channing Tatum’s performance as showing his emotions through crying and the dialogue was very convincing. As yes everyone knows that he is gorgeous. So another Nicholas Sparks film which I enjoyed. Maybe not as much as the rest, but I am very glad I read the book before seeing the film as it filled in some gaps and I already cared about John before watching.

Amanda Seyfried did not put in the best performance as some of her acting was not believable at all in my opinion. I thought Richard Jenkins was very good as John’s father who suffered from autism acting very distant and not wanting to be close or even talk to anyone.

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