“Dear John” is a romantic movie released Jan. 24 of this year. For those of you not familiar, “Dear John” was originally a book written by Nicholas Sparks, who also wrote “The Notebook.” The book was released around Oct. 2006, and drew its popularity through its parallel to the war in Iraq and the stressful times our nation is currently going through.
In a nutshell, “Dear John” tells the story of a girl who falls in love with a guy currently enlisted in the United States Armed Forces. While meeting on a beach, the two fall head over heels for each other, and within the two weeks before John has to leave, it seems like they are inseperable.
While the book has garnered a lot of respect and adoration through its passionate writing and creative storytelling, it always seems to be a common theme that when a book gets suited for the lights of Hollywood, it never seems to turn out quite as it was written.
But how does the movie stand on its own?
To be honest, “Dear John” does pass as an acceptable romantic film but has its share of glaring disappointments. The first of its disappointments comes through the casting of Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried’s characters.
Unlike “The Notebook,” it was difficult to personally care or feel sympathy for either of their characters in the film. A connection was never truly established, and many of the scenes felt rushed, in particular the early scenes when the two main characters first meet.
The scenes felt unfinished and left viewers with a sense that John, played by Channing Tatum, didn’t really care for Savannah (Amanda Seyfried).
In a romantic movie it would seem pivotal for the director to go above and beyond portraying the emotions of an early-stage relationship, but “Dear John” disregarded this fact.
That being said, another fault was Channing Tatum being guilty for holding the movie from its full potential. Throughout most of the movie it seemed that he wasn’t comfortable playing the role and didn’t enjoy it.
If I’m going to watch a romantic movie for a change, I expect to see a wide range of emotions to be utilized from beginning to end.
After all, isn’t that what a relationship is like? In any relationship I have heard about or been in there have always been a wide variety of emotions.
However, in this movie it seemed like John could only portray emotions similar to that of Hayden Christensen’s performance in the “Star Wars” episodes.
There are certain points throughout the film when the movie attempts to stab at your heart through the eyes of John, yet because of the performance by Tatum it never achieves its goal.
While Channing Tatum’s acting is less than stellar in this film, the supporting cast is well done and fully developed. In particular, Richard Jenkins does a phenomenal job playing John’s father.
To the anti-romance crowd reading this, the relationship between John and his father was very well done, and makes the movie worth watching in its own right.
There are parts, one scene in particular, between John and his father which made me want to cry.
However, therein lies the problem with the film itself. I felt that throughout the film I was drawing more of a connection between John and his father rather than John and his relationship with Savannah. All of the secondary characters should add variety and growth to the viewer’s perception of John and Savannah, not be the central focus.
In the end, the movie that has an interesting twist on the romance genre, but falls flat with poor execution from both the director and actors/actresses.
Whether you read the book or not, the ending is disappointing and there are some ties that the movie just doesn’t explain clearly.
Regardless of if you’re a huge fan of the romantic film genre or not, “Dear John” is worth a look.
While the relationship between John and Savannah can be criticized, the movie is certainly worth seeing for the interaction between father and son. Although it doesn’t come close to rivaling “The Notebook,” this movie gets a pass with seven seats out of ten, but that may be generous.
Phil Bieg is a student at West Chester University. He can be reached at PB669872@wcupa.edu.