Synopsis: A soldier and the woman he loves stay in touch while he is deployed through letters.
Release Date: February 5, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Romance, Drama
No one can forget the rush of a first love; the excitement, the uncertainty, and quite often, the resulting pain. Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) and John (Channing Tatum) meet on the beach while vacationing one summer. From the moment they meet there is an undeniable connection between them and, after falling in love under a moonlit sky at a backyard barbeque, they are completely inseparable. The problem? They only have two weeks in this beachside paradise until they have to return to their respective lives. John is a soldier on leave until he recovers from a minor bullet wound. Savannah is a university student strongly involved with special needs children. In order to make their relationship work, they decide to correspond through detailed letters while he is deployed.
Dear John, a film by director Lasse Hallstrom based on the Nicholas Sparks book by the same name, attempts to capture the intensity and intimacy of a new relationship. While the film does have the audience blushing, smiling and crying right along with the characters, it also uses almost every cliche ever written and never really allows for any character development. Instead of revealing the inner thoughts of the characters, the film offers a very external view of their relationship. Therefore, although their relationship is sweet, the viewer is never akin to its depth. Dear John also has very poor transitions between scenes and the emotional impact is often cut off at the knees because the film rarely allows emotional moments to linger and fully develop. This results in a film that constantly feels a little bit like a trailer: the emotion and sweetness may be captured brilliantly, but at the film’s end, we still don’t feel like we really know Savannah and John, we just know what they do and what is happening to them.
Music is absolutely key in bringing along the audience on an emotional journey. Even though the dialogue and acting may have been stilted, the music was always there to fill in the gaps. From the tender voices of Joshua Radin and Schuyler Fisk to the melancholic musings of The Swell Season, the soundtrack really enriched the cinematography and brought across a depth of emotion that the film would have lacked otherwise.
Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum look great together and have amazing physical chemistry. Unfortunately, John’s level of depth was severely hampered by Channing Tatum’s acting skills. Amanda Seyfried brought a fair amount of depth and vulnerability to her character while Tatum was very one-dimensional. It was as if Seyfried was falling deeply in love but Tatum was flirting his way through the scenes.
A quick word on set design: John’s war surroundings were much too clean and polished to be believable especially when he is supposedly deployed to the middle east. Although there is one short sequence where they crosscut real war footage with the filmic war, it never even comes close to capturing the gritty reality of being at war.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Lasse Hallstrom
- Producer(s): Jamie Linden
- Screenwriter(s): Channing Tatum (John Tyree)Amanda Seyfried (Savannah Lynn Curtis)Henry Thomas (Tim Wheddon)
- Story: Richard Jenkins (Mr. Tyree)
- Cast: Kristina BodenTerry StaceyKara Lindstrom
- Editor(s): Dana Campbell
- Cinematographer: Deborah Lurie
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA