Dear John Reviews
This movie isn't just formulaic and overly sentimental, it's also exploitative. The time period of this movie isn't clear until the second act, where we're shown a news footage of a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. It's distasteful because it's used as the stake to their relationship, as 9/11 motivates John to re-enlist for two more years, making Savannah upset. But every conflict is resolved quickly in this film because it's an idealized romantic drama with the PERFECT couple.
And it doesn't stop there. The movie also exploits autism. The autistic kid and even John's autistic dad are only autistic to make Savannah look like a saint. She doesn't drink. She doesn't smoke. She doesn't fuck anyone (except John). The only thing she does that makes her character less than perfect is "curse", in her head. She also has a line about how horses can sense danger and evil and that autistic kids have it too. Yes, there's a line about that, and Savannah even had a camp called "Camp Horse Sense".
But wait, there's more. In the third act, John's dad has a stroke, and a character that we barely know (but is an important part of the two main character's life) named Tim is suddenly struck with cancer. It's these contrived moments that tries to wring tears from the target audience, but it's never earned.
We have an annoying friend of Savannah (Randy) who has a crush on her, and gets instantly jealous when she develops a relationship with John. John also has a lame monologue about coins. He thought about coins when he got shot because his dad is a coin collector, and even creates a metaphor between his life and coins.
"I am a coin in the United States Army. I was minted in the year 1980. I've been punched from sheet metal. I've been stamped and cleaned, and my ridges have been rimmed and beveled. And now I have two small holes in me. I'm no longer in perfect condition." Yes, these are actual lines from the movie... at the beginning of the movie. And the payoff with his father's coin collection is to pay for Tim's treatment because it's worth a lot of money. Of course, he dies in the end because the movie has to predictably end with John and Savannah reuniting back together.
The movie also has too many montages. The letters that John and Savannah send to each other and John's military service are shown through multiple montages that last up to about three minutes. It's as if the script for this movie was missing a second act.
Out of all the Nicholas Sparks movie adaptations so far, Dear John is the second best. When a movie this awful is the second best of the Nicholas Sparks lineups, it makes me wish that Nicholas Sparks would stop writing so that Hollywood doesn't adapt his books into terrible movies. Though Dear John is bearable at times, it's a generic tearjerker that embodies everything a romantic drama shouldn't be.
Another fact is quite exciting to see John's relationship with his father.
The film has important and complicated issues such as: military life, autism, Asperger's syndrome ... Good talent of Nicholas Sparks for romantic stories is exciting to touch the heart and Dear John could not be different.