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.
The main thing here was that both Tatum and Seyfried were not believable as lovers.
I would gladly give a zero stars, but it gets one because and only because of the letters, it's very refreshing to see that in this day and age.
Adapted from yet another of Nicholas Sparks best selling romance novels (The Notebook, Message in a Bottle), Dear John is a softly focused and overly sentimental modern Romeo and Juliet post September 11.
Serving as the old-fashioned American archetype of the strong silent type, Ex-model turned actor Channing Tatum pulls off the broody but endearing lead. Contrasting highly with young Kate Winslet-esque Amanda Seyfried who plays Tatum's slightly holier-than-thow but likeable love interest.
Home on leave; Special Forces Green Beret John Tyree (Tatum) stays with his emotionally disconnected obsessive coin-collecting father (Richard Jenkins), when he meets down-to-earth college student Savannah Curtis (Seyfried).
Embracing the highly closed off John, Savannah welcomes him into her happy and calm way of life; doing charity work, riding horses and explaining the reasons behind her aspirations to open a ranch for autistic children, like her six year old neighbour Alan (Braeden Reed). Savannah also helps John to understand and tolerate his hermit father's peculiar ways.
As their two week whirlwind courtship comes to an end, Savannah returns to school and vows to write John as much as possible whilst he serves the last year on his tour of duty.
Their brief separation seems to be an easy and endearing situation until the intervention of the events of 911 and John's once short term commitment becomes and indefinite division.
Will Savannah accept John's decision to reenlist? Will Savannah wait for his return? Can John survive in battle if Savannah refuses?
A contextually flimsy and unstructured love story come dreary family melodrama, Remember Me's morose tone, sluggish pacing and overly weighted in significance script is bittersweet in this less than affecting movie.
In need of an immediate acting intervention, Twilight's teen-heartthrob Robert Pattison channels the dramatic likes of James Dean and Marlon Brando as he attempts to turn his dreamy soulful eyes, into a soulful performance.
Since the unprovoked suicide of his older brother, NYC college student Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson) has had family issues. Tyler's turbulent relationship with his arrogant and insensitive power-attorney father (Pierce Brosnan) differs greatly with his wonderfully adoring relationship with his younger and giftedly artistic sister Caroline (Ruby Jerins).
After yet another family tiff, Tyler enjoys a night out drinking and venting with flatmate and friend Aidan (Tait Ellington), but becomes involved in a back street altercation. Unjustly beaten and incarcerated overnight by the attending policeman Neil Craig (Chris Cooper), the boys vow to find a way to get back at him.
Still bearing the bruises, Aidan spots Craig dropping off his daughter Ally (Emilie de Ravin) at the same school. Aidan convinces Tyler to charm Ally in hopes of beginning a relationship and then exacting their revenge. However, as their mirroring family issues and a need for love intensifies their relationship, a true bond is formed and a real relationship blossoms.
Will Ally find out the reason behind Tyler's initial attraction? Can Tyler and his father ever mend their broken relationship? Is there something greater at work in this plot?
The Verdict: Sadly neither of these films had a great impact. Dear John had promise but the longing looks, lingering kisses and continual character separation saw the movie loose energy; Remember Me with its clumsy scene changes and labouring subtext lacked the heartfelt anchor required for an affecting film.
As one film ends with nothing more than a footnote and the other with a winding sucker punch, each of these romantic drama's offer something unique, however neither fully manage to evoke true emotion.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 19/03/2010
Positives: Father-son relationship.
Negatives: Everything else.