After watching ‘The Vow’ recently in the theater, I was tempted to watch more of Channing Tatum in romantic flicks. I was starting to expect more out of him and I started to think that he could be an amazing actor for serious romantic films. Just then, a friend of mine gave me a DVD of Dear John and WOW! It was an amazing film. I wonder how I missed this movie for so long.
The story of the movie is basically adapted from a novel of same name written by Nicholas Sparks and I have not been able to read any of his works but I have watched 3 movies adapted from his novels, namely ‘A walk to remember’, ‘The Notebook’ & ‘The last song’ and the first two of them are among my all time favorites. So, I was expecting a very good romantic movie out of Dear John. Critics and reviewers have often criticized works of Sparks saying that they are way too emotional and sentimental. They say that he desperately writes characters that would make young girls weep. That’s true to some extent but I don’t find it entirely true. His characters do have some depth and an essence of reality. I know, those of you who have ‘The lucky one’ in mind won’t agree with these words of mine. But speaking of Dear John, I found the character of John Tyree very real and heartfelt.
John’s relationship with his father is the part that touched me the most. It was captured with great poise and the director Lasse Hallstorm did perfect justice to it. I could feel as if I was reading the book. It is very close to the heart and it grips you around it, and the major credit for that spellbinding effect goes to the actors Channing Tatum and Richard Jenkins. I’ve always admired Jenkins as an amazing actor; Tatum too was equally impressive alongside him. Both of them together can make you forget the world around you and take you along with them on an emotional ride like never before.
The romance between John and Savannah is equally wonderful and stays the USP of the film. The on-screen chemistry between Channing and Amanda is really wonderful and picturesque. I found it better than it was with Rachael McAdams in ‘The Vow’. So, has Tatum degraded as an actor or was he actually less comfortable co-staring alongside McAdams than Seyfried remains to be seen. I would go with the latter option though. The romance is real and warm. You feel connected and convinced. When the letters start, you’d expect the story to get stagnant and monotonous but it doesn’t. On the contrary it turns out to be the main storytelling and character-expanding medium. Excellent work! The letters are amazing. It does look a bit old-fashioned long distance relationship between a soldier and his beloved but I find it extremely beautiful and romantic. I am still passionate about old-fashioned romance and letters are still one of my favorite modes of expressing one’s feelings. So, full marks there from my end.
The only part of the story where I feel less convinced is when Savannah decides to marry the single father, who is her neighbor, because he is dying and has no one after his son. I think that the part where Savannah starts getting second thoughts to where the relationship is headed, is not portrayed with enough importance. I am assuming that it would be explained aptly in the novel but the director didn’t have that luxury. But still it is not that ugly and pathetic. It is still fine and doesn’t ruin everything. The last letter that Savannah writes to John, after Tim passes away, is a home run and seals the victory. You end up being completely moved as the ending credits start rolling. If you’re a person who loves sentimental movies and if you can connect yourself with the story being told, trust me, Dear John will make your eyes wet. It is an emotional odyssey that you’d not want to miss. It doesn’t have the romance of The Notebook or Titanic that will make your knees weak, but it’s the entire story, the characters, and the presentation that will make you take a dive in the ocean of tranquility. You’ll feel liberated and enriched. I feel sad that I missed it for this long. I highly recommend it to all of you, who have missed it so far like me, and who believe in whatever I said here. Awesome experience!