Monday 19 April 2010

Dear John - a film review

Dear John is a film adapted from the book by Nicholas Sparks, with Channing Tatum playing the role of soldier John Tyree, and Amanda Seyfried opposite him as Savannah Curtis. Over the course of two weeks, they fall deeply in love, and end up writing love letters to each other when John has to go back on deployment.

I know of the reputation that other Nicholas Sparks' adaptations have - such as The Notebook - for being romantic weepies, and went to the cinema prepared with a handful of tissues. I was expecting a wonderfully sweet film about two young lovers that would have me teary-eyed by the end.

Unfortunately, what I got was a film that came across as shockingly cynical in the manner in which it tried to tug on the heart strings. Every scene, every piece of dialogue, every longing glance between the two leads was designed to have the target audience swooning over the sheer romance. It felt positively manipulative!

I did enjoy the subplot about John's father, and their difficult relationship. The resolution to this was the one part of the film that had genuine heart, and Richard Jenkins (in his role as John's father) provided a strong emotional impact.

The rest of the film, however, was just so much empty picturesque shots of two attractive leads failing to achieve much chemistry and convince of their true love for one another. The intentional misdirection was clumsy and felt like the director was going: "A ha! Fooled you!" Above all, there were too many sequences where the titular love letters were read out using voice-overs and schmaltzy montage sequences.

A very disappointing film, with little of the romance or emotion promised in the film trailer and posters.

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