Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Dear John

posted by Nell Minow
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some sensuality and violence
Profanity:Some mild language
Nudity/Sex:Kissing, non-explicit sexual situation, character sets clear boundaries for sexual involvement
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking
Violence/Scariness:Wartime violence, character injured, some punches, sad deaths
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:February 5, 2010
DVD Release Date:May 25, 2010

Nicholas Sparks writes the equivalent of comfort food, high-carb, low-nutrition, but sometimes it hits the spot. His stories usually feature relationships that are not just true and deep and loving but healing. And then, like ripping off a band-aid, he tears it asunder, but in a manner that demonstrates just how true and deep and loving and healing the relationship was but how ennobling as well. And there is usually some object of deep metaphoric and sentimental value.

Ladies, prepare your hankies.

This time, the author of “The Notebook,” “Message in a Bottle,” “Nights in Rodanthe,” “A Walk to Remember” and this spring’s “The Last Song” (starring Miley Cyrus) gives us John (Channing Tatum) and Savannah (Amanda Seyfried of “Mamma Mia!” and “Big Love”). She is a kind-hearted girl and he is a special forces soldier with some anger issues. They have some soft-focus moments on the beach in Charleston while he is on leave and she is on spring vacation. She is considerate to his socially impaired father (Richard Jenkins) and he is understanding with her autistic neighbor. Two weeks later, they are very much in love, and agree to write as he completes his last year of service, as they look forward to being together as soon as it is over. But 9/11 changes everything. As Richard Lovelace wrote almost 400 years ago, “I could not love thee, dear, so much/Loved I not honor more.” As wrenching as it is for both of them, they know his place is with his team, defending freedom.

But then, she writes a “Dear John” letter telling him that she is engaged. He is wounded, recovers, and returns to battle. When he finally sees her again, he learns that her choice was not what he thought.

Director Lasse Hallström (“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” “The Cider House Rules,” “My Life as a Dog”) keeps things from getting too syrupy and Tatum and Seyfried have a sweet, easy connection. Henry Thomas (the kid from “E.T”) has warmth and humor as the single father of the autistic boy. Richard Jenkins does what he can in the underwritten role of John’s father, whose reserve and awkwardness may be attributable to an autism spectrum disorder. We’re on the side of these undeniably decent and very pretty people. But there is nothing they can do to make the last third of the film feel emotionally or narratively believable. If at the end of the movie, you ask whether there was any other reason for a character not to provide more information much earlier and the only answer is that they had to find a way to fill the last 40 minutes of screen time, that is not going to work. And the sweetness of the original connection is dissolved in what feels like a trick.



Previous Posts

Transcendence
Think of it as "Her 2: The Revenge of Him." Or Samantha infected by Heartbleed. Just as in last holiday season's Her, "Transcendence" is the story of an artificial intelligence contained in a computer program that becomes or is seen as human consciousness.  Instead of the warm, affectionate voic

posted 6:00:39pm Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Bears
This year's Disney Nature release for Earth Day is "Bears," the story of an Alaskan bear named Sky and her twin cubs, Scout and Amber, their trek from the den where they've hibernated all winter t

posted 6:00:05pm Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Martha Williamson of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered"
Talking to Martha Williamson is pure positive energy and a real treat. The creator of "Touched by an Angel" has a new series on the Hallmark channel. It's called "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and it is about a USPS dead letter office where a quirky but very dedicated group of people track down the rec

posted 8:00:57am Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer #2: The Box Trolls
Did I mention how excited I am about this?  Coming in September, from the people who did "Coraline" and "ParaNorman." [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDr_ZY37RFg[/youtube]

posted 12:12:22pm Apr. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Heaven is for Real
A movie like "Heaven is for Real" requires two different reviews, one for believers/fans of the 1.5 million-volume best-selling book, one for those who are unfamiliar with the book and whose views about faith and heaven and proof may differ from the evangelical beliefs of the Wesleyan pastor who wro

posted 6:00:04pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.