By Tori Bergland
Sniffles and “awwws” filled the theater of the newly-released film, “Dear John.” The movie is based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. The director was Lasse Hallstrom (“Chocolat”, “Cider House Rules”).
It is a tear-jerking love story where two characters have a difficult time giving up the memories of their carefree two-week romance. Just like “The Notebook” and “Nights in Rodanthe,” there is love, passion, death, and heartbreak…again Sparks doesn’t let a girl down.
John Tyree (Channing Tatum) is a troubled young man growing up in North Carolina, raised by his socially awkward, coin-collecting father, Mr. Tyree (Richard Jenkins). In order to turn around his life, John joins the Army. On his two-week leave from Special Forces, he meets Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried). The once troubled man is forever changed by his love for this young woman. The two have a passionate two weeks together, both growing in love and appreciation. But all was not perfect. John was heading back to Germany soon.
The couple promises to write down everything that happens while they are apart until they can be together at the end of his 12-month term. This begins a year of cultivating the long-distance relationship through snail mail.
At the end of John’s term, the attack on September 11, 2001 brings him to a no-other-option decision. Against Savannah’s wishes, he decides to re-enlist for another two years. At first, the letters remain consistent until Savannah’s own no-other-option situation arises. This is where the real tears begin to fall.
John does not return to North Carolina until something happens with his father. It is the turning point for the two Tyree men, and a depressing part for the audience. Then a bustle of heavy whispering fills the entire theater when the audience finds out Savannah’s secret.
Be prepared to shed a few tears, because this movie is heavy. The long-distance relationship is realistic in its stress and frustration as both characters find themselves torn between love and duty.
Channing Tatum plays the troubled-kid-turns-good character again, but that is to be expected, and all is forgotten when he takes off his shirt. The two actors are decent together. They have bits of chemistry, but the passion that is necessary is just not quite there.
It is not a movie that can be compared to the novel. It is Nicholas Sparks in all his glory, but not exactly what he wrote. The movie is not predictable in the ways you would expect it to be, but it sure touches every part of your heart. It is a love story that goes through a lot of heartache, but it sure is worth it. “Dear John” will inspire you to hold your loved ones a little bit tighter. It creates a new appreciation for the soldiers who are fighting and their families at home. It makes you appreciate the health and happiness of those you can spend time with.
By Tori Bergland