Based on Nicholas Sparks’ bestselling novel, the Lass Hallström directed Dear John gives a picture of the all-American duty of having to serve in the military and putting love on hold.

The film stays true to the novel and focuses on John and Savannah, who meet at the beach during the summer and from then on, become inseparable, until John is requested to go back the battlefield to fight for his country. Savannah promises to write letters to John everyday so they do not grow apart. John is allowed to visit his hometown every now and then, which only raises Savannah’s hopes for their future, but all expectation is turned down once John has to depart. They write to each other until they must face reality and decide if they want to hold a tangible relationship or base themselves on mere written words.

Amanda Seyfried’s chemistry with Channing Tatum is charming and seems to flow spontaneously. The stress both bear in the film is palpable in their interpretation of their respective characters. This once more proves Seyfried’s imminent dominance in Hollywood as a multitalented actress, where she plays a genuinely in love young woman. Seyfried showcases her beauty, the shocking vocal ability from the musical Mamma Mia! and on-screen splendor all at once.

Tatum’s character, despite it being hunky and self-guarded, portrays a lot of vulnerability and enthrallment. It is a fraught character, it is not complex, but it is not predictable either. Tatum’s rendering of emotion is real and influential; it draws the watcher in the storyline and makes one feel part of the fear of losing love and episodes of angst the character goes through. The illumination in the film and the scenography is marvelous

Dear John is moving, tender and relatable in the sense many have gone through the same fears and different outbursts of emotion the characters face, only in the human condition.  It shows the fidelity and devotion men have towards women; real men, men of standards who are true to themselves, who are in touch with their feelings and not afraid of expressing them when necessary. It is an amazing interpretation of how the male heart is just as capable to love as much as a female’s, and how significant and harmful emotional repression can be.

The lighting in the film and the photography is startling; most of the scenes are lit by the sunset or moonlight, giving the film both a bubbly and melancholic frame.

Hallström previously directed the screen delight of Chocolat starring Johnny Depp in 2000, so the capturing of emotion in Dear John is not to be debased.

★★★★

C.Perez

Watch the trailer below!