Dear John

You can really learn a lot about the world with movies. Not the bull crap happy ending stuff, and many other lines. But simple things! Like expressions. I never heard of a Dear John Letter before (or I might have in Serious Moonlight, but can’t remember). Those are letters telling your lover your breaking up with them, usually for some other lover. That adds more meaning to this movie title (Dear John, no shit). I think about that expression and I think “Man…people do dear john texts now. Even less effort.”.

Dear John
“Now if only knew how to read…”

Let me just say that this is my favorite Nicholas Sparks movie based off one of his books. That being said, I still have only seen two, this one and The Last Song. Which I hated. So it didn’t have much to beat. The Notebook I own just…haven’t gotten around to watching it yet.

Channing Tatum starts off the movie being in the army and getting shot. He is narrating at this point, and tells of a story of him going to the US Mint when he was a child. He had a fascination for coins as a kid, and became a collector. Flash back time!

John starts off at a beach, meets Amanda Seyfried. She is in Wilmington, NC (whaaat) where he lives for spring break. In that small break, they “fall in love”. She even loves his dad (Richard Jenkins), who seems kind of crazy and invested most of their money into coins. Kind of obsessively.

A lot of this movie takes place a long time ago, like late 90s, early 2000s. Once she goes back to school they decide to write letters to each other. Once he goes back into the army the letters keep coming, albeit at a lesser pace. John feels a sense of duty to remain in the army after the 9/11 attacks, and constantly reenlists, but possibly just to escape his home life. He also gets mad at Amanda for suggesting his dad has Autism, just was never treated as such because back then, what was Autism? Just weirdness.

Eventually she sends him a Dear John letter, breaking up with him for someone else she grew to love. Fuck that shit. He re-enlists again, despite getting shot. After some more years of not talking, he finds out that his dad had a stroke and is in serious condition.

Can he forgive his dad for the years of awkward growing up in poverty, due to his obsession? Will he ever find Seyfried again (and you know, win her back despite the fact that she is married)? When will he ever leave the army? What the hell is up with all these coins?

Dear John
“They’re mine! Mine I tells ya! (Hiss!)”

What surprised me about this movie is the layers. It is not very simple and obvious, like The Last Song (which also was pretty cheesy). It has a lot more serious stuff going on, and not everything is as peachy. The plot lines between JOhn and Seyfried, John and home (with his dad), John in the army, all interweave pretty snazzylike, and I thought that was great of writer.

Obviously the acting wasn’t that great. I think Tatum needs to learn how to make his big face show more emotion. Seyfried could have probably been any girl in this movie. Half of her lines were just narrating the letters they sent. Jenkins was great as “old man who is dying and confused and autistic” though. But ehh. Everything else could have been better.

2 out of 4.

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