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Dear John translates a notable romance novel

For anyone familiar with the plotline, Dear John evokes from audiences exactly what’s expected: tears. Every movie based on a book by Nicholas Sparks seems to have this effect on viewers. Dear John is a movie adaptation of an extremely moving novel of the same name about young love beleaguered by complications. The relationship between the two lead characters is focused on bittersweet loss, but is softened by the sweet manifestation of the actors in a way that feels like triumph to the audiences. ‘’Dear John’’ traditionally refers to the kind of letter written by a girl to a boy when she wants to break up and, therefore, the plotline of the movie is not all surprising.

The film, directed by Lasse Hallström, is based on the literary relationship between Special Forces soldier John (Channing Tatum) and college student Savannah (Amanda Seyfried), who meet in 2001 during his leave and her spring break on the coast of South Carolina. The two characters, from extremely different parts of society, fall in love. While John is staying with his father, Savannah is working on a project to build houses for the underprivileged over spring break. Soon enough, the break ends and John has to part ways with his lover. However, he plans to leave the service when his tour ends to be with Savannah, and this keeps their love and drive alive. They vow to keep in touch, write old-fashioned letters to each other, and gaze at the moon with the hope to meet again soon.

After the attacks on the World Trade Center, John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. The two exchange letters over the years as additional hurdles arise. Other characters include John’s emotionally withdrawn, obsessive, coin-collecting father (Richard Jenkins) and Savannah’s best friend (Henry Thomas), whose son is autistic. However, the plot of the movie revolves around the relationship of Savannah and John. This relationship blooms through war and family issues.

This movie falls within the mediocre range of Sparks’ various film adaptations. The attempt to bring a warm feeling to the audience matches that of the book to an extent; however, it doesn’t do the book justice. Furthermore, these movies cannot be compared to the ability of movies such as The Notebook and A Walk to Remember to stir up emotions.

The relationship between Savannah and John and their likability is definitely one of the strengths of this movie. It would be hard for audiences not to wish that Savannah and John be together forever. If you enjoy movies based on novels by Sparks — with emotion and drama abounding — then this is a must-see. However, if not, this movie is sadly not worth watching — just read the book instead.