Dear John

Coins.

The first words in the movie "Dear John" deal with...coins. Not in relation to love. In relation to the U.S. Army.

Not exactly a promising start for a movie about a young romance. But don't loose heart--the movie's surprise beginning adds to the overall effect of "Dear John." And guys, don't be afraid to go with your girlfriend: there is just as much action as there is romance.

"Dear John" otherwise begins with a college-aged girl named Savannah (played by Amanda Seyfried) and a college-aged guy named John (played by Channing Tatum). Savannah is a sweet yet daring wide-eyed beauty, while John is a strong and mysterious soldier in the United States army. The beginning is classic: the couple meets on the beach, spends two weeks of spring break together, and falls in love. Savannah meets John's autistic father (played by Richard Jenkins), adores the father, and tries to teach John to appreciate his father. The couple is happy. Life is good.

After two weeks, separation casts its disheartening shadow over the relationship. Savannah has to go back to college. John is on leave from the army, with one year of service remaining. As a result, they won't see each other for at least a year. Fate seems determined to separate the couple; nevertheless, John and Savannah, trusting in the strength of true love to keep their relationship alive, promise to write to each other until John's service time is up.

Then, 9/11 happens. Terrorist attacks. The twin towers fall. And John extends his service time.

The remainder of the movie (which is most of the film) examines John's relationship with Savannah and John's relationship with his father. Don't get hopeful: you could probably make up a better ending to "Dear John" than the ending you'll see in theaters. If you choose to see the movie, prepare to let your heart soar--and then prepare for the pain as your heart is shot out of the sky.

In areas other than the plotline, the movie is a success. The acting in "Dear John" is phenomenal, with Channing Tatum giving Amanda Seyfried the best strong-guy cute looks imaginable and with Amanda Seyfried's eyes as large as the full moon. Lighting, editing, setting, and music all contributed as much to the movie as the well-written script. Be warned, however, that "Dear John" is not a chick flick for the faint-of-heart: the movie is heavy with sexual content and moral dilemmas, and the (brief) violent sections of the movie are extremely tense.

Overall, "Dear John" is worth watching simply for the enjoyment of seeing John's relationship with his father grow. If you enjoy cinematography, the camera angles and lighting in the movie would be of interest. But if you're looking for a good romance movie, look somewhere else.





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