It is not the case today that the film industry produces films in which it produces great and intense novels during serious and dangerous periods of war. Classics like Casablanca and even more recent productions like The English Patient and Pearl Harbor have their romantic plot related to World War II. Already Across The Universe is one of the countless projects that have the Vietnam War as the backdrop. And now, for the first time, a feature sets its romantic synopsis during one of the most recent battles in world history, in the case of the United States in the Middle East after the events of 9/11.

In the plot the soldier John (Channing Tatum – G.I. Joe) Dear John is on leave when he meets Savannah (Amanda Seyfried – Mamma Mia) and falls in love. It’s two weeks of intense love in a beautiful seaside setting with all the clichés typical of romance movies, with the first kiss in the rain right and all. After vacation, John needs to return to his post in the US Army Special Forces and Savannah for his college education. Passionate, they combine to exchange letters during the long year in which they will have to be separated, promising to put everything in the paper during the period and then to give continuity to the romance Dear John already initiated. However, in the meantime, the hijacked planes collide with the World Trade Center towers, not only putting down not only the Twin Towers but also the chances of the couple meeting again. Armed with his sense of patriotic duty, Dear John decides to renew his military enlistment period, which will have consequences for his relationship with Savannah.

Dear John The screenplay for the film is based on a book Dear John by writer Nicholas Sparks, the same author of Diary of a Passion. Nicholas’s talent for romantic and touching stories is immense and the film can even transcend this desire. But the desire is stopped in the middle of the way by sparing and weak interpretations of its protagonists. Amanda still struggles, but the most she can do is sketch sweet, tearful looks, but not very true. Channing is worse, both because of his critical lack of facial Dear John expression and because he lets himself be intensely dominated by the aura of a brave soldier, making it difficult to get a look that reminds him of something loving.

The big and good surprise of the film is by Richard Jenkis, Oscar-nominated actor for The Visitor. Interpreter of the father of the protagonist, Richard embodies a character that at first seems distant and methodical, until we perceive that he suffers of a degree of autism that goes unnoticed even by the own son. It is interesting to note the process of a relative being so involved and accustomed to the individual’s attitudes that his illness passes unscathed, but not by the character of Savannah who perceives the situation, hitherto overlooked by John. It is also touching to see the way the character tries to relate, even isolated in the individualism characteristic of the autistic.

At the end is a sugary movie sensation with touches of adrenaline, well suited to be seen by a couple at a Sunday’s end. She’ll be thrilled with romance and him, with the war. The difference is that you will not see Nazi uniforms on the screen, Russian accents or Viet Cong in combat. The couple will see the September 2001 work in which everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing. If that will be enough to play the audience, only the box office will say.

Categories: 2016, Review

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