Dear John - A Movie Review
Dear John is a movie based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. In the movie, Channing Tatum plays John Tyree, an angry rebel who joined the army after dropping out of high school.
One day while hanging out on the beaches of South Carolina, he notices the purse of a pretty blond girl fall into the ocean.Without thinking, he springs into action, dives into the ocean and rescues her purse. And that's how John Tyree meets Savannah Curtis, played by Amanda Seyfried.
John and Savannah Fall in Love
John discovers that Savannah doesn't drink, smoke, swear or seem to have any vices at all. He also finds out that Savannah is spending her summer break from college building houses for charity. In the next two weeks, the ex-rebel and the southern sweetheart fall in love.
In the time that they have together, John introduces Savannah to his father, played by Richard Jenkins. John has never really understood his father who is quiet, likes routine, and keeps to himself. The only thing the two know how to talk about is his dad's extensive coin collection. Savannah discovers this is the only thing John's father can talk to her about as well.
Before heading back to school, Savannah and John have a huge fight. Savannah, who has experience with autistic kids, thinks John's dad may have Asperger's syndrome. When she tries to relay this information to him, John becomes very angry and accuses her of wanting to spend time with his dad so that she can study him. The two make up before they part their separate ways and they begin writing letters to each other in the 12 months they are apart.
John promises her that in 12 months he will be finished with his military duties and he will be with her for good. But something happens that neither John, Savannah nor anyone else in the world could have been prepared for - September 11th.
The Final Letter
Soon after the tragedy of 9/11, everyone on John's special forces teams decides to re-up for another tour of duty. John is torn between loyalty to his country and his desire to be with Savannah. He decides to stay in the Army. He leaves a heartbroken Savannah behind in South Carolina.
At the beginning of their separation, they continue to write letters to one another. But after a while, there are no more letters from Savannah and no phone calls either.
Finally, the last Dear John letter arrives with Savannah telling him she is engaged. John thinks he knows who it is and grief-stricken and angry, he burns all of his letters from Savannah. Soon after, he decides to stay in the army and make a career out of it.
After the heart-wrenching news from Savannah, things continue to go downhill for John as he gets shot and is severely injured. After recovering in a hospital in Germany and going back on duty, he gets sent home because his father is deathly ill. He goes home to South Carolina to be with him. For the first time ever, in a very touching scene, John reveals his feelings to his father about how much he loves him.
After his father's death, he drives to Savannah's ranch where he discovers whom she married. He also discovers that her husband is in the hospital with cancer. She tells him there are experimental drugs available for his illness but their insurance doesn't cover them. John goes to the hospital to see her husband who tells John he knows Savannah is still in love with him.
Later, at home Savannah and John have a heart to heart talk and almost falter in a moment of weakness. John tells her he has to go and Savannah says to him, "See you soon, then," which has always been their way of saying goodbye. When John doesn't repeat the phrase like he usually does, she begs him to say it. Instead he says, "Goodbye Savannah."
John decides to sell his father's coin collection, which he had inherited. It is given to Savannah and her husband in the form of an anonymous donation in order to cover the cost of Savannah's husband's treatment.
In the movie, the cancer treatments gives her husband a few more months to be with his family and to say his goodbyes. The last scene of the movie shows Savannah and John meeting once again and embracing one another.
My Thoughts (Spoiler Alert!)
If you are reading this and have yet to see the movie, I apologize for giving the ending away. The reason I did is because I wanted to compare how the book ended to how the movie ended. And I must say, I was extremely disappointed by how the movie ended. Though, I would have to say that for the most part, I thought the movie was really good.
I found myself in near tears at the very beginning of the movie knowing what was going to happen between John and Savannah. Dear John continued to pull at my heartstrings throughout the movie and I found myself wiping away tears during a few parts. The scene between John and his dying father was especially touching and was probably the scene in which Channing Tatum did his best acting.
But then at the end, Savannah's husband dies and the last scene is of John and Savannah embracing one another. You would think that I would have been happy that after everything John and Savannah went through, they ended up together. After all, that's how a love story is supposed to end. But for me, it ruined the concept of John being a truly selfless person and the idea that even though two people may love each other deeply, life happens and they don't always end up together.
The way the book ends gives you much more to think about compared to how the movie ends which gives you just another sappy, they-lived-happily-ever after love story.
I'm curious to hear from others who have seen the movie and if you have seen the book, which version you like better. If you like a good love story, then go ahead and see the movie but if you're looking for more I highly encourage you to read the book.
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