Dear John

John is a soldier in the US Army on leave at a beach in South Carolina when he meets and instantly bonds with a local girl named Savannah. The two quickly develop a connection and fall in love, yet John, stationed overseas, must return to his post. The new lovebirds continue their relationship through letters, eagerly waiting for the day that John will come home and they can be together again.

For a film that exposes some of the challenges faced by love and military life, “Dear John” is truly telling. However, the lack of plot points has a slowing effect on the pace of the film. At times I felt that “Dear John” was trying to maintain the same tone as Spark’s other films, purposely slowing down and drawing out the emotional moments, even when it seemed to harm the film’s overall pacing.

However, “Dear John” was less of a tearjerker than past films based on Nicholas Spark’s novels. Maybe it is this lack of strong emotional response that also left “Dear John” less than engrossing especially when considering Spark’s other and better-done adaptations like “A Walk to Remember” or “Nights in Rodanthe”. This film seemed less like a journey or story and more like an advertisement for the oiled abdominal muscles of leading male, John (Channing Tatum).

If you do manage to sit through the entire film, the story is quite good. And for anyone who is not a book reader this is one way to learn that tale and to better understand some of the challenges faced by long term, long distance relationships. For those who do avidly read, I am sure the book is the best way to experience this particular story although it won’t provide the muscled men.