HOLLYWOOD —“Dear John” opens this weekend and is one of those great date films. The story surrounds the actor Channing Tatum as soldier John Tyree, and who knew Tatum could be such a magnificent leading man? Channing Tatum stars with Amanda Seyfried, and the film is about a couple that falls in love. However, Tatum’s character is in the army and is constantly deployed away from the woman he loves. For seven years they are constantly apart only to stay in touch through a stream of love letters. The studio states about the film, “It is a romantic drama about a soldier who falls for a conservative college student while he’s home on leave.”
The fact is, that synopsis would lead one to imagine the film is a romantic and sad film. Romantic it is, sad is a word I wouldn’t use to describe it. Poignant and thought-provoking are words I think describe this melodrama best. Swedish born Director Lasse Hallstrom best known for “Chocolat” and “Cider House Rules” really captures the story of love between Tatum’s John Tyree and Seyfried’s Savannah Curtis and the pair ignite on the screen in a story that is very loving and sensual without the overly sexual content many films with love stories seem to be fixated on today.
Having known soldiers and their loved ones who spend months at the time apart, I have always wondered how they remain so spiritually connected and on a level that must be deep and caring. This film showed how love letters can gap the great divide of distance and how kind and compassionate words to a soldier in a war zone can alter his/her state in order to maintain sanity in an almost hellish existence.
The film is not one that preaches or offers any instruction. It is a film that makes you believe that love can defy logic, distance, separation and keep two souls together despite all obstacles. Channing Tatum is superb in “Dear John” and gives a believable performance as an Army soldier, while Amanda Seyfried makes you want to hug her for Savannah’s devotion to the man she wants to spend her life with.
“Dear John” receives Five of Five Stars from this reviewer. It’s a movie every couple should see for Valentine’s Day.