Dear John

Year: 2010
Production Co: Screen Gems
Director: Lasse Hallström
Writer: Jamie Linden/Nicholas Sparks
Cast: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Richard Jenkins, Henry Thomas

Nicholas Sparks is as much a one-man film brand as Michael Bay or Woody Allen. The elements are a little bit interchangeable, but it's going to have a soldier, a dog, a boat and a misunderstanding.

Dear John has at least some of those. A pre-A list Channing Tatum is John, an army soldier who falls in love with Amanda Seyfried's Savannah during a summer by the water in Charleston. He only has one year left in his tour so while he's away he writes to her every day to express his love.

Then September 11 happens and everything changes for him as his buddies all talk about re-enlisting for extended tours. He knows he has to do the right thing too, but that it'll mean even longer before he and Savannah are together again when he gets the notorious letter of the title it guts him.

When John finally comes home and sees Savannah, the truth is more complicated than he imagined and to the film's (and presumably the book's) credit, it doesn't wrap things up neatly in a bow or have them riding off into the sunset. Until that point however, it's Sparksian gilded lillies all the way.

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