Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lasse Hallström|
|Produced by||Marty Bowen
|Written by||Jamie Linden
Nicholas Sparks (Novel)
|Music by||Deborah Lurie|
|Editing by||Kristina Boden|
Temple Hill Productions
|Distributed by||Screen Gems|
|Release date(s)||February 5, 2010|
|Running time||105 minutes|
Dear John is an American romantic drama/war film starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried. It was released theatrically in North America on February 5, 2010. Directed by Lasse Hallström, the film is an adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' novel of the same name. It shows the life of a soldier (Channing Tatum) after he falls in love with a young woman (Amanda Seyfried). They decide to exchange letters to each other after he is deployed to the war.
The movie opens with John Tyree, a young soldier from the Army Special Forces, lying on the ground in his army gear with gunshot wounds. Coins begin to fall over him as he recalls a childhood trip to the U.S. Coin mint. He goes on to compare himself to a coin in the United States of America's army and states that the last thing he thought about before he blacked out, was "you".
In 2000, John is on leave when he meets Savannah Lynn Curtis, a college student on spring break. In a matter of days, Savannah and John fall in love. John meets Savannah's family as well as her neighbor Tim and Tim's autistic son, Alan, who looks up to Savannah. Savannah meets and befriends John's father, a reclusive man who is only interested in his coin collection. John tells Savannah that his father has always been obsessed with coins and has not been much of a father to John, whose mother is not in the picture. Savannah mentions to John, that his father, like Alan, may have a developmental disorder, Asperger's. This upsets John, who believes Savannah is calling his father retarded. He is so caught up in his anger that he gets into a fight with Savannah's rich neighbor, Randy, accidentally punching Tim in the process. John apologizes to Tim the next day and leaves Savannah a note, seeking her forgiveness before his leave comes to an end. Savannah gets the note, and they spend one last day together. John returns to the army and he and Savannah begin a long distance relationship through handwritten letters. John believes that year will be his final year of enlistment, but, following the September 11 attacks, is torn between returning home and his sense of duty. He is given eighteen hours off, which he spends with Savannah and her family as well as with his father. He asks Savannah for her opinion on whether or not he should re-enlist, and she tells him to do what he feels is right. Like the rest of the soldiers in his unit, John chooses to re-enlist.
Over the next two years, John faces increasingly dangerous missions and begins to live almost entirely for Savannah's letters. However, John and Savannah find themselves drifting apart. Finally, Savannah, sad but resigned, sends John a Dear John letter, informing him that she has become engaged to someone else. John is deeply depressed and frustrated by the news, and believes she is engaged to Randy. On a mission, he enters a dangerous area and is shot several times by an enemy. His captain suggests that John go home and spend time with his father, but John, still upset about Savannah, chooses to re-enlist again. He decides that he will make a career in the Army and stay enlisted for as long as possible. He is informed after another mission that he is being sent home, because his father has had a stroke. John spends the last few days of his father's life by his side, and writes him a letter. His father has difficulty opening it, so John reads it to him. It is then that the viewers find out that John's speech at the beginning of the film addressed his father, not Savannah. He and his father connect in a tearful moment, and his father dies. John decides to go see Savannah, and discovers she married Tim, not her rich friend. Savannah tells him Tim has cancer, and is not allowed to leave the hospital. She says that the only way he can come home is by having an experimental drug that they cannot afford. John visits Tim in the hospital and leaves Savannah. John then sells his father's coin collection and donates the money anonymously to finance Tim's operation. The next scene shows John back with his unit as he uses one of his father's coins to use for "fate", John then gets an unexpected letter from Savannah. In the letter Savannah writes about how she knows that John sold his father's coin collection to help Tim with his operation and thanks him for doing so. Tim, however, dies after 2 months. Moved from Savannah's letter,John gets a new lease on life and decides to leave the Army after his last tour. In the last scene of the film, John sees Savannah on the street and they embrace.
A soundtrack album containing songs was released on February 2, 2010 from Relativity Media Group, and a score album was released digitally the same day.
The film has received mixed, mostly negative reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 28% of 95 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 4.3 out of 10. Among Rotten Tomatoes' "Top Critics", which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 20%, based on a sample of 25 reviews. The site's general consensus is that "Built from many of the same ingredients as other Nicholas Sparks tearjerkers, Dear John suffers from its cliched framework, as well as Lasse Hallstrom's curiously detached directing." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 1–100 reviews from film critics, has a rating score of 43 based on 33 reviews.
Dear John debuted as the No. 1 movie with $30,468,614 in its opening weekend, knocking off Avatar after seven weekends in first place. The film was the second highest debut for a film opening Super Bowl weekend, just shy of Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert in 2008. It is reportedly the best debut for a film based on a Nicholas Sparks novel.
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