It's no secret that Nicholas Sparks has the tearjerker formula down to a science, and his latest book-turned-movie, Dear John, is no exception.
Based off of Sparks' 2006 novel, the movie follows the basic format of its predecessors such as The Notebook and A Walk to Remember: Boy and girl meet, fall in love, are then torn apart and weeping ensues. Dear John, although clichéd, does have a sweet essence to it and audiences will find themselves generally caring for the characters.
The story begins in the spring of 2001 in a South Carolina beachfront town. Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) is an innocent college student on spring break. John (Channing Tatum) is a tortured troublemaker-turned-soldier in the United States Army on a two-week leave from duty.
The two meet and quickly fall in love. Their two-week, love-soaked montage together swiftly comes to an end as they promise to write to each other and agree that when John's service is over in a year they will be reunited and live happily ever after.
Of course their story is thrown off-course when, in the wake of 9/11, John agrees to extend his tour. The distance becomes too much for Savannah and she moves on with her life and gets engaged, while John, heartbroken, continues to extend his tour even after being severely injured.
It is not until years later when John is forced to return home that there is closure between the two.
Seyfried plays the saintly Savannah effortlessly, sweet and kind enough without making you gag at someone so seemingly perfect. She is able to make you care for her, even after she breaks John's heart.
Tatum does a fine job as well, giving heart to the aloof John. The real star of this movie, though, is Richard Jenkins, who plays John's autistic single father. In fact, I almost enjoyed watching John's relationship with his father grow more so than his and Savannah's.
All in all, Dear John is the quintessential classic romantic movie relevant to the times. Although it does not offer anything necessarily innovating to the genre, it is still enjoyable and has the potential to become a date night classic.