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Dear John

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
Here’s another pathologically pleasant melodrama from Lasse Hallström (‘Hachi: A Dog’s Tale’); this one is adapted from a weepy by Nicholas Sparks, author of ‘The Notebook’ and ‘Nights in Rodanthe’, so comes infected with a fatal strain of Sunday school sanctimony. It’s an elegantly doomed love story with Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried (‘Mamma Mia!’): a couple so wholesomely, handsomely American they ought to come with a made-by-Mattel stamp.

He is a soldier on leave from the Green Berets visiting his awkward coin-collecting dad; she’s a student. They meet on a beach in South Carolina. Cue a two-week romance filmed something like a feminine hygiene advert: sunshiny and breezy, his bronzed beefcake chest, her lithe limbs. There’s some coy intimate relations and seriously articulate let’s-make-the-world-a-better place chats. She tells him she wants to set up a summer camp for kids with autism; he’s only got a year left to serve. They promise to write. It’s all looking peachy. At which point you expect one of them to pipe up: ‘Gee, aren’t we meant to be, like, elegantly doomed or something?’

Enter 9/11, rudely upsetting the course of true love. He re-enlists for another tour, she waits. War, death, illness, this film has its fair share of all three. Which, never mind anything so complicated as grief or post-traumatic stress, provide ample opportunity for great swells of goodness and beatific smiles; even the Dear John letter of the title is written in an act of heroic self-sacrifice. A sucker for a cheap sob, it left me cold.
Written by Cath Clarke

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 16 April 2010
  • Duration:108 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Lasse Hallström
  • Cast:
    • Channing Tatum
    • Amanda Seyfried
    • Richard Jenkins
    • Henry Thomas
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