So last night I had a girls night with a friend of mine. We went for sushi, and went to see a chick flick, "Dear John".
Ok, so I wasn't expecting this to be a great movie or anything; sappy romantic war movie starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, neither of whom can act well. But at least there would be Channing Tatum with his shirt off, surfing.
Terrible, terrible story line! From beginning to end.
Now because I don't think anyone should waste their hard earned dollars on seeing this in a theater, heck even renting it, I will summarize the plot for you.
It starts off with Channing Tatum surfing. Then he is on the dock staring out at the sea. Enter Amanda Seyfried, another girl, and two blokes. One bloke knocks Amanda Seyfried (Savannah)'s purse into the ocean. "Oh no, my life is in there!". So the bloke (Randy) takes off running down the dock. Channing Tatum (John) jumps off the dock, swims down and gets her bag. Randy is upset he doesn't save the day. He likes Savannah. So here is the meet cue of course. Savannah asks John to come over to her house (which is right on the beach) for dinner, or at least a beer. So he does. They are sitting on a log chatting when a kid runs up and puts his arms around Savannah. His Dad shows up soon enough. We find out that the Dad (Tim) is Savannah's next door neighbor. She has known the little boy (Alan) who is autistic since he was born. She is surprised when Alan says "Bye John" because he never talks to anyone but his family. They look up at the moon and John tells her that everywhere in the world the moon is only the size of your thumb, if you look up and close one eye. John has to go, but asks if he can see her tomorrow. They say "I'll see you soon then".
Savannah meets John's Dad who is "odd" and is obsessed with his coin collection. John and him are not very close. John's mom left when he was young.
So they spend two weeks together and fall in love. Savannah is a university student, and decides she wants to teach special needs kids. She decides this because of Alan, and also because of Johns' Dad. John gets all upset that Savannah thinks his Dad is a "retard". She tries to defend herself and they get in a fight. The next day, John goes to her house, but she isn't home. Tim is outside, and offers to give Savannah a note. So John writes "I love you" on the back of Tim's water bill. Savannah is supposed to be leaving for school soon.
John is at home having lasagna dinner with his Dad (which is what his Dad makes every Sunday) when Savannah shows up. Ohhh they love each other! Fight over, and they promise to write to each other all the time. Savannah gives John a letter to read after she leaves. She is off to school, and John has one more year left in the army. John promises he will come back here and be with her forever after his year is up. Savannah makes him promise to write and tell her everything so that it is like they are always together.
So begins their handwritten love letter relationship. Often in these letters, they say "I'll see you soon then" or mention how they are looking up at the same moon, and it's the same size.
Just when John's year is up, September 11th happens. So of course, all his army buds want to re-enlist. They get a weekend off to mull it over. So John goes home to see Savannah and his Dad. Savannah takes him to her parents huge mansion for a dinner party. Randy is there, and John gets upset. But Randy comes over and apologizes for being a doosh to John the past Summer. He realizes now that Savannah will be staying with him long term. A short while later, Savannah gets very upset when she overhears her father and his friend talking to John about the war that will happen soon. She asks John if she has any say in the matter, and he tells her she doesn't understand. She runs off. He finds her and gets all emotional saying he doesn't know what to do. So they have sex.
Then Savannah and John's Dad see him off at the airport. Commence handwritten love letter relationship.
Then Savannah's letters stop coming for a couple months. He finally gets a letter from her. She tells him that this is the hardest thing that she has ever had to do, but she has found someone else. She couldn't live without him. She is engaged. What?
So of course John burns all her letters. An army buddy chats with him, and asks if he has any idea who she is with. John thinks she is with Randy. Then he gets himself shot. 3 months later, he wants to be back in the army. The Commander is reluctant, but realizes John is adamant. So John goes back to the heart of the action. Then he is told that his orders are to go home for awhile.
He goes home to find that his Dad has had a stroke. He feels very guilty for not being around. He writes his Dad a letter, and reads it to him in the hospital. He gets very emotional while reading it. Just before he blacked out after being shot, he thought of a trip his Dad and him took where they learned about coins. John found a rare coin, and that is what started his Dad's obsession with coins. He tells his Dad the last thing he though of was him (through sobs). That was the only part of the film I found touching.
Then he is in a funeral home alone. His father has died, and no one is at the funeral. After the funeral, he goes to see Savannah at her barn. She finds out his Dad has died, and is not very convincing with acting shocked and sad. She invites John into her home. Her husband calls, and John sees a wedding picture. But wait, Savannah didn't marry Randy, she married Tim!! Savannah tells John that Tim has stage 4 cancer, and would like to see John. So off to the hospital they go.
Tim tells John that he understands if John wants to hurt him. He apologizes for what happened, and how (with John being overseas). He tells John that Savannah still loves him, you can see it all over her face. And that Savannah has never looked at him they way she used to look at you, John. Tim is happy that he knows his son Alan will be in good hands.
Savannah and John go back to her house. They have dinner. Savannah tells him how the money ran out so fast with Tim's medical bills. Her parents sold their beach house. She mentions a test drug he hasn't tried. It is so obvious that John is going to sell his father's coin collection for Tim.
Anyways. So they have dinner, and there are many awkward moments because we all know they still love each other. Finally John gets upset, and asks Savannah why she didn't call him. Didn't he deserve more than a letter? Didn't he deserve the chance to try and change her mind? She tells him that if she had heard his voice, she would have reconsidered. She told him she had no choice. Tim was sick, and he and Alan needed her. She tells John she had no choice, it was not what she wanted. She gets very emotional, and John hugs her and tells her he knows. John says he has to leave. Savannah says "see you soon then" and wants John to say it back. They look at each other for awhile, and John says "goodbye Savannah". He leaves, and she starts crying.
John takes all his fathers coins to the man who told John and his father how much the rare coin was worth that John had found when he was about 8 years old. It was worth $4,000 at that time, and would be worth way more if they kept the coin in their family for a few generations. That coin was the catalyst of John's father's obsession with coins which eventually led to the poor relationship between father and son. John's Dad began going to all the coin shows, and spending lots of money on collecting coins, and John got very fed up with it. Anyways. So John asks this man if he is still interested in buying his fathers coin collection. He only wants to keep that original coin which is sentimental to him.
Fast forward. John is back in the army in some country. He gets a letter from Savannah. She has not written a letter in 5 years. She tells him that a few weeks after he left, Tim received an anonymous donation enabling him to go home and spend his last 2 months with her and Alan. He was able to have more time, and say goodbye. She tells him that she knows she lost the privilege of knowing everything a long time ago, but there was one thing she was sure of "I'll see you soon then".
Fast forward again. John is back in some city and is locking his bike up outside a coffee shop. Savannah is in the coffee shop. They smile at each other. Savannah rushes out of the shop and into John's arms.
End of movie.
So first off, the love story had no spark in it. I did not feel a connection to the characters nor did I get that mushy gushy feeling from their love story.
Then Savannah randomly marries Tim who has got to be at least 10-15 years older than her. Nothing wrong with an age difference, but what the heck?
Then the story goes on and on and on. And then they get back together, after everything? And there is no real explanation. You don't really know if they decided to get back together after John was done with the army or if they just randomly ran into each other and were still in love, after so many years. And what happens to Tim's kid, Savannah's step son? Sigh.
How do you go from The Notebook to this?? I would sure like to know. Maybe it was just a really bad adaptation of the book, but still.
Two thumbs down.