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:: Dear John

Dear John will be a very popular movie. Young women and teenage girls will fall in love with Channing Tatum. They will swoon over his chiselled jaw and pouty lips, and curl up on the couch to watch the DVD over and over again. He was pretty well known among the squeally set beforehand thanks to the Step Up movies, but now a star has well and truly been born.

It is the spring of 2001, and soldier John Tyree (Tatum) is home on holidays, or R&R as the military types like to call it. After an act of chivalry he meets Savannah (Amanda Seyfried), an apple pie blonde also on break from college, and after two wonderfully romantic weeks they are madly in love.

Alas, eventually John must rejoin the troops and Savannah has to go back to school. A promise is made to correspond by letters, and their romance manages to continue despite being separated by oceans. But with the fall of the World Trade Centre, John’s plans to return home after a year abroad is suddenly shattered and love by post becomes so much harder.

Letters are perhaps the most beautiful way to communicate with people, and they are the perfect way to convey the naïve and innocent love between these two. Also important is Richard Jenkins (Burn After Reading) playing John’s undiagnosed autistic father, as the most moving scenes are shared between the son and his dad.

The first part of the film moves along nicely, but the ending twist is just clumped together then dumped in front of the audience as if to say, “That will do,” with no consideration for narrative or nuance. However, suffering romantic fools probably won’t notice or care.

This is a very American film. The lovebirds hail from Charleston in the south. Savannah lives in a big white house with horses while John is an upstanding military man. A tick in every box as far as middle America is concerned which, assumingly, is why it managed to become the first to pip Avatar at the box office.