Dear John, what happened? Box office hit a disappointment

After the success of The Notebook, the story line of the new film based on a Nicholas Spark’s novel, Dear John, should have developed into something more than a frustrating long-distance relationship with an ambiguous ending.

The film, starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, opens with attractive cinematography of the Charleston coast–and the lead actor–and entices the audience with the potential for a meaningful relationship between the token couple. 

Buying tickets with the expectation of enjoying a romantic tear-jerker, we were unexpectedly entranced not by the chemistry between John and Savannah–but by the distanced, yet loving, relationship between John and his father.

The film began with the typical guy-meets-girl story line, but we soon lost interest in their watered-down relationship. Their playful, flirtatious days spent at the beach during her Spring Break never amounted to Noah-and-Ali level of devotion in The Notebook.

John and Savannah gave it a shot when he was deployed to Iraq, but their correspondence through love letters came to an abrupt stop when she announced she could not wait anymore and was engaged to someone else. Seemingly, this setback could have been resolved if they were truly in love, but the ending left us with too many questions.

Instead, John’s struggle to understand his father was much more intriguing than the summer romance. He once shared his father’s interest in coin collecting, but after reaching high school and neglecting the hobby, John said, “There was nothing left to talk about.”

Possibly one of Savannah’s most important roles was helping John reconnect with his dad.

By the end of the film, John was inspired to finally communicate with his father and the man–who before would only nervously shake John’s hand–reached out to hug his crying son. 
Finally, anyone who has read Spark’s novel should be prepared for somewhat drastic changes to the characters of Tim and Alan, which affect the outcome of the story and influence the audiences’ reaction. Instead of understanding Savannah’s decision, we were simply disturbed by it.

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