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VINE VOICEon June 15, 2010
"Dear John" is a poignant movie, especially for a veteran or the family of those who serve in our armed forces. This film presents the picture of a budding romance between a soldier and his civilian sweetheart. The movie portrays the life of a deployed soldier, and the pressures that occur as the demands of the military clash with the world on the home front.

The story begins as John Tyree, played by Channing Tatum, meets Savannah, played by Amanda Seyfried. John and Savannah fall in love, and reluctantly part as John returns for his last year of commitment to the military. Unfortunately the 9-11 attacks happen and John extends to support his country in war. The continuing separation places great strain on John and Savannah's relationship.

This movie teaches lessons in communication. John and Savannah have difficulty communicating their deep feelings and intentions. They know they love each other, but struggle with revealing their feelings and uncovering the barriers to understanding each other. This leads to making assumptions concerning the other persons intentions and feelings. The bad communication affects their relationship.

As a military veteran I found the scenes of John on active duty very realistic. John is a "special forces" soldier assigned to a special forces team. The attitudes and actions of John and his comrades is impressive in its accuracy and aura.

"Dear John" relates a great story and tells it well. I highly recommend this film.
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on April 6, 2010
I saw the movie in theaters the weekend after it opened. I was extremely excited, it was something I had been waiting on for weeks. Some of my friends had told me they did not like it or it was not what they expected, even hearing that I was disappointed. About 30 minutes into the movie I started crying and it continued the remainder of the movie. Dear John, touched my heart in a way no movie has in a long time, I felt connected with the characters. I recommended this movie to all my friends and I recommend it to you too! It was everything I expected and more! :)
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VINE VOICEon April 15, 2010
Dear John,

I don't know how to tip-toe around this, so I'm going to come right out and say it: I'm a selfish whore.

Waiting around for you has been pure hell. So frustrating! OMG. You think YOU have it tough over there (wherever you are), living here in my parents' multimillion dollar plantation estate is agony you can't imagine. I mean, which of the eight rooms do I sleep in?! Ugh. And that's not even going into the summer house with a beach-front view. It's so depressing.

Anyway, remember Tim? Yeah, well, he needs me or something because he got sick and his son Alan is autistic. Sure, my parents could have donated tons of money, and I have more time than I know what to do with, but that's just not enough for Tim and his son. So, we're getting married, and that's why I haven't written in weeks. My bad. Talk about something that makes no sense at all! I'm morally bankrupt, so I clearly can't empathize with how this decision will hurt you, but it's cool, because you still have your dad, who's kind of like Alan. Wow. I never thought of it that way. You and Tim both care for an autistic person in some way, yet I'm choosing a family friend instead of my boyfriend. Weird coincidence, huh? But my decision is made; true, moon-crossed love comes in a distant second. Simply giving Tim my time, my family's financial support, our access to top-notch physicians (given my widely spaced eyes, we clearly have had a difficult time finding a superb optometrist), and all the other benefits of being wealthy is not sufficient. They need me more than I love you. After all, how else do you explain a single father with an autistic kid moving in amongst the aristocracy like my family? As if! They NEED me.

Anywho, remember when I told you not to tell me what I don't know? Well, bullets flying around must be scary, and that whole 9/11 thing must really affect you as a Special Forces soldier, but you made the wrong decision. Besides, arranging an entire wedding - not to mention dodging all the bridesmaid wannabes - is real behind the lines, Medal of Honor stuff! I can relate. My BFF Jill has been blowing up my cell with all sorts of gown pictures and flower arrangements. LOL

I should probably be more emotional about this all, but it's beyond my range (you know how I wane and lose steam when dealing with complicated and mature subjects). Even if I wanted to, I couldn't act convincingly sad, or anything like that. I thought the same of you, especially during that confusing moment with me before you went back to play Army, when you wore your heart on your sleeve (and your rank upside down) but it wasn't apparent what emotion it was. Next time you are really emotional, you should tell your face. Besides, it's clear that nobody with a heart could actually take my side in all this, since essentially what I'm doing is breaking your heart and devouring your soul through aggravatingly slow, mushy letters that are shallow as a thimble. It's almost like this was written by a writer who has perfected a saccharin storyline with implausible details.

But I'm sure you'd show deeper emotional range if something happened to your father. Speaking of your dad, could he be any weirder? I mean, I'm cool with "fun" autism, where it's all riding horses and entertaining kids in helmets, but your dad's different. I'm caring, but even I have my limits. It's almost as if he's acting; and, if so, he's a great actor...like Richard Jenkins. You? Not so much. Also, I hate lasagna FYI.

Oh, BTW, remember that Mule you and your father told me about? Well, Tim has a mule of his own. ;)

See you soon,
Savannah
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Being a big fan of the ultra talented Amanda Seyfried, It pains me to admit that I was disappointed with DEAR JOHN. I wasn't disappointed with the acting, but more-so the lack of direction and lack of story.

Ultimately, DEAR JOHN, was littered with montage after montage after montage. I have never seen so many montages used to get points across in my life. Thanks to these 'how to tell a story quickly' montages, we never feel the emotions behind it all. We get a montage to show how they fell in love. We get a montage to show how they seperated. We get a montage that shows how they kept in contact while John (Channing Tatum) is in the military. We get a montage that shows how 9/11 effected their lives and so on and so on. There are many more MONTAGES to follow... including the finale.

Montages are used to get across a lot of information at a time or to get across that someone is doing a lot of the same thing over and over. First of all, there wasn't an overabundance of story here that 14-20 montages were necessary. Yet, with all the montages there should have been a bonus feature montage of the montage to get across how the director used the montages to tell his entire story.

Dear John could have been so, so much better had we truly spent some quality time with the characters dealing with their time apart, had the director had faith in his actors to get across the information with their emotions and acting abilities. Yet, he didn't, and the result was an extended high dollar Hallmark Cards commercial with 'A' list actors.
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on November 11, 2011
I judge movies based on character driven or plot driven styles of presentation. This was definitely character driven. When after watching a movie I later think about the people and their issues, I give it high marks. Most of the time after watching modern movies, I never give them another thought except, 'glad it was over'. This one got me thinking about John having to make a very painful decision to stay with his Special Forces team in order to defend the country against terror. Savannah's character was developed as a philanthropist who felt the need to be close to her best child-hood friend who was critically ill. (Florence Nightingale effect) I began thinking about Casablanca and Rick's famous quote, "the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." He had to let go of his love interest as well. So, Nicholas Sparks explores these issues without being preachy and forces one to internalize them. You won't come away with a ray of sunshine but with a deeper understanding of how people can let go of something very precious in their lives for a greater good.
As for the acting; I felt that both Channing and Amanda gave very honest performances. Most scenes were performed with diverse facial expressions rather than wordy retorts. I was amazed at Channing's range. The Barn scene especially was overwhelming to me when he told Amanda that his father had passed in such a way that it really shook me. Amanda rarely repeated a gesture or expression throughout the movie. You saw a different side of her in every scene. For as young as she is, she understands humanity to a degree very few people learn in a lifetime.
Debra Lurie did a wonderful job on the music. The melody was appropriate to the story and her use of dynamics during emotional scenes lifted the moment to a proper degree. My favorite musical moment was when John said 'goodbye' instead, 'see you again soon?' Debra used a classical guitar to set up the scene, and then blended in a full orchestra at the most poignant moment. It was emotionally overwhelming to me.
I concluded that quite a bit of thought went into these little subtleties and to me it made a big difference in how the movie came across. I don't know about you but I am pretty weary of CGI. Its good to see something which centers on the people in the story.
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on October 27, 2015
Ah, young love. Nicholas Sparks seems adept at reminding those of us so far past this point in our lives how exciting, and sometimes heartbreaking, it was to be in love at that age. This movie adaptation of his book is no exception. The story is sweet, the actors are believable, and the pace of storytelling is good. Worth the watch.
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on April 15, 2012
I'm going to come out and say it, as a guy I do enjoy reading Nicholas Sparks's novels from time to time. They're short, sweet, and uncomplicated which helps pass the time when there's nothing to do and I'm too lazy to go out. As of this writting, I've started The Lucky One. And I do look forward to seeing the movies made based off his work. Unfortunately, Dear John isn't one of his best efforts.

While on leave in his home town, John meets Savanah and the two hit it off pretty fast. Unfortunately for this pair of star-crossed lovers, 9/11 happens and John volunteers to go back to his military duties indefinitely which puts a huge damper on their relationship. So the pair try to remain true to one another by writting sappy, syruppy love letters. But over time the vast distance and not knowing when, or if, John will return begin to wear them down and soon Savanah's letters arrive less and less frequently until one day he receives the title letter which everyone knows is a breakup letter.

I'm not 100% sure why I didn't like this movie. Maybe I just really didn't give it a chance but I just could not focus my attention on the movie. I love Amanda Seyfried but she seems so lost and out of place here. Channing Tatum is completely miscast here as John. He comes off wooden and mumbles his lines so much that I had to turn on the subtitles just to understand what he was saying. Richard Jenkins is wasted here as well and Henry Thomas was the wrong choice to play the part of the man who comes in between. And what the hell kind of ending was that? To do what he does and all for what? That she'll sit and talk with him again? Skip this one entirely.
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on December 2, 2015
I forgot how good this movie was! I'm in the military myself and did a tour in Afghanistan only 2 months after getting married, so I know how hard it is to be away from that special person. Choosing between the love you have for your country and the love you have for a single person is so hard. It reminds us that life isn't always easy and we have to make choices. Savannah faced a similar choice at the end when she had to chose between John and the well being of a child who needed her, but I know that she knew that if she and John were meant to be together, eventually they would be. Pull out the tissues because I cried for most of the second half of the movie. I think the roles were casted perfectly and were a great portrayal of the struggles many face in life.
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VINE VOICEon June 15, 2014
I know I've seen better movies but not ones I love more. I love "Dear John" and all its riffs. When I was in the eighth grade, I read "Gone With the Wind" for the first time. Over the next few years I read it a total of five times, mainly seeking a different ending, but, of course, there isn't one. "Frankly, I don't give a damn" will always be that last retort. However, a different ending does occur in "Dear John" and I watch the movie just to see it again and again.

Besides, the beautiful Channing Tatum and the gorgeous Amanda Seigfried make up the good-looking couple who bond almost immediately in the story. The way he touches her, the way she looks at him just seem so real (or I want it to be real). Tenderness, gentility, thoughtfulness braid through the story, revealing through both their characters.

In three weeks the "summer romance" ends: she goes back to college, he returns to duty in the Middle East. Before they part, they decide to write of their lives in their letters, to continue to develop on paper what they cannot in flesh. Their words of choice in parting: "See you soon then?"

It's not an easy romance. One thing after the other interrupts this distance relationship, all good reasons, all understandable. Yet, still, everything is on hold. How long can such a love last? Additionally, John's father is autistic; Savannah's longtime neighbor male friend also has an autistic son. All play roles in this love story.

Tears, tears, tears--after all, this is a Nicholas Sparks story. However, let me declare now, neither of the main characters dies. When the ending comes, it comes quietly, gently, and so understated. Perfect! It's not a perfect love story, but it is most assuredly a worthy one!
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on August 6, 2012
I had pretty high hopes for this movie, since I watched and loved The Notebook. It started it out pretty well, and I thought the movie would continue to do so. However, toward the ending, I really was not impressed. The whole conflict between John and Savannah is one Nicholas Sparks failed to research in the slightest before publicizing on such a grand scale. SPOILER ALERT... The supposed reason that Savannah abandons John while he is fighting for his country is that Alan, the boy with autism, will need support after his father dies. All that needed to be done was for Alan's father to assign Savannah as legal guardian to Alan and fill out the legal documents so that she will be able to care for him. Instead, Savannah uses the opportunity to start a romantic relationship with Alan's dad and proceed to marry him (which still does not make Alan her legal son - she would have to adopt him). So, overall, Savannah uses the situation as an excuse to leave John, and start a new romantic relationship, which would not have been at all necessary. That part really upset me. At the very end, John and Savannah make up, but it is such a dull ending that it does not make up for the ill-researched climactic conflict - which is a huge part of the story. It was still, overall, an entertaining movie with some touching moments. It's just hard to feel compassion for Savannah when she leaves a soldier while he is at war for a bogus reason (meaning that she didn't have to abandon John in order to support Alan and his dad). I'm a little disappointed.
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