Of course I liked The Notebook. I mean, I have ovaries, don’t I? (The answer is yes, I do.) But does that mean I want to see it retitled as Dear John? (For the answer, read on.)
For Dear John Nicholas Sparks draws on the same themes of first success. The author admits they are drawn from real life (What an interesting life!), but Nick isn’t too innocent; he’s up to the same tricks, preying upon feminine emotions, and is devilishly good at it, too.
The beginning of Dear John, especially does drag a bit. I have a feeling it is much better in novel form; it can’t be easy to portray on film how two people can fall in love in a short span of time and the two weeks that daughter of Charleston society Savannah and soldier with a past John feel like exactly two weeks.
However the story may drag in parts, though, it does get much more interesting than the title indicates. This is not the typical Dear John story; there is a sub plot with a twist that will hit bones as tender as a lost first love.
The main plot, of course, is predictable: young couple falls impulsively in love, circumstances beyond their control separate them, they make foolish decisions, they are reunited and they realize that they are still in love and have even more obstacles to overcome. But these events are not the “tricks” up the author’s sleeve. Oh, no. If the timeless story does not get you the landscape will. The scenes under the moon will. The love letters will. The making out in an unfinished house while it’s raining (again) will get you. I know. Cheap tricks. And that’s not to mention how Savannah falls in love with John in the first place: he dives into the water to save her purse.
The resolution of the main plot seems a bit too perfect and wishful. As a viewer I felt as though during the last half of the film, I was experiencing John’s daydreams and not his reality. He seems to get everything he wants which makes for a great life but not necessarily a great story. Great stories don’t have an obvious resolution.
So I guess my answer is, this film is worth watching if you don’t mind trudging through some boring parts to watch the good ones. I don’t want to spoil the story, but trust me: it is a sweet surprise.