Dear John (12A)

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The Independent Culture

Lasse Hallström's extraordinarily dull and earnest romantic drama stars Channing Tatum as a brooding hulk, and Amanda Seyfried as the petite southern belle he meets on the beach.

He's a soldier on leave. She's a college student on spring break. "Two weeks together! That's all it took. Two weeks for me to fall in love with you," she gushes. The dialogue is underpinned by mawkish piano music. He goes off to war. She goes back to study. 9/11 happens. Various plot contrivances (autistic relatives, cancer-stricken friends, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq etc) ensure the couple drift apart. This is an epistolary movie and Hallström's craftsmanship can't disguise how torpid this all is.