Monday, February 8, 2010

Dear John

The Film: Dear John

The Actors: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Richard Jenkins, etc.

The Dealio: Young Army Special Forces dude, home on leave, meets young lady of his dreams...with a flair for 'doing good' and a much more complicated life than you can imagine. Then 9/11 happens and John Tyree (the 'Dear John' of the title) re-enlists and the couple decides to keep in touch by writing. I liked this whole notion way more when I was the chick doing the writing to my own personal, favorite military dude. However, what was interesting to me was the fact that our hero's dad, a passionate collector of coins, turns out to be autistic. Don't think I am spoiling anything by relating this in a review-it was mentioned in numerous reviews I read, and revealed early on in the movie. Richard Jenkins plays the dad, and I have been a fan of his work ever since I saw his directorial debut at the Trinity Rep in Providence, RI. The play in question? MACBETH! And his was a masterful reimagining of the tale brought into Rooseveltian, WWII sharp focus. This man emits talent with every move and shift in expression. In the movie on the table, for example, he manages to convey the something NQR (not quite right) by a soggily slumped posture, by the close scrutiny of everyone else's reactions, before coming up with one of his own. In one scene, he has left the foreground of the camera's eye completely, and, standing, back to the unfolding scene, manages to communicate more clearly what is happening, than the lead actors, stationed front and centre. Now...that's acting on a magnificent scale. Our two young leads are fine, but there seems to be some haste and casualness about the final denouement. It's as if the lyrical and talented director has had enough of these two, as well, and just wants to figure out a rapid purse string suture type of conclusion.

The Grading Session: 3.98 pengies out of 5. This is not a bad movie on a par with something like Ator The Fighting Eagle. This is just an average movie, so if you want something like that, perhaps as a palate cleanser- here ya go. PS- 100% of the audience, when I went to see this, was female. And 99.9% (I suspect you know who the hold-out was) were weeping and clapping by movie's end. Sigh. What is wrong with me? The soundtrack included two songs I truly love- especially Paperweight- so you know some of the pengies went thataway.

Lessons Learned: Sometimes a marginal book (yes, I did try to read this book, but couldn't move through it in time to finish before the film's release) results in a marginal movie.
Also- what does it say about a film- and the actors- when Richard Jenkins' back is the clear stand out in a scene meant to show the raw pain and emotion of the untimely parting of lovers?

1 comment:

  1. Where do you find the time to do all that you do? " cute, love it!!!"