Dear John

I know what you’re thinking cause I thought it too.  Here is how I got to seeing this movie.  I saw the trailer for it and I was like oh HELL no.  Then, I heard the song from the trailer on Pandora.  My ears perked up to this vaguely familiar, melancholy song – and I thought – hey, that’s a good song!  I had to listen to the song on repeat for a few days and then watch the trailer again.  That’s when I decided I actually needed to watch the movie.  And I’m glad I did.  Despite the horrendous preview (for my tastes), I sat through the movie, suspended by the good-looking actors and decent love story!  I do like to surprise myself from time to time, keeps me on my toes.

There are several crucial elements to this movie that makes it a good romance.  First of all, the leading lady, Amanda Seyfried, is a charming and intelligent young woman.  I can actually see why a stallion like Channing Tatum would fall madly in love with her in two weeks.  That’s the problem with many of these movies (eg The Notebook), I just don’t see what there is to love, but a pretty face.  Secondly, it’s not just about two lovebirds, but about other important relationships and priorities.  Channing Tatum’s father, played by Richard Jenkins, is a neurotic shut-in with autistic tendencies.  I appreciated the inclusion of people with disabilities with subltley and grace.  Fourth, I enjoyed the incorporation of 9/11 in the film.  I haven’t seen very many movies where the writer/director successfully includes an important, recent historic event.  Usually, it’s a complete distraction and utter failure (eg Benjamin Button).  But here, it fit well and flowed with the story.  I even enjoyed the moment it happened – a creative and subtle reenactment of the experience.  Maybe because it’s personal for me, but that’s almost exactly how I found out – on my way home from class in college.  Lastly, there’s an element of keepin it real that I like – I don’t wanna spoil anything, so I’ve got to limit it to that.  I think this movie is under-appreciated.  If you like romantic movies, go for it, watch Dear John… $5

If you like Dear John:

Recommendations from Yolkie:

Titantic
Ghost
Roman Holiday

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The Visitor

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The Visitor had a refreshing peek into the common fears and tragedies of an immigrant’s experience.  Most of the films I’ve seen surrounding the undocumented experience focus on the Latin American variety.  The focal point of The Visitor is on a young Muslim couple from two different countries: Syria and Senegal.  The movie doesn’t dwell so much on the hardships they faced as “illegals”.  Instead, much of the story follows the development of a wrinkly, old curmudgeon, played by Richard Jenkins, and his relationship with the undocumented couple.  Writer and director, Thomas McCarthy, demonstrated his talent for tender relationships among unlikely strangers in his last movie, The Station Agent.  He is able to capture the same beauty in this one.  What else do you need in a movie, aside from genuine, heartfelt relationships that keep you entranced?

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Overall, I really enjoyed following the characters and watching them perform.  There were times I felt the writing could be more realistic.  Certainly, the lighter, humorous moments were surprising and much appreciated in the scope of the traumatizing process that encompasses immigration… $9

If you heart The Visitor

Recommendations by Yolkie:
Dirty Pretty Things
Maria Full of Grace
The Station Agent

Trailer: The Visitor

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