If you’ve read my review of Dear John then you will know that I loved this book! And with the great adaptation of The Notebook (another of Nicholas Sparks novels) I had extremely high hopes for this film…sadly it fell short.
The film seemed only concerned with rushing through the bones of the story instead of capturing the heart and feeling of the novel. I understand that there are time restrictions when making films however, it just felt like a bunch of scenes stacked one on top of the other. Nothing felt seamless, there was no flow, I felt forced into believing something that I was only aware of because I had read the book. It did not translate well at all.
I was pretty disappointed in Savannah, she lost all of her magic from the book in fact I was pretty disappointed in John too. They didn’t seem to have anything about them, there was no character there, I don’t know if they lost it because of casting or writing. Either way their relationship didn’t feel genuine and the truth is I didn’t really care what happened between them. There were moments however between John and his father that tugged at my heart strings. Although it lost the same focus it had in the book I still felt their uneasy relationship and John’s struggle to understand his father. I think I would have preferred to have watched a film based just on these two.
A big part of the emotional struggle in the book is seen through the letters and the ending. Neither of which lived up to what they should have been. The ending in particular, which went beyond the ending of the book, was not needed and felt wasted. If they had ended the film like the book then maybe they could have used the time to convince me of a loving relationship between John and Savannah.
I sometimes wish that I could watch films without having read the books (which is almost impossible). Maybe I would have enjoyed this film…though I highly doubt it. What I would say is if like me you loved the book, then the film just isn’t worth it. If however you want to watch this film and haven’t read the book then…read the book!