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Perhaps it’s not a cult classic among romantic films or movies in general. But Hollywood and its audience adore a good love story picture. That’s why movies like Dear John end up being seen by millions of curious people who love a beautiful movie on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Let’s look at some aspects of the film and above all, explore some of the best movies like Dear John you can enjoy. Some of them are true classics and others may surprise you.
Movies Like Dear John – Understanding Lasse Hallström
A great dash of quality from an extraordinarily talented eye
Since he arrived in Hollywood from cold Sweden, Lasse Hallström has become an effective craftsman, capable of getting involved in any project he is asked to do without making too many objections about the genre. Nevertheless, melodrama seems to be one of his specialties. Titles such as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules, Chocolat, or Hachi: A Dogs Tale proves this.
Knowing the ability of the Swede to provoke tears, the American producers commissioned him to make Dear John, a youthful melodrama based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, a romance novel author who seems to have conquered filmmakers with his romantic stories. His texts have inspired films such as Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, The Lucky One, or The Longest Ride.
The mixture of Hallström’s impersonal style and the usual patterns of films based on Sparks’ novels, where the corresponding romantic plot is combined with the ever-helpful appeals to deadly diseases and family relationships, results in a classic melodrama for teenage consumption.
The film tells the story of a soldier named John (Channing Tatum) who falls in love with Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) during a vacation.
However, the relationship between the two young lovers is interrupted when the man leaves to fight in Afghanistan. Hence, both keep their love alive through the letters they send each other. As usual, the couple’s love story suffers the various and well-known setbacks of life.
As if that weren’t enough, some of the lovebirds’ loved ones suffer from more or less serious illnesses, something very useful if you want to make the viewer cry.
A millimetric recipe for emotions
Blockbuster names for a home run at the box office
Hallström simply follows the patterns of a film aimed at young audiences step by step. The director takes care that Channing Tatum comes out a few times showing off his torso, gets the pop songs on the soundtrack clearly heard, and includes a typical sex scene in the rain of unmistakable publicity value.
Nevertheless, and despite Tatum’s somewhat marble-like performance, the European director gets a more than solid acting job from a large part of his cast, where a more than a stellar interpretation of the always effective Amanda Seyfried stands out, seconded by a tight Richard Jenkins, in the role of the autistic father of the young protagonist, and Henry Thomas, playing an old friend of the girl.
Thus, we have an intimate story, full of photographic postcards and sentimental songs that, tenderly, narrate the emotions and nostalgia that invade John and Savannah throughout their epistolary relationship.
To such an extent is this story enhanced that it’s lacking the attention and importance given to other circumstantial facts. Those that at first sight is more important than the languid love on which the script is centered.
Our last puppy-love words
Here’s what we think, without crocodile tears
The movie is not a wonder, you know that. Dear John can be watched with the right amount of curiosity and at the right time, although it doesn’t leave the biggest trace once it leaves the room. The film is far from the emotionality of romantic melodrama classics such as When Harry met Sally… or Something’s Gotta Give, but it does its job.
It’s in fact a perfectly executed and studied product for a certain audience that seeks easy emotions and happy endings without further complications. We only regret the missed opportunity the film had about Richard Jenkins and his story about autism and imperfect coins, which would have made a much more interesting film.
Now comes that moment, which your eyes have longed to read. Here come our recommendations. We have classics, modern blockbusters, and some unknown lovebird movies, to immerse you under your favorite blanket with a box of tissues.
Movies Like Dear John – Our List
Behold, the Emperor of Hopeless Hearts
It’s an annual tradition. We go to the movies and see a poster of a couple looking into each other’s eyes with a sunset (usually made of colors that don’t exist naturally) that inspires that vocabulary that is so dear to our hearts: “complicity“, “burning romance” and “well-deserved vacations“.
We automatically think: “Wasn’t this film already released last year?” And we go to see one of the superheroes, which are all “very different from each other.”
Behind this cinematic stream of love before dinnertime is our beloved Nicholas Sparks, as we mentioned earlier. The Notebook is his Citizen Kane and the Godfather of all romantic movies about young couples who feel that burning desire.
Because it all started with The Notebook, that movie with the sparkling Rachel McAdams and the still relatively unheard of Ryan Gosling. Both captivated basically anyone who saw it. After watching this movaie, many of us felt like being the potential audience for Nicholas Sparks’ work. Due to its comfortable predictability of the love story, which shines brighter than ever in this flick.
The protagonists are convincing as the typical couple who argue constantly because he loves to tease her and she has no sense of humor. But as soon as he does something childish, she throws her arms once more around him. We all have friends like that, and that’s perhaps one of the reasons why this movie is so relatable.
When Harry met Sally…
Classic Love Soul Food in New York
Although probably not needed, as it’s a legendary enough romantic comedy not to deserve even praise, this goes to all film fans who, like us, discovered When Harry met Sally… far beyond its time and release date and began to believe in the contemporary romantic comedy.
The film was directed by Rob Reiner and written by the lovely Nora Ephron, and it aged perfectly. And that’s as good or as absurd a reason as any for an unconditional declaration of love.
It’s a masterpiece as well for its “Woody Allenity” (in the good sense). In his skeptical commentary, Jonathan Rosenbaum said that “everything from music to dialogue strives to create the atmosphere of Manhattan or Annie Hall.” And it’s rigorously true: it’s the only “Allenity” imitation that probably works. But that’s not even one of the most important features of the film. Because it’s so much more than that.
The film brings together two stellar actors at their prime and also that nostalgic atmosphere of a lovely and classic Big Apple. It’s a pleasure to see this indulging romantic story between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal that flows through each frame, supporting itself on comedy and beautiful storytelling. No one, and we mean no one, remains indifferent to this romantic icon.
Me Before You
The Mother of Dragons Original Screenwriting
The great romantic picture of the summer of 2016 was Me Before You in which we saw an Emilia Clarke far from her role in the show Game of Thrones. In the film adaptation of the novel by Jojo Moyes, she brings to life Lou Clarke, a young woman who has given up her dreams to support her family with her precarious job.
Far from being discouraged when she is fired unexpectedly, she finds a job that will change her life: caring for Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a quadriplegic man who has lost the will to live.
The script, written by Jojo Moyes herself, is faithful to the spirit of the novel (as expected) by transferring Lou’s candor to the big screen with remarkable ease but also carrying beautifully all the clichés of the genre that only those who enjoy melodramas of this caliber will really appreciate.
The famous ingredients: an impossible, ideal, and perhaps platonic love, between a woman who is all about innocence, tenderness, joy, and good vibes.
At certain moments, Me Before You perhaps recreates itself too much in the topic. What makes this movie so interesting is the translation from the book into images because what we all want in the end is the old story in which a man has to spread his wings to a woman so that she can fly.
Love over Time, Equals a Great Movie Recipe
Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (yes, Sam Clafin again) have been friends since childhood. They share everything, hobbies, way of seeing life, and the most unmentionable secrets.
They understand each other with their eyes… even so, having everything that so many people look for throughout their lives, none of them dares to take the definitive step that will turn that idyllic friendship into a perfect couple’s relationship.
The typical fear that comes from thinking that a boy-girl friendship is ruined as soon as sex enters the picture, overriding any progress in such a relationship towards something bigger.
In this case, both actors physical attraction is visible from the first moment. But the fear mentioned before and the other one, the one of rejection and later distancing, makes the opportunity to be happy or to be better before harder than ever. However in Love, Rosie, the inevitable is to end up happily paired with the love of your life, no matter how twisted.
We would also like to emphasize the shining light in this movie. We’re referring to Lily Collins. She’s one of those precious stones that shine brighter when set in matte silver and not in mega-bright gold.
The director Christian Ditter captured perfectly how Collins shines on the street, with a pair of jeans, a white T-shirt, a pair of converse, and a ponytail. She has that everyday appeal, that brings out the essence and joy of the movie.
A Star is Born
The Return of a Beloved Cult Classic
There is a clear tendency to despise remakes before seeing them. It’s true that the original work may even be a masterpiece and that one considers it literally impossible to improve it, but one must also accept that most stories can be told in another way.
Sure, it’s also true that a few are not worth it, either by trying to be mere clones without personality or directly disasters that sink all possibilities the starting material.
In the case of A Star is Born we had already seen two remakes of the film directed by William A. Wellman in 1937 and surely everyone has his favorite, but over the years it had become clear that it was a story that could be told again and maintain all its strength.
Now it was Bradley Cooper who wanted to tell it again, based more on the 1976 version than on the previous ones, and the result is a first-rate romantic musical.
Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a music star, visits a bar because he wants to extend the night instead of going home, and there he meets Allie (Lady Gaga), an unknown singer who didn’t get the opportunity her talent deserved because of her physical appearance.
It doesn’t take long for the chemistry to kick in, as he gives her her first chance to perform in front of an audience in one of the film’s best scenes, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
To be Bradley Cooper’s first opera as a director, it’s surprising to see the meticulous work involved in the staging, knowing how to capture the strength and magic of performance while transmitting it to the audience, but without ever leaving aside the intimacy of the performance and how this is reflected in the performers.
This is something we already see at the beginning of the film with Jackson’s performance before his battered physical and emotional situation enters the scene.
The Fault in our Stars
Emotional Love P****graphy
There are several times when we’ve tried to think about how many films with a conventional narrative have completely avoided introducing a love story into the story they want to tell us.
It’s logical considering that we are before a universal feeling with which everyone can identify in one way or another, but if there are already many who say that the cinema has dealt with all the stories it could tell us, that reaches levels of irrefutable truth in everything related to love.
In the end, the key is to get the audience excited, although sometimes you have to pay too high a price to achieve it. We here must confess that we haven’t read the novel on which The Fault in our Stars is based on. But it was worthwhile because Josh Boone, its director, was on the verge of making one of the best films among the year 2014.
We are aware of how bluntly the concept of emotional pornography is used in the headline of this recommendation, but even its most fervent defenders will have to admit that The Fault in our Stars constantly and brazenly finds our tears.
The key is to consider whether or not they do so face-on with pure cinematic emotional magic. We are delighted to become part of this emotional experience, but the film also delights viewers thanks to the fantastic work of its two protagonists.
The film was shot in 2009 in Charleston, South Carolina.
Yes, however, while audiences loved the film’s hopeful ending, Dear John had a different ending, that was faithful to the original book. It was changed just a few days before the film’s release.
Yes, Dear John is now available on American Netflix. It arrived for online streaming on May 2, 2020.
Yes, Todd Vance, 28, an Army veteran who lives in North Park, is the real person upon whom the lead in the recently released Dear John movie is based. Vance’s cousin is author Nicholas Sparks, who wrote the Dear John novel.
A Dear John letter is a letter written to a man by his wife or romantic partner to inform him their relationship is over because she has found another lover.
Movies Like Dear John – Conclusion
We all know that classic love movies are filled with clichés. But that’s also one of its charms that has made this genre last and transform as we know it today. Of course, there are films that do not go beyond a lazy Sunday afternoon, but with enough interest, you can find some of the most remarkable jewels in the history of cinema.
In the golden age of Hollywood, romantic pictures dominated what seemed to be an eternity in all cinemas. Some of the most iconic names of the big screen paid their tributes to this genre and that’s why we’ll always have to respect it and enjoy its magnificent and predictable clichés, which we dream about so much.
If you perhaps caught Dear John by luck and don’t know where to go next, grab one of our recommendations tonight and immerse yourself in some of the most powerful modern love stories. To make it easier for you, try The Notebook (obviously) or if you like autumn nostalgia, get ready to smile with When Harry met Sally…