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Monday, August 30, 2010

Dear John and It's A Wonderful Afterlife

Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried
You can tell from the sappy DVD cover box the sort of film Dear John is. The design screams "The Notebook!", another story written by Nicholas Sparks, and indeed the story is very similar: two people who come from different walks of life fall in live and are tragically parted.

Special Forces Army Sergeant John Tyree (Channing Tatum) meets Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried) when he is on two weeks' leave from Germany. After a whirlwind two week romance, they pledge to write to each other every day until they are reunited in a year's time.

When the year is up, Tyree feels he has to stay with his unit because of 9/11. He and Savanah continue to write but then it peters out and she writes to say she is with another man. He later finds out it is someone he knew, a neighbour of Savannah's, who has terminal cancer.

It ebbs and flows quite nicely as a film but to me the most moving part of the story was a reconciliation between Tyree and his dad, whom Savannah believed has Asperger's syndrome. But it was one of those films I find frustrating because people don't say what they really think or believe, and suffer agonies for years because of what was unsaid.

Meanwhile I should have feared the worst with It's a Wonderful Afterlife, a comedy by Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) because it isn't available in Blu Ray and I don't recall it being released to the cinemas.

It is shockingly bad.

Sendhil Ramamurthy from It's a Wonderful Afterlife
In a nutshell, a mother obsessed with finding a husband for her overweight daughter (Shabana Azmi, who apparently gained 35 kilos for the part) runs into trouble with some departed spirits who can't pass over to the other side.

It's the sort of film that needed to be lightning fast to pass as an acceptable horror pastiche. It has an amusing spoof on Carrie,  for example. But it's directed in a very slow and painstaking way and you're just groaning inwardly and feeling sorry for some of the good actors caught up in it (Zoe Wanamaker, Sanjeev Baskar, Sally Hawkins from Happy Go Lucky). It's also disappointing for a female director to give the message that no matter how kind and loving you are, you have to lose weight if you're to have any claim on the handsome man (Sendhil Ramumurthy).
One to avoid folks!


Anonymous said...

I will be giving both a pass I'm afraid.

Java said...

I wanted to see Dear John but my son saw it and said it wasn't any good! Hate when you get all excited for a movie and then it isn't any good! Thanks for the info!