First Hit: This film was designed to bring tears and evoke emotion which it does.
This was an obvious film from the beginning and stayed obvious to the end. I mean with a title like "Dear John" and the main character is in the Army, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out one of the story lines. It doesn’t necessarily mean it was a poor film; it is just means that the audience knows what's coming. And, frankly I enjoyed it.
Savannah’s (played by Amanda Seyfried) purse falls off the edge of pier, and John (played by Channing Tatum) was standing nearby and he jumps off the pier and recovers the purse. There is an instant attraction and so they start seeing each other.
They have two weeks of dating because they are both just visiting the area. During this time, as you suspect, their love for each other grows. However, she has to go back to school and he has to return to his Special Forces unit and head off to unknown places.
They stay connected by writing each other long letters. He promises to be back and out of the Army in a year, but then September 11th happens and he decides to stay in the Army, for the good of the cause, instead of coming home to her.
Seyfried, is attractive, interesting and holds up her end of the film. Tatum is charming, smoldering and attractive enough to ensure the chemistry between these two worked. Richard Jenkins plays Tatum’s father who is a bit autistic and obsessed with coins. And as Jenkins generally is, he is perfect and wonderful in this role.
Overall: This is a safe predictable film and enjoyable enough to sit back and let yourself be bitten by it's emotional predictability.