The Richard Jenkins Film Series began 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St. The first movie of the series, “Dear John,” set the tone for this anticipated event with wonderful leads, a heartfelt story and, of course, a great performance by Jenkins.
Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried take up the silver screen as John and Savannah. John’s a soldier on leave, and Savannah is a college student. They have a two-week summer romance before John is called back. They then exchange letters for a year but slowly drift apart after John extends his tour following the events of 9/11. After several years, they meet again, but they are different people than they were that summer.
The film is based on the 2006 novel by Nicholas Sparks. This isn’t the first time his work has been adapted to the big screen; there have been 11 adaptations in the last 20 years, with “The Choice” being the recent. They have ranged in quality, but “Dear John” is among the better ones.
Seyfried and Tatum have a great connection, and whenever they are on screen together, it’s a pairing akin to Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in 2004’s “The Notebook.” Their acting near the end of the film is strong. The dialogue is poignant, and they put so much passion into their work.
Jenkins knocks it out of the park in his portrayal of John’s autistic father, Mr. Tyree. He is a very integral part of John’s arc in the movie. At the beginning, their relationship is friendly but not deep. However, as time passes, the layers are peeled back, and the viewer sees what he truly means to John.
One of the most powerful scenes in the film is when he, John and Savannah are driving to meet Savannah’s parents. As John’s father’s anxiety increases, he starts to beg to be let out of the car. It’s a heartbreaking moment that shows off Jenkins’ caliber as an actor.
“Dear John” is the first of nine films that will be shown as part of the Richard Jenkins Film Series.