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film review

Chanté Adams, left, and Michael B. Jordan in A Journal for Jordan.David Lee /Sony Pictures

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A Journal for Jordan

Directed by Denzel Washington

Written by Dana Canedy and Virgil Williams

Starring Chanté Adams, Michael B. Jordan and Robert Wisdom

Classification PG; 131 minutes

Opens in theatres Dec. 25

There is a specific tone to films scheduled for a holiday release – in short, they’re corny. And while that’s not always a bad thing, this year’s yuletide flick, A Journal for Jordan, feels particularly dated and often times emotionally cloying.

Adapted from the 2009 novel by former New York Times senior editor Dana Canedy and directed by onscreen titan Denzel Washington, the film follows the relationship of Dana (Chanté Adams) and Charles (Michael B. Jordan) from its beginnings through to Charles’ deployment in the Iraq War. Expecting a child together, Dana gifts Charles a journal that he comes to fill with loving advice and wisdom for his future son during his tour of Iraq.

The melodramatic ending here is obvious and, while I won’t spoil it, it still feels strange to see such a recent global event be treated with such an overly sentimental veneer. There is a reactionary romanticism of life lived in service of country here that, while in step with what audiences might expect from a holiday film, feels out of touch with the world as we know it right now.

Special to The Globe and Mail

In the interest of consistency across all critics’ reviews, The Globe has eliminated its star-rating system in film and theatre to align with coverage of music, books, visual arts and dance. Instead, works of excellence will be noted with a Critic’s Pick designation across all coverage.

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