Washington’s solemn adaptation of war widow and Pulitzer-winning journalist Dana Canedy’s memoir tugs at the heartstrings but fails to enchant
Directed by Denzel Washington, this solemn romantic drama is based on Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Dana Canedy’s 2008 memoir. Its title refers to the notebook of advice that her partner, Charles Monroe King, a soldier who died during the Iraq war, left for their young son. Portrayed here by Chanté Adams and Michael B Jordan, the couple’s fairytale courtship is detailed in extended flashback scenes, though the journal is a reminder that their happy ending is ultimately doomed.
The film seems aimed at female audiences, emphasising Canedy’s struggles to balance being a single mother with her job at the New York Times, and luxuriating in their date nights across New York City. There’s even a gratuitous shot of Jordan’s bare bum. Washington appears to be drawn to the old-school ideal of masculinity embodied by King. Adams is a vivacious screen presence with a twinkle in her eye, and Jordan can’t quite match her, unable to draw out any real inner turmoil in a character who is respectable to a fault.