Home A Journal For Jordan

A Journal For Jordan (12A)

Cast: Robert Wisdom, Michael B Jordan, Chante Adams, Jalon Christian
Genre: Romance
Author(s): Virgil Williams
Director: Denzel Washington
Release Date: 21/01/2022
Running Time: 131mins
Country: US
Year: 2021

Senior New York Times editor Dana Canedy is pregnant when her fiance, First Sergeant Charles Monroe King, is deployed to Iraq. She gives him a journal and encourages Charles to escape from the horrors of conflict in those empty pages by writing words of wisdom to his infant son. The book is gradually filled with love and advice for the boy, emphasising the importance of family to overcome adversity. This handwritten testament becomes a beacon of hope for Dana in her darkest hours.


LondonNet Film Review
A Journal For Jordan (12A)

A moving true story of service and sacrifice during a highly contentious war is sweetened by Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington as he nestles back into a director’s chair for the first time since Fences in 2016. Adapted by Virgil Williams from Dana Canedy’s celebrated memoir, A Journal For Jordan takes its title from the notebook that US Army First Sergeant Charles Monroe King kept for his infant son while serving in Iraq before he died on October 14 2006 when an improvised explosive device detonated under his Humvee…

“I want you to know that it’s okay for boys to cry,” he wrote on one of 200 pages of anecdotes, life lessons and fatherly advice including strongly worded guidance on treating women with respect. The fractured chronology of Washington’s heart-tugging film over a 20-year period hampers dramatic momentum while Williams’ script paints King as a shy, sensitive and artistic saint.

Michael B Jordan loses more than his shirt to add gym-toned physical perfection to the soldier’s enviable qualities. Chante Adams exudes sass as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with a nose for a good story but when it comes to candidly discussing with her son the reasons for a war that destroyed their family unit, she is uncharacteristically prosaic. “Some say it was to stop the terrorists over there. Some say we made them terrorists in the first place. But your dad would say he was fighting for his men.” Some would say that is sanitised screenwriting.

In 1998, Dana Canedy (Adams) is a journalist on The New York Times with a strong aversion to romantic commitment, catalysed by painful memories of her retired drill sergeant father (Robert Wisdom) cheating on her mother (Tamara Tunie). “Men are luxuries, not necessities,” chirrups Dana to her coterie of close friends comprising co-worker Miriam (Susan Pourfar), Ciro (Grey Henson) and Robin (Vanessa Aspillaga).

Her deeply ingrained hostility towards men in military uniform mellows when she meets Charles (Jordan), a veteran of Operation Desert Storm, who trained under her father. Dana falls for Charles’s old-fashioned charm and falls pregnant before he is deployed to Iraq. She gives her fiance a journal to pen words of wisdom to their boy. “Tell him who you are, what you believe in and tell him that you love him, just so he knows,” she coos, blissfully unaware that Jordan will grow up without a father from the age of six months.

A Journal For Jordan wears its heart on its sleeve next to King’s numerous medals and polished patriotism. Aside from one sequence in September 2001, on-screen captions help us navigate the shifting timeframes with minimum confusion and equal parts emotional engagement. On-screen chemistry between Adams and Jordan perpetually fizzes when the script around them feels like it’s going flat.

– Sarah Lee


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