A Journal for Jordan is a sentimental and stirring journey based on the life of journalist/author Dana Canedy (Chante Adams), her son Jordan Monroe King (Jalon Christian), and his father 1st Sergeant Charles Monroe King (Michael B. Jordan). It’s a meandering, yet thought-provoking film that has its share of issues, but overall skillfully strums on the heartstrings.
The Sony pictures production is an adaptation of Canedy’s memoir, A Journal for Jordan: A Story of Love and Honor. In the film, we travel through multiple different timelines to witness the love between Charles and Dana seed, grow, and continue to flourish despite the changing seasons.
There’s an immediate attraction between Charles and Dana, and we see her family encourage the setup. There’s a hitch, though; Charles is a military man and so is Dana’s father. Unfortunately, Dana’s experience with having a philandering dad included him often returning to base to meet up with other women. Yet her mother stayed faithfully by his side. Her sister calls it love, but Dana calls it fear. She’s desperate not to follow in her mother’s footsteps. This is one of the reasons falling for Charles is so hard. Adams does a marvelous job of showing the vulnerabilities in the walls she puts up. She’s relatable, and you can understand her hesitation and ongoing annoyance. How dare she fall in love with this man who represents everything she’s been trying to avoid?
Charles is sweet and respectful, but he comes with baggage that’s more than just an ex-wife and a daughter. He says he would never be with another woman, but it’s clear his first love — the Army — will always take precedence over Dana. The Army and the love for his country provide Charles with a sense of self-worth, but also with an escape from the terrors of human love. It’s an interesting and subtle paradox that rears its head several times during the film. Charles appears bold and stringent in the face of the men who serve under him, but soon we see that life betray him. He still remains loyal, though there’s something else there…