Copyright Notice: It’s easy to see when our selected quotes have been copied and pasted, as you’re also copying our format, mistakes, and movie scene descriptions. If you decide to copy from us please be kind and either link back, or refer back to our site. Please check out our copyright policies here. Thanks!
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Chanté Adams, Robert Wisdom, Johnny M. Wu, Jalon Christian, Tamara Tunie
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Drama directed by Denzel Washington. Based on a true story, A Journal for Jordan (2021) centers on Sergeant Charles Monroe King (Michael B. Jordan), a soldier deployed to Iraq who begins to keep a journal of love and advice for his young son. Back at home, senior New York Times editor Dana Canedy (Chanté Adams) revisits the story of her unlikely, life-altering relationship with King and his enduring devotion to her and their child.
Our Favorite Quotes:'Your thoughts and actions must be open to change and improvement. But your convictions must be non-negotiable. So live by your convictions.' - Charles King (A Journal for Jordan) Click To Tweet
Miriam: Why are you still breastfeeding? Jordan’s one.
Dana Canedy: Because the World Health Organization recommends it for up to two years and beyond.
Miriam: Kid’s got a mouth full of teeth, D. He’s going to be able to spell “milk” pretty soon. Doesn’t it hurt?
Dana Canedy: It’s a good way for us to stay close.
Miriam: Please don’t isolate yourself.
Dana Canedy: I’m not isolated, we’re talking right now.
Miriam: You know what I mean, D. You come here, you work, you go home. That’s all you ever do.
Dana Canedy: I’m a single mother.
Miriam: Alright. You’re not going to talk to me, you better talk to someone.
Dana Canedy: I am fine.
Miriam: I don’t think you’re fine.
Dana Canedy: I would tell you if I wasn’t.
Dana Canedy: [to baby Jordan] “Dear Jordan, I want you to know that it’s alright for boys to cry. Sometimes crying can release a lot of pain and stress. It has nothing to do with your manhood.” Your father wrote that. He wrote this whole thing. Just for you. I thought you should hear it because, well, you cry a lot.
Dana Canedy: Dear Jordan, if you are reading this, it means that we got through the sorrowful years somehow, and that you are old enough to understand all that I am about to tell you. The first time I saw your father, Charles Monroe King, was in the living room of the house where I grew up. It was the spring of 1998. And I was visiting your grandfather for his birthday.
Dana Canedy: [referring to her ex-boyfriend] We are not getting back together, okay? It’s over.
Penny Canedy: You never know.
Dana Canedy: No, mom. Some things you do know.
Dana Canedy: [referring to their parents] They stress me out. Why do you think I’m staying at a hotel?
Mike Canedy: Same reason we out here getting high.
Dana Canedy: I just don’t understand how she stays with him all these years.
Gwen Canedy: She loves him.
Dana Canedy: That is not love. It’s fear. She’s scared to end up alone.
Gwen Canedy: [referring to his marriage] But are you happy?
Mike Canedy: Yeah. We fight and s**t. But, yeah.
Gwen Canedy: See, there’s hope. Now I just got to find the right guy.
Dana Canedy: Good luck. Men are luxuries. Not necessities.
Gwen, Mike: Damn.
Dana Canedy: I’m not playing.
Mike Canedy: Apparently not.
Dana Canedy: [referring to Charles] Saw your friend in there.
Sgt. T.J. Canedy: He finish putting my picture up yet?
Dana Canedy: Not yet. But you’re going to love it.
Sgt. T.J. Canedy: He’s talented, isn’t he? And good looking.
Dana Canedy: You don’t talk much, do you?
Charles King: Yeah, I do. I mean, when I got something to say.
Dana Canedy: You can take the girl out of the city, you can’t take the city out of the girl.
Dana Canedy: You know I’m a journalist, so I have to ask. My parents have been there for you how?
Charles King: I’m going through a divorce.
Dana Canedy: Oh. I’m sorry.
Charles King: Don’t be.
Charles King: I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, but I don’t think I would have made it through without yours. Why do you seem so surprised?
Dana Canedy: You didn’t grow up with them.
Dana Canedy: So, what made you join the Army?
Charles King: The discipline. The travel. And I love my country. So I always wanted to serve. Plus, the camo just brings out my eyes.
'Pain is better than nothing. Because without pain, it's impossible to find joy.' - Dana Canedy (A Journal for Jordan) Click To Tweet
Dana Canedy: [referring to being in the army] It’s a tough way to make a living.
Charles King: Yes, ma’am, it is.
Dana Canedy: You know you don’t have to call me ma’am.
Charles King: I know. I don’t want to either.
Gwen Canedy: [to Dana, referring to Charles] Well, I thought men were luxuries, not necessities. You’re lucky you saw him first.
Charles King: [over phone] Listen, Dana, I would have called you sooner. But I just, I want to be honest, and my divorce just got final.
Dana Canedy: I don’t want to make things harder for you, Charles.
Charles King: No, but you’re not. You’re not. That’s exactly why I’m calling you right now.
Dana Canedy: You’ve got your daughter to think about.
Charles King: And I’m always going to be thinking about her. You know, it’s not going to change. But I just want you to know that you don’t have anything to worry about. I promise.
Charles King: [over phone] Dana, I want you to know I’ve been thinking about you. A lot.
Dana Canedy: Well, you have had three weeks.
Dana Canedy: Hang up.
Charles King: You hang up.
Dana Canedy: No, you hang up.
Charles King: Are we really doing this right now?
Dana Canedy: I guess we are.
Dana Canedy: [referring to his divorce] Well, how did you handle it?
Charles King: How did I handle it? It was, I felt like a failure. We tried to make it work. But, you know, we were young. We were kids, trying to figure it out. And, you know, we both were to blame, you know. So, it hurt.
Dana Canedy: Well, I’m sorry you were hurt.
Dana Canedy: [referring to her parents marriage] He used to say that she trapped him by getting pregnant with me. But she was just as trapped as he was.
Charles King: Wow. How did that make you feel?
Dana Canedy: Now, see, you are all up in my business. Trying to get me all open.
Charles King: Well, sounds a little too late for that.
Dana Canedy: What did you say?
Charles King: You heard me. No, I’m just playing.
Dana Canedy: [over phone] So, what do you do? When you’re not turning young men into soldiers.
Charles King: Well, if I’m not drawing, or painting, probably in the gym.
Dana Canedy: Okay. I like the gym too. For the massages, and the little smoothies at the juice bar.
Charles King: Are you telling me you go to the gym and you don’t work out?
Dana Canedy: Well, I’m not exactly the workout type. But I stay active. It’s a walking city.
Charles King: Well, the massages, or juices, smoothies, all that, whatever it is you’re doing, it’s working. I think you are beautiful.
Dana Canedy: [referring to Charles] He is not exactly my type.
Robin: Look, you said he was nice, right? And he’s cute too?
Dana Canedy: God, yes.
Robin: So what’s your problem?
Miriam: Are you too good for him?
Ciro: You little bougie b**ch.
Dana Canedy: I barely know him. We’ve only talked on the phone.
Miriam: Well, if you decide to let him visit, just don’t shave your legs.
Dana Canedy: What?
Miriam: I know you. There is no way you would ever sleep with a guy, at least not the first time, without exfoliating, moisturizing, and shaving.
Dana Canedy: God, it’s true.
'Surround yourself with people that love you for you, and love them back. Because love is the one thing in this world that's worth fighting for.' - Charles King (A Journal for Jordan) Click To Tweet
Charles King: Guess what.
Dana Canedy: Huh?
Charles King: Guess.
Dana Canedy: What?
Charles King: Chicken butt.
Dana Canedy: You are so corny. Get off the phone!
Dana Canedy: So I know you just got here, but we should probably talk about sleeping arrangements. I have a sofa bed. It’s pretty comfortable.
Charles King: That’s fine. I have no problem sleeping on the couch. Why you look nervous? What did you think I was going to say?
Dana Canedy: I don’t look nervous. I just didn’t want to set up any unrealistic expectations.
Charles King: Well, I expect to have a good time. I’m not worried. I’ll be with you.
Dana Canedy: I really am glad you’re here. I just want you to enjoy your weekend, and have a good..
Dana Canedy: [as Charles kisses her] You taste like oregano.
Dana Canedy: That’s an off-Broadway theater.
Charles King: Oh, so we’re near Broadway.
Dana Canedy: No. See, there’s off-Broadway, and there’s off-off-Broadway.
Charles King: Okay, so is there anything actually on Broadway?
Dana Canedy: Yes, but it’s not about the street. It’s all about the size of the house.
Dana Canedy: The world needs more gentlemen.
Charles King: [as he kisses her] That’s an off-off-Broadway kiss.
Charles King: [kisses her again] That’s an off-Broadway kiss. And this is…
Dana Canedy: [as he kisses her again] Broadway. And the Tony Award for best kiss goes to…
Charles King: No, hold on a second. Who the hell is Tony?
Dana Canedy: [referring to Charles’s bare chest] Now, you need to put all that away. I have not had my coffee yet.
Charles King: I want to see more of your city. Okay?
Dana Canedy: [to herself as Charles walks off] And I want to see more of your city. I’ll take your state, your zip code. I want to see your area code. I want to see your social security number. I want to see your passport, your military ID, your blood type. Show it all to me. Oh, my God! I want to see it all!
Charles King: I look like somebody’s accountant.
Dana Canedy: A fine one.
Charles King: And do you know how expensive these clothes are?
Dana Canedy: It’s a Christmas gift.
Charles King: No, I can’t let you do that.
Dana Canedy: I want to. I know you don’t care about clothes.
Charles King: Because clothes don’t make the man, baby.
Dana Canedy: But the man can make the clothes, baby.
Charles King: I want you to be my girlfriend.
Dana Canedy: What?
Charles King: I want you to be my lady. Like, officially.
Dana Canedy: What do you mean, like go steady?
Charles King: You know exactly what that means. That’s funny?
Dana Canedy: No. It’s just…
Charles King: It’s just what?
Dana Canedy: We’re grown.
Charles King: Yeah. We’re grown enough to commit to one another.
Miriam: [referring to Charles] He actually said officially? That’s the sweetest thing I ever heard.
Robin: Oh, my God.
Ciro: To die for.
Dana Canedy: It is so corny. But he can’t help it. He’s military.
Miriam: You can’t help it. You’re falling for him.
Ciro: Yeah, you’re sprung, boo-boo.
Dana Canedy: I am not.
Miriam: I’ve never seen you like this before.
Dana Canedy: Like what?
Miriam: Like you like him.
Dana Canedy: Of course I like him!
Miriam: No, I mean, you “like” like him. Like you really like him.
Robin: [referring to Charles] You weren’t kidding about his a**. You could bounce a quarter off that thing.
Miriam: ‘Tis the season.
Robin: Ho, ho, ho.
Miriam: Just tell me one thing. Is he good in bed?
Dana Canedy: Now, you know we wouldn’t be talking if he weren’t.
Charles King: I’m not saying this is going to be easy, but we can make this work.
Dana Canedy: How can you be so sure?
Charles King: I can’t. I can’t predict the future either, but I know we got a shot at one. Do you trust me?
Dana Canedy: Yeah.
Charles King: Then be my girlfriend. Officially.
Dana Canedy: I already am.
Charles King: You know you could’ve told me that earlier, right?
Dana Canedy: I had to make you work for it.
Dana Canedy: [over phone] It is morning. And I’m sick as a dog, and stuck in Akron, Ohio, waiting for you. I thought you were in a plane crash.
Charles King: I’m sorry. I should’ve called you, but you know I have to be there for my men.
Dana Canedy: And what about me? Your official girlfriend. I haven’t seen you in two months.
Charles King: Baby, it’s only been six weeks.
Dana Canedy: Okay, I don’t think you understand how hurt I am.
Charles King: [after Dana accuses him of having an affair] Come on, now. Dana, you’re talking crazy.
Dana Canedy: Crazy? I have been sitting in a hotel room for hours, waiting on you.
Charles King: Why would I lie?
Dana Canedy: You did not even bother to call me to let me know that you’re not coming.
Charles King: Relax.
Dana Canedy: I don’t need to relax! I can’t do this. Goodbye.
Charles King: Dana. Baby. I’m not your father. I will never be with another woman. I love you.
Dana Canedy: You don’t love me.
Charles King: I do.
Dana Canedy: No, you love your men. I’m just better looking.
Charles King: No. Dana. I love you. I might’ve given you a reason to leave me, but I’m never going to leave you. I love you.
Dana Canedy: I love you too.
Charles King: I’m not going anywhere. You can trust that. Okay? You can trust that.
Dana Canedy: What’s combat like? My dad never talks about Vietnam. You never talk about Iraq.
Charles King: To be honest, I don’t remember much. Smells. Sounds. Training kicks in, so it’s kind of a blur.
Dana Canedy: Were you scared?
Charles King: Of course I was.
Dana Canedy: Have you ever actually killed someone?
Dana Canedy: How can you be a soldier and believe in God?
Charles King: I believe in evil too. Protecting people who can’t protect themselves.
Jordan: [reading from the journal] “Jordan, you are African-American. No one can ever take that away from you. You will be challenged because of your complexion, and the color of your eyes. But let your character and deeds shine in everything you do. And never forget where you came from.”
Jordan: What’s this?
Dana Canedy: Your dad wrote it. He wrote everything in there just for you. You’re old enough now, so I want you to read it. Every word.
Jordan: [referring to Charles] How come you barely ever talk about him?
Dana Canedy: Well, sometimes, it hurts to remember. But I think about him all the time. And I write about him too. That makes me feel better.
Dana Canedy: [referring to the folded flag] Well, the Army only gives those to the family at the funeral.
Jordan: We’re his family.
Dana Canedy: We are. But technically, I’m not. Your father and I never got married.
Charles King: [over phone] Dana, tell me what’s wrong.
Dana Canedy: I want to have a baby.
Charles King: What?
Dana Canedy: I want to get pregnant.
Charles King: Now?
Dana Canedy: Yes. Now.
Charles King: Where’s all this coming from?
Dana Canedy: Because I want to live life, and not just report on it. And I want to live it with you, so please have a baby with me.
Charles King: Absolutely.
Dana Canedy: Well, you don’t want to take a second to think about it? I’m not asking you for a puppy.
Charles King: I don’t need to think about it.
Charles King: Marry me.
Dana Canedy: What?
Charles King: Marry me!
Dana Canedy: Okay.
Charles King: Okay? So is that a yes?
Dana Canedy: Charles Monroe King, yes. I will marry you.
Miriam: [to Dana, referring to Jordan] Listen, it’s not like Charles left you with nothing. We both know that little man in there is special. And he needs you right now. He’s not going to be a kid forever.
Dana Canedy: When people go to war, what do they do about sex?
Charles King: I don’t know. I never think about it. I’m more worried about getting shot than I am horny.
Dana Canedy: I was just thinking that if you need sex in Iraq, I mean, to help you get through it, I want you to know that you have my permission.
Charles King: Have you lost your mind?
Dana Canedy: I’m serious.
Charles King: Me too.
Charles King: Dana, I don’t want another woman. And I’ll never disrespect you, or my son like that. And I hope you don’t expect me to extend that same offer, because you better keep that s**t locked up.
Dana Canedy: Shut up.
Charles King: I ain’t laughing.
Dana Canedy: Okay.
Charles King: What’s this?
Dana Canedy: It’s a journal. So you can write to your son. Even if it’s just a page or two. Open it.
Charles King: I don’t know what to say. What do I write?
Dana Canedy: Well, it’s especially for dads, so there’s some questions to get you started. Tell him who you are. What you believe in. And tell him you love him. Just so he knows.
Charles King: [as Jordan is reading from the journal] Jordan, always remember, your thoughts and actions must be open to change and improvement. But your convictions must be non-negotiable. So live by your convictions. And on your journey, if you ever get down, and feel like you need to talk to someone, then talk to the one who can do something about it.
Dana Canedy: [over phone, as Charles can’t make it to the birth] I can’t do this without you.
Charles King: My guys are just not getting…
Dana Canedy: No, Charles, you promised me!
Charles King: Things change.
Dana Canedy: But you promised me!
Charles King: We adapt. That’s what we do.
Charles King: [writing in journal] Son, I couldn’t be at your birth because of the war. And I hope you and your mother can forgive me. Every time I roll out of that gate, I pray I don’t run out of time. Time with you, time with your mother. So much to do, Jordan. But I have faith that you are safe and sound. Because you’re surrounded by strong women. These are your first teachers, little prince. And all of these women embody the reasons you should never, ever disrespect, or lay your hand against any woman.
Charles King: [writing in journal] The woman you choose to be your partner should guard your friendship first, son. And just like you, she should be honorable. And take pride in how she carries herself. But remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And real beauty comes from deep inside. Just take one look at your mother, and that’ll tell you what I think beautiful is.
Dana Canedy: [referring to Jordan] Someone else thought I was his nanny today. He’s so light-skinned, no one thinks he’s mine.
Charles King: He just gets that from my mom.
Dana Canedy: So you know what I did?
Charles King: What?
Dana Canedy: I pulled out my boob and I breastfed him right there, in front of her. Lucky I didn’t squirt milk on her little punk a**.
Charles King: Well, I guess I got to get you a ring then.
Charles King: But I’m serious though. I can get you a ring. We could do the whole thing while I’m in town.
Dana Canedy: What whole thing?
Charles King: Jordan could be my best man, we can get him a little tux.
Dana Canedy: You mean get married.
Charles King: Why not?
Dana Canedy: No. I don’t want to cram our whole lives into one visit. I want a real wedding.
Dana Canedy: Can’t you just go AWOL and stay here with us?
Charles King: So you want to marry a coward?
Dana Canedy: Alright. Fine, go.
Charles King: You still going to marry me when I get back home?
Dana Canedy: I can’t wait.
Dana Canedy: [referring to Charles’s regiment] Your dad’s job was, and I quote, “To teach them to stay alive and kill the enemy.” On October 14th, 2006, he took them on a mission. He could’ve stayed behind that day. He even let his battle buddies sleep in. But your dad would never ask his soldiers to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. He went where they went. That’s the kind of man your dad was.
Dana Canedy: [as her friends were present when she out about Charles’s death] They had a plan in place. A secret plan, in case something happened to your father. He didn’t want me to be alone when I heard he was gone.
Jordan: Why were we even fighting that war?
Dana Canedy: Well, that depends on who you ask. Some might say we were fighting to free a country from a tyrant and stop terrorists. Others might say we’re the reason they became terrorists in the first place. But I bet if you asked your father, he’d say he was fighting for his soldiers. To keep them alive, and to get them home.
Jordan: But he had to die to do it?
Dana Canedy: Well, that’s what heroes do, baby.
Dana Canedy: Jordan, what are you doing?
Jordan: Working out. My dad said physical fitness is important. I’ve only got one body. I better take care of it. It’s working, isn’t it?
Jordan: [as Charles’s grave] I’d like to read this. It’s from my dad. “Family means everything, Jordan. It’s why I wake up in the morning. It’s why I put on the uniform and risk my life. And the great thing about family is that when you get older, you get to choose who’s in it.” He underlined the word “you”. “So choose wisely. Surround yourself with people that love you for you, and love them back. Because love is the one thing in this world that’s worth fighting for.” So I guess that makes all of you my family.
[afer which Charles’s men present Dana with the flag which she gives to Jordan]
Dana Canedy: Dear Jordan, when your father died, I thought my life was over. But the truth is, it was just beginning. You and your dad both showed me how beautiful life is when you live it below your neck and in your heart. Risky place, the heart. Because it’s fragile, so it breaks. And it hurts. After your dad left, I tried my best to feel nothing so my heart would never break again. But even pain is better than nothing. Because without pain, it’s impossible to find joy. I hope these words will help you understand the remarkable love your father and I shared. I want you to have that kind of love, Jordan. The kind of love that does not ask her to be anyone other than who she is. And that does not ask any more of you.
Dana Canedy: My prayer for you, Jordan, is that you carry with you the knowledge that you will always have two parents guiding you. But my mother’s intuition alone will not be enough to teach you to be a man. For that, I give you your father’s journal. And the wisdom it contains. Its pages should give you an idea of where you came from so you can decide on exactly where you’re going. I love you, son. Always and forever. Mom.