Notebook, The

Release Date: June 25, 2004
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Book by: Nicholas Sparks
Screenplay by: Jan Sardi, Jeremy Leven
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Joan Allen, James Marsden, Sam Shepard, Kevin Connolly

What were the chances of discussing Ryan Gosling’s qualities as an actor in The Ides of March, and have The Notebook show up on TV. It’s like the gods want me to convince Camiele of something.

But then again, I can’t blame people for wanting to skip this movie — It’s a Nicholas Sparks book and look at that cheesy poster! And with each poster iteration, it just keeps getting cheesier and cheesier. I avoided this movie for a whole year as if it were stinky tofu, until I couldn’t avoid it any longer… and guess what? It was actually a pretty darn good romance.

The Notebook is the story of Noah (Gosling) and Allie (McAdams), who begin having a steamy summer love that will last as long as Allie’s mom (Allen) lets it, which she doesn’t. Allie — for the time — is a pretty well-educated well-behaved good girl from a good family, and Noah… he’s a hooligan or something.

When the war separates them, Noah and Allie promise to write to one another, but that doesn’t happen because Allie’s mom doesn’t want that to happen. As a result, they go their separate ways thinking they’ve given up on each other.

However, as young and torrid an affair they had, showcasing that famous Gosling/McAdams chemistry that will happen no longer — man, they were so hot together — The Notebook is brought up to very moving romantic drama level thanks to James Garner and Gena Rowlands’ portrayals of elderly Noah and Allie. The film reveals that OldAllie suffers from some kind of dementia when both she and OldNoah are in the nursing home. It is so bad that she can’t recognize her children and grandchildren when they come to visit.

If we know that they end up together, what’s so good about The Notebook? It’s how they got there and what they’ve become. Each day, OldNoah takes this book and reads it to OldAllie, hoping that he can get her back if only for a few minutes. The acting in those last scenes is just pitch-perfect from both Garner and Rowlands, making the film more lasting than it really should be.

Cinematically speaking, of course, The Notebook is a run of the mill romance. There’s no swooping shots of the grandeur of the period, amazingly shot frames that will trigger your memory, or any memorable music. But who needs all that when you have a book-to-film adaptation that might be actually ten times better than the book and elevates the material to a memorable love story with great precision?

Rating: ★★★¾☆ 

amy

YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

20 Responses

  1. Julyssa says:

    Duuuuudeeeeee I sobbed like a baby! Anh how amazing wasn’t Ryan in this? From the young/charming/daredevil Noah to the grumpy/emo/alcoholic one? Gaaaaaaah

    • amy says:

      @Julyssa, right? By the end, it’s so moving when he welcomes her back, and it’s so horrible when “the spell is broken” and it all goes back to the same. And the freaking Notebook xD with the dedicatory of read this to me and I’ll come back to you. Ugh.

      Would you believe there’s trolls saying that “the old people’s part was dragging the movie down”??? LOL – with people like that, no wonder society is in the gutter xD

  2. Camiele says:

    I mean….I’m slightly more convinced to see this movie than I was before reading this review. So at least that’s something :P

    I’ll think about seeing this movie, but that’s about it. Give me some time to work up to it.

    • amy says:

      @Camiele, yeah. If you need to shake Gosling’s MMC days away, I would suggest you would start with films like The Believer, Half Nelson, Drive and Blue Valentine – and then move onto Lars and the Real Girl, The Notebook, and then Crazy Stupid Love LOL

      • Camiele says:

        @amy, Good advice…HaHa. Thanks! For the record, I think he’s (obviously) much more talented than his MMC fellow-alum, Justin Timberlake. But, you know…childhood can fuck with your perception of things…HaHa.

        • amy says:

          @Camiele, LOL. Well, I did spot Gosling in one episode of this little Sherlock Holmes kiddie Canadian show called The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I should probably figure out how to review that since no DVDs are available and I have the first 3 seasons on VHS Latino-dubbed and the last season in downloaded computer files. xD

  3. Juan Barquin says:

    The Notebook is an important movie about Ryan Gosling’s beard.

  4. Camiele says:

    @ Juan, amy, and Julssa, ALL ya’ll are nuts…HaHa!

  5. ghost says:

    Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are doomed to be always compared to this fictional relationship in whatever relationship they get into, because… that’s Hollywood.

  6. Castor says:

    I sobbed like a little girl at this movie, the only one that ever did that. So I will always respect The Notebook, even though it’s cheesy as hell. It’s definitely a solid romantic movie, very old-fashioned in its portrayal of all-consuming love.

  7. Rodrigo says:

    I haven’t seen this yet. Should I? I’m sure Gosling could make it work since he’s a great actor..

    • amy says:

      @Rodrigo, I’m really interested in your opinion on this one haha. If you somehow like it – even at a 3/5 rate, I think it would mean The Notebook is guy-approved. If you rate it at 3.5/5, I think it would exceed my expectations. xD

      • Rodrigo says:

        @amy, I saw The Notebook last Thursday. I have it at 3 stars on MUBI, but my real rating oscilates between 3 and 3.25/5 (Garner and Rowlands were greater than anyone else in the film) because the cheesiness of the film is hard to forget. :S

        • amy says:

          @Rodrigo, do I know you or DO I KNOW YOU??? xD The cheese in the story comes from the actual Nicholas Sparks territory — if you’ve seen things like A Walk to Remember, even if sad… it’s pure eye-rolling. Gosling and McAdams make it passable here, especially in the scene of the rain, since you really feel McAdams’ hurt when Gosling said he wrote her letters for a whole year.

          But yeah, it’s a normal general consensus that Garner and Rowlands is what makes the movie stick. And to think that there are people who said things like “why do they have to show the old people’s story” LOL, Frak. Because it’s the whole point of the story? xD Sometimes people…

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