The Notebook


Directed by: Nick Cassavetes
Written by:Jeremy Levin
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner,  Gena Rowlands, James Marsden, Joan Allen
Released: October 7, 2004
Grade: A-

The Notebook is a simple, elegant, romantic tale.  It begins in a nursing home with an elderly man (Garner) reading to an elderly woman (Rowlands) from his black notebook.  We then enter flashback mode with director Nick Cassavetes taking us back into the 1940s and a quiet American town where two teenagers meet for the first time…

Living with his father, Noah Calhoun (Gosling) works at the town’s lumber mill for 40 cents an hour.  His dream is to purchase a run-down property by the river and turn into something majestic.  At the local fair though, he has found something he wants even more – a beautiful young girl named Allie (McAdams).  Noah’s crazy introduction may be bold but it’s most certainly effective.  Soon, they are spending every moment of every day together.  For each of them, it’s the beginnings of a first love.

As the summer comes to a close, they find that this love will be severely tested.  Allie comes from a very well-off family who are particularly disapproving of her choice for a boyfriend.  Further complicating matters are Allie’s own dreams to leave the town and attend a lucrative college in New York City.  Their backgrounds are different, their futures are different, but will love keep Noah and Allie together?

There’s significantly much more to this story but I choose only to reveal a small part.  Most films involving teen romance are trashy comedies filled with toilet humour.  Stars Ryan Gosling (Murder By Numbers) and Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls) make The Notebook a very real, touching romance.  Their characters can’t keep their hands off each other and you really do feel the love that encompassed them and which also clouds their better judgement.

Curiously, The Notebook marks the third novel of writer Nicholas Sparks which has been developed into a motion picture.  The first was the disappointing Message In A Bottle (starring Kevin Costner and Robin Wright Penn) in 1999 and the second was the underrated A Walk To Remember (starring Many Moore and Shane West) in 2002.

Romantic films are those of which I am most often critical.  I find most of them unrealistic with silly dialogue and poor match-ups.  Well for those romantics out there, here’s a film you’ll probably enjoy which I can support along with you.  Take tissues.