The Notebook (2004)
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Best known for his acting credits, Nick Cassavetes was tapped to direct this film. His past experience, which didn't consist of very many films includes the Denzel Washington film John Q. This was not going to be an easy task for him though, because the story was built on us believing the love that the main characters of the film would be showing was real. It?s not as easy as it sounds, and some films (like Star Wars Part 2), end up making the audience laugh, rather than feel what the characters are feeling. He did a great job, and helped put together a great cast for this film that would end up including Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, and Joan Allen. All actors who have found their niches before, and were brought in to this film to help carry the story.
Gosling is best known for his role as "Richie", one of the kids, in Murder By Numbers. He brings a great innocence to the role of Noah Calhoun in the film, one of the two main characters. Rachel McAdams plays the other half of the duo as Allie Hamilton. She was actually one of the leads (Regina George) in an earlier Summer movie, Mean Girls. At the heart of this film the couple represents the love story that is being told by James Garner's character. He reads from a book , the story of the two lovers as they go through everything life has to offer. Gena Rowlands plays the lady that he is reading to, and she gets as wrapped up in the story as we do, as he progresses from chapter to chapter in the novel he is reading. Garner was perfect for this role, and shows his narrating skills as he explains how the two of them live.
Meanwhile, in the story, Noah and Allie meet in one of the cutest scenes of the movie. He sees her at a carnival, and knows right away that he wants to be with her. He does not know quite why at first, and all he can say is that something inside of him is drawing him to her. He convinces her to give him a chance, and she eventually agrees to give him the date that he seeks. What progresses from there is a Summer romance that goes through all of the emotions that we all have experienced before. What makes it even more real, is that it is not played off as if every single moment is perfect between the two of them. It depicts that they do have fights, that they do have disagreements, but that they do have a love that is stronger than any of that. This is what made the romance real for me. Everyone knows, that in real life we can't have a relationship where everything works out perfectly, or where everyone agrees on everything.
The romance blossoms, but a problem exists that could spell trouble. Noah is from a one- parent family, and sees himself working at a lumber-yard for the better part of his life. He says that he has found his place in life, and this is what the "cards" have planned for him. Allie on the other hand, come from a very well-off family, and is being brought up in a rich societal circle. Her family is spending her 17th Summer in the small town by the sea, and first comes across Noah by pure coincidence. The romance between them is kept under wraps for quite a while, until her parents find out. The mother immediately thinks that is should end, but the father feels that it is just a summer "thing" that will come to an end rather quickly. That is, until she is out late one night with Noah, and he takes the side of his wife. They see no future between their daughter and this "boy", and take her away from him the first chance they get.
That coupled with the outbreak of World War II keeps them apart for a couple of years, and the story really gets underway. Will their love be able to endure the separation, or will one of them move on to something that is easier in their own lives? The story becomes an epic of its own, as its starts to split time between the story being read, and the story of Garner and Rowlands living in the present day. This is what I love about films like these, as we are given the opportunity to enjoy two different stories going on at the same time. The love shown by Noah and Allie is something that envelopes us, and it makes us forget about the current story. By going back and forth, we are able to look forward to where each of the two stories is going. All of it leads to an ending of each story that is both very enjoyable, and very emotional at the same time.
As I said before, sometimes a book can fail to transition to film. This is not one of those cases, as the movie instead becomes its own entity. Both stories have great chemistry between the characters at the center of them. It is amazing just how well the actors/actresses in the parts play their roles, and just how much we as an audience start to care about their lives. As it progresses, we truly care about what will happen to the main characters, and we have in our own minds how we want things to turn out. It is that type of film, where we start to become part of the story, and want them to act or say something specific, that truly makes a great story. Even though this is a movie that is heavily geared to lovers of romance novels, this is a film that I found very enjoyable. I highly recommend seeing this film while it is in theaters, or purchasing it when it hits DVD, because it has everything that is needed for a truly great love story.
Even most males will agree that this movie pulls at your heart strings. Filled with fabulous quotes, and sentimental moments I found this movie to be one of the best I've seen. I got to know both main characters and found myself relating to each of them. Most of us remember our first love and that strong connection we had with them. This movie makes us think of what could have been and gives us a fresh look at the meaning of true love. I recommend this movie to anyone with a heart.
This movie will have you feeling happy and joyful and the scenery is just brilliant. You will feel like you are part of the characters, and you will care about them throughout the whole movie.
The movie gallops in speed as we are absorbed into the great plot and brilliant acting of all the cast involved. Ryan Gosling is brilliant as the shy and quiet Noah, and Rachael McAdams is superbly beautiful as the star of the movie, Allie.
As I said earlier in my review, I did go into the movie not expecting much and that was because I thought it was a typical "boy loves girl" movie which are sometimes just too predictable. Don't get me wrong, they are some good Romantic movies that pull it off very well, but there are simply too many in that particular genre.
The best thing about this movie was the depth of the plot and the actors playing their characters so well. The supporting cast were good, and James Marsden deserves a mention for managing to pull of a hard role as the "rich man" well. Another plus point about this movie was the great script, and you did not see too many "cliches" which is always a good sign in a Romance movie.
It does not matter whether you love romantic movies or hate them, this is NOT just a romantic movie it is so more than that. By the end of the movie you will feel a whole heap of emotions. You will be talking about this movie for a long time.
The only bad part about this movie is the length, which I think could be shortened a bit but on the whole this was a superb movie which is well worth a watch.
Go and Watch this! Amazing movie which will have you brimming with joy.
9 1/2 out of 10
Unlike "Fried Green Tomatoes", this focuses on young love as it grows and endures through wars and parental dissent. Sure, the core is the "Romeo and Juilet" theme, but the way is plays out and the exceptional charisma that the actors bring to the screen make it feel fresh and not entirely predictable. This is a deeply romantic movie. If you are cynical at all about romance, timeless love and dedication to another person, you may find yourself rolling your eyes a bit. I am not that cynical about the emotional ties that bind us and I was thoroughly taken in by the story.
This is such a gentle movie. The characters are very human and very likable. All of the actors turn in engrossing and compelling performances.
Technically, this movie is exceptional, too. The scenes during the opening credits is absolutely breathtaking. The editing is very good. The story is compelling from the opening credits to the closing credits.
My wife and I don't always share the same perspective on movies, but we agreed on this one. We both loved it immensely. I am certain this will become part of our permanent collection.
The film recreated effectively the world of the 1940s in America, including the parental pressure exerted by the well-to-do family of Allie on whether to allow their daughter to pursue a young man from the other side of the tracks. As played by Ryan Gosling, the character of Noah could have revealed more emotional layers. There was only one scene in the film where he really showed that there was something at stake in his love for Allie. He apparently wrote her a passionate letter every day for a year. Especially in the film's early scenes, Gosling could have shown more of the passion.
The other cast members were outstanding, including James Garner and Gena Rowlands in the parallel story. In the two plots, "The Notebook" merits comparison with another outstanding romantic film, "The Bridges of Madison County." As the two subplots of "The Notebook" come together, one of the key characters is Allie's mother. As always, Joan Allen delivers a convincing and complete character portrayal, as the well-intentioned, but conflicted mother. In one of the most moving scenes in the film, the mother opens up to the daughter and tells her story of youthful love and a fateful choice similar to the one Allie herself must face.
My favorite scene in the film: a wonderful sequence where Noah and Allie are in a boat in the backwaters of South Carolina. The waterway is simply filled with white geese. It is a stunning and picturesque moment, among many in this well-crafted film. If there is such a spot in South Carolina, then I want to go there!
Gena Rowlands (who pronounces it 'jenna') plays a woman with Alzheimer's Movie disease, which is different from real-life Alzheimer's disease because it only makes her forget things in the service of the plot line. Real-life Alzheimer's patients, tragically, forget their toilet-training and stuff like that. Gena Rowlands is all glammed-up here, remembering everything except minor details like which man she married. When the script calls for her to have a convenient resurgence of memory, here it comes bang on schedule. When the script calls for an equally convenient loss of the same memory, there it goes.
Due to the flashback structure, the major roles are split between young actors (playing the leads in the 1940s and '50s) and senior-citizen actors as the same characters in the present. Gena Rowlands shares her role with the much younger Rachel McAdams as Allie Hamilton. Unfortunately, Ms McAdams has two very prominent birthmarks which have no counterparts on Ms Rowlands ... making Allie Hamilton the world's only woman whose body has FEWER spots as she gets older.
There is anachronistic dialogue in the flashback scenes. The 1940s sequences are production-designed within an inch of their lives, but they don't look like the actual 1940s. Everything is too bright, too colourful, with no sense of wartime shortages or rationing. As usual in Hollywood movies, we get the past as Hollywood *wants* it to be, not the past as it actually was. I cringed during one scene in an upscale nightclub in the southern United States in the 1940s, in which an African-American bandleader grins his approval while black and white couples share the dance floor. There may have been a few lower-class roadhouses in the Jim Crow south where the races mingled, but it did *not* happen in upper-class establishments like the one shown here!
Noah Calhoun, the macho jerk, not only places himself in danger but also endangers everybody else (first on a ferris wheel, then by grabbing the brake of a bus while it's in motion), and we're meant to admire this guy. Later, in the 1950s, he sports an incredibly ridiculous sensitive-guy beard that's right out of the 1980s or later. Any white man who wore a beard like this in the southern United States in the 1950s would have been carried out of town on a rail.
Sam Shepard does his usual posturing and preening. James Garner plays the older version of one of the two rivals for Allie's affection, and we're not supposed to know whether she chose irresponsible jerk Noah or steady reliable Lon. Sorry, but movie heroines always make that choice the same way, so the suspense level is zero.
I will give director Nick Cassavetes some credit: he's actually interested in telling a story about human interaction, unlike his father John Cassavetes who specialised in pretentious acting-school exercises in which nothing ever happened. Unfortunately, the story in 'The Notebook' is a very predictable one. This movie is soppy, sloppy, floppy and choppy. I'll rate it 3 points out of 10.
Ryan Gosling looked and sounded like he was straight out of L.A. Hands down the worst casting in the movie. Gosling seemed like he *might* be able to act in a movie with a title like, say, "Hey, Dude, Wha's Up", but that's about it. The guy has the energy of a turnip. At one point, I thought he might possibly be a step away from being stoned.
Gosling's character's on screen relationship with Rachel McAdams appeared to be relatively chemistry-free. But that might also have been due to the lame script. Some of the lines were hard to take seriously. Still, it would have been nice if Gosling, in particular, had tried.
The movie reminded of a Hallmark Hall of Fame production, but with poorer production values. And the film seemed to be about the '30s and '40s as imagined by someone contemporary. Hence, there is no hesitancy about a woman sleeping with someone she barely knows (and to whom she is not married), blacks and whites cheerfully intermingle everywhere--this contemporization of a much earlier era was distracting.
Also, I never understood why Allie falls for Noah in the first place. Noah is an immature doof--endangering himself and others on the ferris wheel, talking to Allie later on like a would-be stalker, and then, when they do go out, lying in the middle of the street. And when Allie tells Noah she doesn't want to lie in the middle of the intersection, Noah pulls the manipulative old, "Your problem is you just don't let your self have any fun."
Maybe her problem, Noah, is that she has common sense and you don't?
According to the young lovers, all they do is fight. And they have nothing in common. But hey, as the movie shows us, they're physically attracted to each other. And that is enough to produce a great and enduring love.
Now there's a wonderful message to send the teenage girls who must be watching this film.
And finally, the movie shows Allie's fiancé, Lon, as a wonderful guy. Mature, hard-working, with a string of virtues already mentioned by another IMDb poster. And Allie is in love with him. I cannot fathom why she would be more attracted to Noah, with whom she argues and has nothing in common (except sexual attraction, evidently).
I did think James Garner did a decent job with the script he was given. But it was all too little too late.
Right. Are you sure it was enough? For you still had to write a "gloriously" stupid book (and make a "gloriously" stupid movie based on it)! Not only stupid. Trite, empty, boring... A glorious disaster!
The characters are dull! Noah is what? Manic-depressive? Manic in the first 5 minutes, and throughout the rest of the movie depressive. Does he even fit the elderly character (you know, the grandpa who winks to young nurses)? Of course not. On the contrary, Allie is always hysterical, and all I got to hear were her constant screams. She seems and sounds like she's trying to reanimate a dead person. (Noah?) That person would probably kill her after the outcome and then peacefully die again. I think she would do perfect in a role of the serial killer's principal victim. Explicit edition only!
The music is simply unbearable!!!
And what about the children? There is only one scene with the all three of them! How superficial does one need to be, to put them in only one scene, and have us believe that they are actually a big part of their grand love and happy fairy tale life? The daughter says "Dad come home, we miss you". But dad had more important issues. He loved mom so much that he had to call on the whole divine/ demonic/ extraterrestrial/ voodoo/etc gang to make them die together?! Touchy. Who cares about children anyway.
And sooooooo many other bugs... Damn I don't even know why I'm writing this. I feel like one of Jeffrey Dahmer's zombies. Even that should feel better than being this numb after watching this piece of... you know what.
The only good thing about this movie is Joan Allen's performance.
I think if they had a different writing team, different researchers!, and ditched those two awful youth actors (who belong in teen flicks and those stupid giant lizard and shark movies on the Sci-Fi channel), the movie may have been good if the focus was on the late stages of their life and not the early. When they were young, it was all totally unrealistic cloudy rolls in the hay, giant rivers filled with birds and a wet sundress contest and pouty fights. But the roles Gena Rowlands and James Garner were totally different and could really make a wonder movie.
The many historical flaws were very distracting. Such as her jewelry styles. The types of pearls a betrothed upper class girl at her age were totally wrong. Also the lack of progression of the fashions through the decade of their youth is wrong especially for someone w/ money.
Unusually, I would say read the book, but that was just as bad. My recommendation is watch a different movie! Oh and I SO totally agree with dallas_viewer 's review! This person hit it on the nose! Also kj_justice 's review is spot on except for the Disney comment. Sappy Disney romance is one kind I always love! :-)
I liked A Walk to Remember a lot and felt obliged to check this out (because it's from a book by the same writer). That obligation turned out to be quite rewarding as this sober, mature film was everything zillion dollar attempts to make us cry (I'm subtly referencing Pearl Harbor) were not. It's all about character and the guts and imagination to tell a good story.
Noah is a simple 17-year-old lumberyard worker. He's cocky, arrogant but very good-natured and he quickly attaches himself to Allie, a girl from the city, from Old Money and a fussy family who condemn her relationship with Noah. This is all told in flashback as old Noah (James Garner) reads from his book of youthful memories. Yes, this part is nothing original but the conviction by the cast make it astonishingly real and believable. The performances all round (but especially from Gosling and Rachel McAdams) give The Notebook a strong edge over most attempts at romance. You can literally feel their urge for each other and are involved with them all the way. 'Will she or won't she' plot lines have been done to agonising death so credit must be given Nick Cassavetes (who you'll probably best remember as Castor Troy's bald pal from Face/Off) for pulling it off so eloquently.
I strongly recommend that you give The Notebook a try. Even if your a hardened 300-pound muscle-man who's afraid to love it's still worth it. But I must warn you, if your the kind of person who breaks down in uncontrollable crying at the end of Bicentennial Man (err...) you must know that The Notebook ends very similarly. So if your lip quivers easily, watch it alone.
The DVD is in gorgeous-looking 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen that perfectly shows off the wonderful cinematography and warm color pallet of the film. The Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is most unsophisticated but considering the nature of the film, that is to be expected. Extras include, 2 Commentaries by director Nick Cassavetes and writer Nicholas Sparks, 12 Deleted Scenes, featurettes on Cassavetes and Sparks, 'Locating The Notebook' Featurette, Casting Noah and Allie Featurette, Rachel McAdams Screen Test and the Trailer.
There are many things that I truly enjoyed about "The Notebook", most notably the simple but poignant love story between Noah and Allie. I think one of the hardest things to do in a film is to show true love, which is so rare in real life, and thus extremely difficult to replicate on screen. Nick Cassavetes does an exceptional job of presenting the story without any sappy or phony elements that would have made the film cheap and predictable. Instead, he allows Gosling and McAdams to become the characters of Noah and Allie and they take it from there. Their performances are truly outstanding, I could honestly feel the love between them in every scene. This was a completely new experience for me because I rarely watch romantic films, and even more rarely find them to be believable.
I would recommend this film to everyone, both male and female. I know that most guys will be hesitant to watch this movie, but they should not be. If you've ever been in love, and if you've ever felt about someone like you've never felt about anyone else, you will enjoy "The Notebook". And even if you've never been in love I think that you will find this movie to be an honest and sincere story about two people that never stopped loving each other until their very last moments together.
I can't understand why this film is so popular. Perhaps it is because it lets women feel like anything they do is justifiable as long as they do it for "love". It encourages selfish behaviour and revokes any responsibility in favour of instant gratification.
Besides that, it was all very predictable and slow.
Finally, speaking as a woman whose grandfather had serious dementia, I think it was really really ridiculous that he would confuse and upset her daily like that just for his own selfish needs. Anyone who has been around dementia sufferers would see how unkind/not at all plausible this story line is.
It alternates between a pretty young couple yelling at each other and then groping each other, and their future selves in a Twilight Zone nursing home furnished right out of Crate & Barrel where all the female patients always have freshly applied lipstick. Almost all the plot points are telegraphed in about the first 10 minutes (except for that supremely stupid ending...they died happily ever after, just because they wanted to).
A few observations: Why is she so surprised her mother hid the letters? Isn't that something a protective mother would do in those days? Didn't she know how to write? And considering they've been married for oh, about 50 or 60 years in the nursing home scenes, why do none of their children look over 30? Did she serve a long stint in a convent at some point?
The so called "couple" in this film are only in love because the movie says they are, not because there's any sort of chemistry between the actors and not because the characters themselves even act like. Even Allie's alleged interest in painting felt so tacked on shallow and fake it made my head hurt. Speaking of Allie, it actually infuriates me to see the character acting like she has absolutely no control over her libido because the sex is just about the only thing the couple seems to have in common, and the only thing, aside from arguing, that they enjoy doing together. And yet this movie is supposed to be oh so romantic.
It's by some small miracle that this movie got the raving reviews it did, luckily it seems most of those were given by teenage girls and their tool boyfriends (no Oscars or anything) so I don't have to completely give up on humanity yet. If one day your girlfriend suddenly shows up all lyrical about this movie and wants it to "share it with you" I'd strongly advise any guy to end that relationship pronto. Your girlfriend will obviously already have built up her own twisted fantasy of what a relationship should be like, a fantasy that no guy, live or dead, could possibly live up to. Stay away.
Unlike other "love story / chick flick" components to movies such as titanic etc, the guy she left, who she also happened to be unfaithful to, for her "true love", was portrayed as a nice guy throughout the movie. No sympathy was attributed to this guy even though his loss was at the expense of her.
Another example of this was shown that the couple had 4 children ranging from young teen to adult. When the movie ended with the pair of them in bed both expiring at the same time, several people claim this was a happy event (a good way to go). Well it is for the 2 people, rather the one that would not have outlived the other and thus would not suffer the loss. However, they are not the only 2 people in the world, there were 4 children. I have had the misfortune of losing a parent. If I lost both at the same time, I don't think I would have thought that was such a happy event. This is another example of the focus on the "love / romance" at any cost to others. This happens in a lot of movies, but normally it happens less and the loss is to the "bad guy".
It goes to show how most women in our society (primarily at a young age) will over value (to say the least) the "love / romance" (if you want to call it that) at the expense of anybody else's happiness - even when they are portrayed as good characters.
Saying all this, the photography is good and the acting isn't that bad. Still this doesn't warrant 2 stars.
Ah, yes, I'll just mention there are some uninspiring sex scenes and the film is also at least half an hour too long.
If you want to see a great love story where you feel with he characters and don't know why or how until the end, check The English Patient.