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3 reviews, 190 user ratings

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Notebook, The (2004)
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by Jason Whyte

"A classic example of a sad film that is also surprisingly good."
4 stars

"The Notebook" is so simple and yet so honest about love that I couldn't help but get swept up in the whole melodrama of it all. Sure, the film is as corny as you could expect from a Nicholas Sparks novel, but I kinda-liked the Sparks-adapted "A Walk To Remember" which contained a luminous Mandy Moore in a goofy plot, and here we have a likable and sweet love story, with a performance by Rachel McAdams that will no doubt make her a major presence.

McAdams is an actress that you may not know, but she's sneaking up on you. She had a small part in one of the worst films of 2002, "The Hot Chick," where she played the teenage girl that would eventually become Rob Schnieder. Her work in the Canadian film "Perfect Pie" was much discussed at film festivals in Canada. And earlier this year, she played the mondo-bitch Regina in "Mean Girls", with a curvaceous smile that was both sexy and vicious at the same time; she wasn't as noticed as much as the current "it" star Lindsay Lohan. Here, in "The Notebook", she's just about as beautiful as an actress can get, and it also helps that she's really good, too.

The film opens on two aged people at a retirement home, where a man and a woman come together to read from a book. The man is somewhat ill but is managing to get through to the woman, who has Alzheimer's. As he reads from the notebook, we move back to the early 1940's. We meet Noah (Ryan Gosling), an everyman, a blue-collar worker in Georgia who falls for Allie (McAdams), who is rich and spoiled, and living in a summer house before she heads off for Sarah Lawrence university. Noah falls instantly for the girl, but she is testy at first and eventually falls for him, but much to the objection of her parents (Sam Shepard and Joan Allen), who don't want a Summer Romance to make her "Heartbroken or pregnant."

Their relationship is certainly put to the test after she leaves for school. Noah writes her but never receives a response; at the same time World War II is happening, and Noah enlists. Several years pass and it appears that Allie has moved on, becoming engaged to a wealthy businessman named Lon (James Marsden) and moving into the city. When Noah returns, it causes a shake between him and Allie, but not a love triangle. Rather, it causes thought and reflection on the past they had and if they could have a future together.

The story moves back and forth between the retirement home and the 1940's as we slowly realize that these two elderly people are the ones in the notebook (I'm not giving too much away here.) The sub-plot with Allie and Lon is somewhat light, as is the older Noah's family pressuring him to come home after they feel that Allie has passed the point of no return. As well, Noah has a best friend that appears to be a major influence but we never really see that; it appears his screen time was cut and then dies quickly during the war without much impact.

But the heart of the film is in the right place. The director is Nick Cassavetes, son of legendary filmmaker John Cassavetes, and he finds the right notes in the characters and the performances. Mention must be made of Ryan Gosling, who is a fine young actor in nearly everything he does; from "The Believer" to "The United States of Leland," he's a capable and dynamic presence. Here he's so likeable and commanding of the screen that we truly believe he is in love with this girl, and he makes a great match opposite the wonderful Ms. McAdams. Sam Shepard and Joan Allen are excellent as Allie's parents; Allen especially in a scene where she talks about a missed opportunity where she chose money over love. Cassavetes has also cast James Garner and Gena Rowlands (his mother) as the elder Noah and Allie, and they are both terrific, finding the right balance of a love that has lasted for so long and will continue onwards despite their illness.

The topic of Alzheimer's is one that hits deep. (My grandmother died of this illness about ten years ago, and it was a painful experience in my teenage years to witness this.) In the film, the elder Noah is battling with his pain and suffering to a woman who has fallen victim to an illness and tries his best to help her remember. When she does, it is one of the best moments in the film; as melodramatic as all of it is, we come to the movies to be swept away into another time and place, and that's where "The Notebook" gets it right.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9596&reviewer=350
originally posted: 06/26/04 14:40:24
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 CineVegas Film Festival. For more in the 2004 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/19/17 Bonnie Married 53 yrs - mother, grandmother. Predictable, borying, cheesy, shallow, waste of time. 1 stars
1/04/15 Bob E NOTHING predicatable about a lifetime in love, devotion and misery. 5 stars
2/26/14 jazzyjay im in love with the movie my obsession right now at this point 5 stars
8/09/11 Chris F Utter trash worst movie ever 1 stars
3/12/11 lena lee uhhh to predictable and cliche... no offense, but really all of a sudden she remembers him? 3 stars
8/05/10 Susan This movie gives chick flicks a bad name. Maybe it was a spoof? 1 stars
9/26/09 J SKo It was beautiful. I love it and im a guy. But also im a fag. 5 stars
8/16/09 margo rubbish did women wear shorts out in the forties?' 2 stars
8/11/09 sawah YOU FAGGOT! 5 stars
8/02/09 Rachel a tear jerker movie, but I loved it! 5 stars
5/22/09 Grant Fitzgerald What "Titanic" would have been like if you took out the ship and the iceberg. 1 stars
4/08/09 Chris F very average romance film 3 stars
3/30/09 xxXARINAXxx the movie was ok. very touchy. people who hated it probably just can't relate to it (sorry) 4 stars
1/25/09 person it was okay, but wayyyy too much like titanic! compare them && see what i mean 3 stars
1/07/09 Amanda not realistic, but the romance we all want. 4 stars
12/28/08 the dork knight bleh. definitely for women. but still, good movie... 4 stars
9/18/08 Maringa I love this movie!!!! it was aswome, but sad.... 5 stars
9/15/08 janie i cried alot during this movie,best love story ever!!! 5 stars
4/04/08 godwin94 you can see where tis going and its not the best use of alzheimers but its still a so sad 4 stars
1/18/08 Petros One of the most memmorable films !! Fabulous!! 5 stars
10/29/07 mike lame love story ripoff of Titanic kind of. Cliched/excessive cheese. Crappy ending 3 stars
10/01/07 Hollyblood Witchslap Rachel McAdams tries hard but can't salvage this morose turkey. 1 stars
7/23/07 Carolina THE BEST MOVIE EVER!!!! 5 stars
7/16/07 megan best movie ive ever watched :D 5 stars
5/23/07 Dave I'm gonna puke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
4/14/07 Jess I absolutely LOVE this movie. Best movie ever! 5 stars
3/28/07 khadra:] wow this is gay:] 1 stars
12/02/06 mary very heartwarming.i love it. 5 stars
11/13/06 xox-strawberry_kisses-xox BEST LOVE STORY EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/30/06 matt money = evil Time = money women= Time X money wemon = evil squared 1 stars
10/11/06 Turd Burglar And we wonder why women cheat.. watchin this trash. 1 stars
9/14/06 pheebs OMG.. BEST FILM IVE EVER SEEN! 5 stars
8/31/06 adriana BEST FUCKING MOVIE EVER!! =] 5 stars
8/23/06 Sarah i loved the movie and it reminded me of how much your first love will never die 5 stars
8/15/06 xxx This movie made you cry and laugh! One of the most beautiful romances! 5 stars
6/18/06 Stacy I have lost a loved one to this dreadful disease, and the movie was not a slap in the face. 4 stars
5/01/06 cheyenne work i love it 5 stars
3/27/06 Peter Jackson this is the best date movie if ur tryin to get into someone's pants, and trust me, it works 5 stars
12/02/05 cr a sad love story with class , the story is great and actors are great ! 4 stars
11/30/05 hedgehog A love story for the MTV generation...as in, emotional retards. 2 stars
11/20/05 Jonathon Holmes Someone, for the love of god, put a fucking bullet through my head! 1 stars
11/13/05 Lanie Richardson This is my favorite movie of all time!!! 5 stars
10/28/05 Hilario Ramirez My wife and I fell in love with this excellent film 5 stars
10/19/05 ladybug Wow! who ever wrote the review on " Total Crap" is so ignorant! this movie is incredible. 5 stars
10/08/05 rob so old-fashioned, enjoyable, and well-shot that the predictability is A-ok 4 stars
9/27/05 maaaaaaaaaarie GREAAAAAAAT MOVIE I COULD MARRY IT 5 stars
9/15/05 Cristie Ferrante Best Love Story in Recent Years 5 stars
9/13/05 gina the notebook is a great movie . if you dont like it your out of your mind l 5 stars
9/02/05 smashgirl predictable, shallow, mawkish, stupid, dragging 1 stars
9/01/05 Tom Burns A very romantic movie. 5 stars
8/25/05 Kayla I absolutely LOVE this film! Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling did a fantastic job! 5 stars
8/18/05 ES 'It's the story of us!' <weeping>, written by a guy 8), probably so he could get some 1 stars
8/17/05 Alexandra i LOve this movie i cried everytime i saw it (i've seen it 5 times) 5 stars
8/01/05 Sherrie Daily Ryan & Rachel were excellent, I have watched the film at least 10 times and love it. 5 stars
7/31/05 Lynn Definitely a "chick flick" all the way! Great movie with great main characters! 4 stars
7/26/05 docmoreau it brought me to tears, because it brought me back to a love that chose the other guy 5 stars
7/22/05 Felicia I do not agree with ur rude comments whatsoever. This movie was incrediable! F YOU 5 stars
7/18/05 Brandy Harrington Nope. 2 stars
7/07/05 shannon this movie is amazing!!! its my FAVORITE movie! ryan gosling is so hott! big tear-jerker! 5 stars
7/03/05 Sauny Magnificent! 5 stars
6/06/05 marjury sabino touchy story for hopeless romantics!!!! 3 stars
6/02/05 lauren this is my favorite movie !! i lvoe ryan gosling 5 stars
5/25/05 kc It made me cry like a hungry baby! 5 stars
4/12/05 Ashley A great movie, very sad, but yet good! 4 stars
4/08/05 Melissa B Don't forget the tissues--big time tearjerker! 4 stars
4/04/05 Gomer Simple and sweet. AAHH !! WHO ARE YOU ?? GET AWAY ! ! 4 stars
4/02/05 Cindy Schneider I could relate to this movie. I enjoyed it. 5 stars
3/31/05 Carolyn Cherry One of the Best Movies I have seen 4 stars
3/30/05 Giovanna I love it !!!!!!!!!!!1 5 stars
3/30/05 Michael E. Duffy It's a chick flick,but good, not sappy 4 stars
3/27/05 Emma A wonder love story, one of the better ones I have seen in a while. 5 stars
3/25/05 Denise great but sad 5 stars
3/24/05 Abbi one of the better ones I've seen lately 4 stars
3/15/05 Amy Lynch One of the greatest movies of all time... very sad, but moving! 5 stars
3/15/05 Jody Loved it. Best love story in a long time. Cried my eyes out. 5 stars
3/02/05 kristy *BEST* heart throbing n so sweet 5 stars
3/01/05 Kim Hicks Greatest movie I have seen in a long time. 5 stars
2/28/05 OC_SurfChick I LOVED this movie! Great love story. 5 stars
2/23/05 Dusty Johnson Oh well - it was free. My wife liked it. 3 stars
2/19/05 Debbie This movie is the best, most moving love story!! 5 stars
2/18/05 Sharon Davis Disease of the week Movie, Alzheimers, 3 stars
2/18/05 LilyM McAdams delivers on the promise she showed in "The Hot Chick" 4 stars
2/17/05 daniel r walker If you like pretentious movies you'll love this 3 stars
2/17/05 Melis Loved it! Gets better with every viewing. Wish I had love like that. 5 stars
2/17/05 daniel r walker If you like pretentious movies you'll love this 3 stars
2/17/05 Eileen Lammers Sappy, but I loved every minute of the movie! 5 stars
2/17/05 Janet Crandall It will be okay if I don't see it for a while 3 stars
2/16/05 Dusty Johnson I liked it - basic chick flick but it was good to watch with my wife. 4 stars
2/16/05 Lisa Jochelson I actually liked this movie. Depressing as all hell, but it stayed with me for a long time 4 stars
2/16/05 Rachel Neely I'm not a fan of romantic movies, but I absolutely loved this one! 5 stars
2/15/05 JE It is a wonderful and a little sad movie about true love and commitment to marriage vows 4 stars
2/11/05 rebecca gilbert Liked it, but missed the end. 4 stars
11/23/04 Maureen I was really surprised at how good this movie is-not my usual kind of movie, but it got me! 5 stars
11/08/04 Jessica I love this film, I think it was the best romantic drama I have ever seen! 5 stars
11/06/04 Katie Heath I thought it was a ho-hum story where I was forced to shed tears against my will. 2 stars
10/20/04 Meredith Harshaw Right, Julia. But does show what a versatile actress Rachel McAdams is. Nothing like Regina 3 stars
10/20/04 Julia Cox First shows promise, then gets overlong, then ends on a complete descent into bathos. 2 stars
10/20/04 tina I LOVED it!! 5 stars
10/19/04 Jenna This movie is has to seen movie 5 stars
10/18/04 Jessica T. The Notebook is absolutely the most beautiful movie ever produced 5 stars
10/10/04 Pat It is a beautiful and touching love story. 5 stars
10/05/04 Laura I cried from beginning til end...incredible 5 stars
10/05/04 leslie great!! 4 stars
10/04/04 JS may not be the best romantic movie but its definitely worth watching.... 4 stars
9/29/04 Carinne Vitelli Beautiful story, very touching, truly a tear-jerker 5 stars
9/28/04 Catdawg this is the best love story ever told and the charetcters can relate to any one of any age! 5 stars
9/27/04 Misty Klodt I thougth it was a great Movie! 5 stars
9/27/04 Deb Excellent best movie I've ever seen 5 stars
9/26/04 OinkieDoinkie I'm not big on rommance movies, but I definetly liked this movie. 4 stars
9/26/04 Angie Beavers Beautiful , best movie ever!! 5 stars
9/23/04 Arica Parker marvelous 5 stars
9/19/04 Debbie Linkhart Best movie I've ever seen in my life and I'm 45 5 stars
9/19/04 Melissa By far the greatest movie of all time 5 stars
9/11/04 brendie It was Great! Does anyone know when it is coming to dvd to buy? 5 stars
9/11/04 Adrianna ll this movie portreys the greates love story of all times. I loved it! 5 stars
9/07/04 Jesse Rogers Fantastic Flick , Grade A Romance to the Maxx 5 stars
9/06/04 miki best movie ever 5 stars
8/25/04 Marelise best film I've seen in years! 5 stars
8/14/04 Amanda Bee I Loved This Movie! 5 stars
8/04/04 Judy Hidy a sweet, sweet love story. Loved it! 5 stars
8/04/04 Gina Great movie! Just seeing the commercial makes me want to cry all over again! 5 stars
8/01/04 Patricia It's my favorite movie 5 stars
8/01/04 Ann AWESOME! One of the best movies I have ever seen. Great love story and acting. 5 stars
7/30/04 kIM I LOVED It!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
7/30/04 Shellie I LOVED this movie! I saw it twice in theaters and can't wait to buy it! 5 stars
7/29/04 Jack Rydell Fucking Awsome i'll admit this movie had me weeping 5 stars
7/25/04 B J Moore Excellent movie, wonderful but sad story 5 stars
7/25/04 Melissa One of the best romantic movies I have ever seen. I was literally exhausted from crying. 5 stars
7/24/04 Leona Wieland My mother died of Alzheimers in March-- enjoyable and worthy of praise 5 stars
7/19/04 Amanda This movie was AWESOME! 5 stars
7/16/04 Danielle If you are in to mood for a good cry, this is the perfect movie! I loved it! 5 stars
7/16/04 Michelle Ngai it was a little random and hard to follow at times, but overall, the movie is unforgetable 4 stars
7/12/04 Dr Bob Wonderfully romantic. A gem! unforketable. 5 stars
7/12/04 Nicolle Ocean Made me cry a lot but I loved it!! 5 stars
7/12/04 Debbie R. Absolutely awsome! So beautifully made!! Cinematography is unbelievable! 5 stars
7/12/04 L Thomas Loved it 5 stars
7/12/04 R Scott Linton Ignore lame reviews. Until you have lived and loved this intensely you won't understand 5 stars
7/11/04 Gina manipulative,cloying, puerile, and cliched, oh yeah it really sucked 1 stars
7/09/04 S. C. B. A lovely movie, very sad. Not only a love story, and the story of a man who is unusually 4 stars
7/09/04 vanessa awsome movie ` even higher than a 5 emotional aswell but amasing 5 stars
7/09/04 deborah IT WAS GREAT!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
7/09/04 Judy Great story 5 stars
7/06/04 Tom Nehl Interesting, but with unanswered questions 4 stars
7/06/04 susan benguerel the best movie I ever saw in my life 5 stars
7/05/04 carole Wonderful 5 stars
7/05/04 Jim & Pat Santini a very touching love story 5 stars
7/04/04 Heather Loved the scene of the ducks in the lake, a great chick flick 5 stars
7/03/04 harriet s frenkil charming lovestory a pleasure in these days of violence 5 stars
7/03/04 Vicky Bartolome It was AMAZING! the best LOVE STORY ever HEARD! soooo great..its BEAUTIFUL and hilarious. 5 stars
7/02/04 Brooke I LOVED The NOtebooK! it was SO cute and everyone in the theater was crying! 5 stars
7/01/04 Human Shield . I know I'm a guy saying this, but it was manipulative and predictable. 2 stars
7/01/04 Pamela Beautiful movie. The chemistry between Gosling and McAdams is incredibly genuine. 5 stars
6/30/04 marina THE BEST MOVIE EVER!! 5 stars
6/29/04 Cass Loved it ,Even though i felt it rather confusing but as it started to unwind i grew to love 4 stars
6/29/04 Mary Worth Seeing 4 stars
6/28/04 L.B. This movie was great made you really think there is such a thing as true love. 5 stars
6/28/04 Carly brilliant-one of the best love storys ive seen 5 stars
6/27/04 Bari Leventhal Great romantic movie! 5 stars
6/27/04 sofia klein This movie is one of those movies that leaves you thinking about it afterwards. 5 stars
6/27/04 Elizabeth Roth These young actors were made for this role. Increddible movie! 5 stars
6/26/04 B Moore magnificent/inspiring 5 stars
6/26/04 horny guy a complete bore 1 stars
6/25/04 Christina This movie was awsome i loved it and Ryan was hott and Ratchel was beautiful!! 5 stars
6/23/04 charles lindquist it is an amazing film rachel mcadams is amazing 5 stars
6/21/04 Bridget Best movie I've ever seen! 5 stars
6/20/04 LJB Sentimental!!! The "Love Story" of the 21C. Bring your Kleenex 4 stars
6/18/04 Ray Great 5 stars
6/17/04 Jennifer This was the BEST movie I've seen in a long time. 5 stars
6/16/04 O Mel Suprisingly good and unexpected 5 stars
6/16/04 GK from WIS Lovely film with romance and life-perspective 5 stars
6/16/04 Amanda O'Rourke The second best film I have saw behind City of Angels but I have 2 say that it is brilliant 5 stars
6/15/04 Katie awesome! definitely lives lives up to the high expectations set by the book! go see it! 5 stars
6/15/04 Dorothy This movie was great!! it was an awesome love story!! it was definately worth seeing! 5 stars
6/14/04 KT SOOOOO GOOD! Definitely worth seeing - definitely bring tissues if you cry easily!! 5 stars
6/14/04 Carrie Tahler I loved every minute. I didn't want story to end!! 5 stars
6/14/04 Sheryl Great love story...If you like Ryan Gosling, this is the movie to see. 4 stars
6/14/04 mary I loved it-A great love story 5 stars
6/13/04 jean west great 5 stars
6/13/04 Melinda This was a great movie. It touched every emotion! There was not a dry eye in the house! 5 stars
6/13/04 Heather great, touching movie 5 stars
6/13/04 Kristen Good movie, borderline cheesey, yet tastefully made and a beautiful story! 4 stars
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  25-Jun-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 08-Feb-2005



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