The Notebook (2004)

The Notebook (poster)
Directed by Nick Cassavetes

There usually lies great emotional distress in romantic drama films. Or that’s what I keep reminding myself before watching them. The lucid moments the characters share on-screen all lead up to the point of inevitability. Same goes for The NotebookBased on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, this movie will make a powerful impression throughout some tender scenes while at the same time staying relatively unoriginal. Still, for a film from 2004, The Notebook has a timeless story that speaks to all audiences.

Summer romances end for all kinds of reasons. But when all is said and done, they have one thing in common: They are shooting stars-a spectacular moment of light in the heavens, a fleeting glimpse of eternity. And in a flash, they’re gone. — Duke

The film opens with shots of a red colored sunset, delicate piano music in the background and a person looking out from the window into the distance. It’s a clear sign that tragic events in the light of young romance are bound to happen. Director Nick Cassavetes has stayed really close to the original novel the movie is based on in order to partially reach the same effects and thereby captivate the attention of the audience very easily. And the good news is: it works. By creating a sense of pathos in the beginning, the shocking and illogical ending of the story has been ignored quite well.

The story continuously switches between the same couple in different moments of their life. The lovers, Noah and Allie, are played by Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. As an old couple, they are portrayed by James Garner and Gena Rowlands. She’s the rich kid on summer vacation in North Carolina and he’s the poor, but poetic local kid. The way they meet and leave each other is a realistic and heartbreaking picture of how relations worked back in the day. Fortunately there aren’t any cliché-ridden scenes that otherwise would be overwhelming save the ending. 

Moreover, it’s not your most logical romantic drama (like any other), but The Notebook does a pretty good job in emotionally suturing the audience to a few absorbing characters. The chemistry between Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling is undeniably the best I’ve ever seen. Their longing for each other has been explored extremely well and even though the movie sometimes suggests ancient methods of communication, like sending letters to your loved one instead of just calling, it stays a solid rendition to the classical Romeo and Juliet play.

Another aspect was the long-running parallelisms throughout the plot. The difficulty of coping with a disease for instance has been weighed against love as a motive to live. In the end, the movie reminded me of the Latin phrase by Virgil ‘love conquers all’.

However, the film has countless of gaps to fill. What struck me was the ending. Without spoiling too much, the film ended too peacefully and it was all just over-the-top. It was extremely sad and the easiest and most shocking option of rounding up things. I’m aware it all adds to the sense of drama, but it makes me wanna throw my TV out of the window.

In conclusion, watching this movie means showing your sensitive side. The Notebook is a tear-jerking and entertaining film that perfectly fits the definition of nice filmmaking.

C+

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8 thoughts on “The Notebook (2004)

  1. Good review Niejan. It’s soapy stuff, but the chemistry between Gosling and McAdams works and makes this a pretty compelling romance that you want to see work out. Then again, they were banging in real-life so it’s not hard to see why they worked so well together.

    • Thanks Dan. Too bad their relationship didn’t work out. Their counterparts, Garner and Rowlands, also did an excellent job in conveying the same on-screen chemistry. If it was a documentary, I would have been convinced they were the same people.

  2. I always feel like a freak admitting this, but I really loved The Last Song and I’m genuinely interested in seeing this one after your review. Which was beautiful, by the way – and damn, I didn’t even know Gosling was in it. Should really see it, then. ;)

    PS. You actually have a tag called Ryan Gosling hot. MAN. Hahahaha.

    • Those were the good Miley days eh?! The Last Song is also based on a Sparks novel. So if you loved that, you will most definitely enjoy this. HAHA. You’re so awesome for noticing; those tags work great with Tumblr people :D

    • Yes, Gosling did a really good job. Also, making him read poetry gave an entirely new feel to the film. I haven’t seen Amour, but I should. Thanks for the recommendation.

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