Monday, 29 October 2012

The Notebook (2004) - ★★★½

Director: Nick Cassavetes
Writers: Jeremy Leven (Screenplay), Jan Sardi (Adaptation), Nicholas Sparks (Novel)
Stars: Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Joan Allen, Sam Shepard

This movie is far from perfect. The acting is sometimes a little cheesy and the story is even cheesier. I don't know how Cassavetes did it, but he made a film with so much beauty and passion that it has become the romance film of a generation. Almost all of my friends would say that The Notebook is their favorite romance movie, and I completely understand why. Sometimes a flawed film can induce emotions in people that even classic films can't. This is one of those films.

It's the star-crossed lover genre, using the most basic of stories. The movie starts in a nursing home with Duke (James Garner), reading to an older woman, (Gena Rowlands), whose memory is slipping from her more and more everyday. Duke reads the story of two lovers who meet in the south at a carnival. Allie (Rachel McAdams), was 17 and a city girl from money. Noah (Ryan Gosling) was a poor country boy. The two spend a summer together filled with intense romance and fun. Her parents force her to move and go to college because of his poor social status. She was willing to give it up for Noah, until one small argument caused them to go their separate ways, even though they're still very much inlove.

Rich girl, poor boy? Parents intervene? Where have I seen that story before? That was my initial thought when I heard about the film. Regardless of this recycled plot, the story was still beautiful and the characters very likable. Gosling and McAdams had the most amazing chemistry. It comes as no surprise that they started dating after this film. They are like Yin and Yang for each other. He is quiet, streetsmart and caring, whereas she is loud, adventurous and educated. I couldn't believe how good these two were for the roles. I never would have imagined Gosling and McAdams being the leads in this film, but now I can't imagine the film without them. That is the sign of a great performance.

The music is absolutely beautiful. It truly displayed the feelings of the characters and the mood of the scenes. Combined with the spectacular cinematography of the lake during sunset, The Notebook for a few scenes looked like a real classic film. I might also add that it is entertaining from start to finish. It's a long movie packed with drama and romance, there was never a dull moment for me.

This is also one of the most emotional films I've ever seen. I watched this with my sister (it was her first time seeing the film). When it finished, she rushed out of the room and into the bathroom. She was crying, and could not stop crying for about ten minutes. I wasn't moved to tears myself, but I was nearly there.

The beautiful music, cinematography, acting and story all combine to make this film a classic in the eyes of a generation of movie lovers. I myself very much enjoyed The Notebook, and although it didn't make me cry, it made me feel many other emotions.

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