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210 of 227 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Love Stories of All Time
THE NOTEBOOK has long been my favorite of Nicholas Sparks' many books, so it is a happy surprise to me that the wonderful story transferred to the big screen with all the sweetness, warmth, and tenderness that made the book a runaway best seller.
The best part of this movie was the incredible chemistry between Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling as the young lovers Allie...
Published on July 4, 2004 by Antoinette Klein

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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rachel McAdams is an Up & Coming Movie Star!
As is the case with the book, "The Notebook" is an unexceptional story. The overall experience is improved, however, by the presence of Rachel McAdams, one of the brightest stars in Hollywood today. This is McAdams' movie from start to finish, in spite of interesting performances by James Garner (my favorite actor) and Gena Rowlands. The character of Noah is not as...
Published on September 17, 2005 by Charthead


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210 of 227 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Love Stories of All Time, July 4, 2004
By 
Antoinette Klein (Hoover, Alabama USA) - See all my reviews
THE NOTEBOOK has long been my favorite of Nicholas Sparks' many books, so it is a happy surprise to me that the wonderful story transferred to the big screen with all the sweetness, warmth, and tenderness that made the book a runaway best seller.
The best part of this movie was the incredible chemistry between Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling as the young lovers Allie and Noah. Their story was told by an elderly couple in a nursing home. James Garner and Gena Rowlands were outstanding as the devoted "Duke" and the woman with irreversible dementia. As Duke recounted the story of Allie and Noah from the notebook he carried with him, the lady's memory began to come back and she could remember.
The movie always changes the book but the one major change (the ending) which had the audience letting out a collective gasp and reaching for the nearest tissue was, in my opinion, really good even if it was pure Hollywood melodrama.
Why does a movie like THE NOTEBOOK appeal to so many? Is it that every woman longs for a man who loves as deeply as Noah? Is it that every one wants a love that transcends all problems---those of class, education, family objection----and lasts forever? Or just maybe in a world of high-tech gizmos and high security alerts, it's nice to get back to basics with a really good love story....and this is definitely that.
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278 of 318 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars During the throes of Winter, remembering Spring, July 1, 2004
THE NOTEBOOK is an old-fashioned love story with the topical subject of Alzheimer's Disease thrown in to heighten the Hankie Factor.
The film opens in the present at a genteel, riverside, Southern facility for the long-term care of the aged. An old man, "Duke" (James Garner), is in the habit of reading from a book to an elegant, but chronically confused and distant, lady (Gena Rowlands) of equal antiquity. The story concerns two teenagers during a hot, carefree, South Carolina summer preceding World War II. They are (in extended flashback) Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Rachel McAdams).
Noah, working in the local sawmill, is the uneducated son of a dirt-poor father (Sam Shephard). Allie, in these months before she's off to a prestigious New York college, is the only daughter of snobbishly wealthy parents, John (David Thornton) and Anne (Joan Allen) Hamilton.
The book's plot is that hoary one about two young lovers of disparate backgrounds and financial resources, who are subsequently separated by circumstances, objection and obstruction by the wealthy parents, and the subsequent engagement of one to another - in this case, Allie to a devilishly handsome and perfectly decent, rich, young, Army officer wounded during WWII, whom she meets while serving as a volunteer nurse in a Stateside military hospital. Will Noah and Allie ever get back together? That's what Duke's lone listener wants to know.
At midpoint point in this review, and midway through the film, it should be apparent that Duke and his lady friend are Noah and Allie in the winter of their lives. The latter is now suffering from Alzheimer's and only occasionally recognizes her husband, who reads her the story of their courtship over and over in the hope of stimulating her memory.
THE NOTEBOOK is an engaging love story that even Guys might enjoy. I did. James Garner is one of the most beloved screen veterans, and Ryan Gosling as Noah's younger self is totally likable. McAdams as Allie is effervescent and positively radiant. As a period piece, i.e. that part taking place before and immediately after the war, it's sumptuously photographed with contemporary costumes, hairstyles, music, and lots of vintage automobiles. And the sequence shot in the sunken forest amidst the migrating waterfowl was breathtaking in its beauty.
The film does stumble occasionally. While Joan Allen is superb as the witch mother you love to hate, at least until she reveals a secret of her own late in the movie, the John Hamilton character is a virtual non-entity. And I didn't believe his moustache for a second. (It reminded me of the beards in the Civil War epic GETTYSBURG.) Then, in a very brief sequence showing Noah off at war with Patton's Third Army, he barely bats an eye when his best friend is killed. What was that all about? Finally, the Hollywood ending, written by a screenwriter who must have wet him/herself out of giddiness in the melodrama of the moment, was absurd. Under the circumstances, such a passing is a good trick if one can pull it off, but it's sadly not the case, I fear, for most people in Real Life. Just ask Nancy Reagan.
I doubt that THE NOTEBOOK will receive any Oscar nominations, except for perhaps adapted screenplay (from the novel). But the admission price is still money well spent if you're weary of special FX-laden silliness and you want to see a couple of aging pros, Garner and Rowlands, before they, too, leave us. And girls, take an entire box of Kleenex.
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132 of 152 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (4 1/2 ) A Well Acted, Old Fashioned, Romantic Tearjerker, July 7, 2004
This screen adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' bestseller is a deeply emotional story of young love, the process of maturity, the crucial choices in our lives, and the frailty of old age. I have not read the book, and thus cannot comment upon the fealty of this film to Sparks' manuscript, but its emotional tone and import is certainly consistent with his other works with which I am familiar. In the opening scene we meet Duke (James Garner), who resides in a nursing home and apparently spends most of his time befriending another resident there, Allie Calhoun (Gena Rowlands), who is captivated by a 1940's story of young love which he reads in installments to her from THE NOTEBOOK which is his constant companion. Allie is suffering from some variety of dementia and these interludes provide some small comfort to an otherwise apparently colorless and bland existence.
The moviegoer is then transported to the 1940's, and the relatively brief appearances of the elderly Duke's and Allie alternate within the film with the enactment of the story contained in THE NOTEBOOK. That story is centered in Seabrook, N.C., where a local young man named Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) is captivated by a beautiful summer visitor from Charleston named Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams). (Of course, the viewer immediately wonders if indeed this notebook contains the story of the elderly Allie's life, and if so what part Duke will play.) As you no doubt have guessed, since this is an old fashioned romance they eventually fall in love. The relationship is eventually ended by Allie's mother Anne (wonderfully played by Joan Allen), who, in order to separate her society daughter from the local boy whose career aspirations are success in the local lumberyard, forces an early family return to Charleston to prepare for Allie's freshman year at college. (Do not judge Anne Hamilton too early in this film, however!)
The war years intervene, and Noah, with the help of his poetry loving small town father Frank (Sam Shepard) who has taught him to appreciate the beauty of Walt Whitman's work, withdraws into himself and concentrates on the restoration of the tumbledown waterfront mansion that he had once hoped to share with Allie. Meanwhile, she meets and gradually becomes attracted to a wounded veteran, Lon ( James Marsden); since he is both handsome and rich their eventual marriage seems preordained. However, fate intervenes with a wonderfully deft touch and suddenly the lives of Allie and Noah intersect again. We then watch as Allie is forced to decide whether someone can recapture their past or if only the memories remain after the fork in the road has been taken? Her dilemma is clear, Lon is the apparent right choice, yet - her wonderful interlude with Noah never had a proper conclusion.
This is a movie to attend when you want to bathe in your sentimentality, yet there are enough bittersweet moments to keep the viewer from being overwhelmed by the sickly sweetness that often is the result of such cinematic ventures. The acting is excellent, the story is told with restraint, and the cinematography is wonderful. My favorite visual scene was when Noah takes Allie out in a boat on the lake to his secret spot with all the swans; I found it breathtakingly beautiful. Interestingly enough, despite the film's two hour length most of the audience stayed in their seats talking or contemplating the conclusion when it ended and the credits rolled. Why not five stars? Two reasons, first, I am not sure that the movie quite achieves my usual criteria for that rating, wanting to own the DVD and view it multiple times. Second, I found the conclusion a little too contrived in an attempt to bring closure to both the characters and the audience. One final note, read the inscription on the flyleaf of THE NOTEBOOK carefully at the conclusion, it completely explains the origin and its power to entrance Allie.(...)
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, October 10, 2004
A Kid's Review
I am a thirteen year old kid. I saw this film about three months ago, and loved it. It shows the passion and heart of true love, and how hard it is to find. And when you finally find it, you have to hold on to it before it slips in between your fingers. It made me cry, just thinking these two could not be together. The way they are together makes me want to be in love and have that sort of relationship. Of course this is just the movies, and I am going to be extremely disapointed with my love life in the long run, because I would like it to be like this movie. Please give this movie a chance, and if you've ever had true love, you know that the creators of this film were only trying to show people that love is so rare and beautiful!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hopelessly sentimental and competely unforgettable, October 16, 2007
By 
Steven Hedge "Movie Fan" (Somewhere "East of Eden") - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Notebook (2004) (DVD)
This is the kind of film where you cringe at one moment from the stilted dialogue and then burst into tears over a love that knows no bounds the next moment.

The story of young lovers forced apart by social class isn't new to literature or film and it's handled here with little regard to wanting to add anything new to the genre. The young lovers are played well enough by Gosling and MacAdams, who are nice looking and affable, but their cringe-inducing dialogue and teen angst-like behaviors get in the way of their acting abilities and the enjoyment of the story. It was all rather unbearable to start. This first third of the film nearly had me shut the DVD off, but the juxtaposed storyline of an older couple, terrifically played by Garner and Rowlands, was so well written and acted that they alone kept me interested in where the story might go and how the two couples might be connected.

The second third of the film focuses on both moving on after a break up and yet still not letting go (do we ever really?). All the characters grow and develop into believable people and we sincerely care about them. Both the young lovers and the elderly couple are faced with moving on without their significant other and they are juxtaposed brilliantly here. The storyline begins to take better shape, but it is still riddled with cliches and it still suffers from a bit of over acting by the young lovers; however, the improvements are significant in this second act.

The third and final act beautifully ties up the film and I really shouldn't discuss it and spoil the impact it will have on you should you manage to get past the awful first act of this film. This is one of those rare films where the ending portion truly does make up for any prior ills the film contained. The acting by both Garner and Rowlands in the final segments of the film are one of the most touching I have ever seen on film and my own eyes fill up with tears just thinking of them.

My wife and I met when we were a mere 19 years old and with us now in our mid 40's we have come to so appreciate the value of our shared life. We have both experienced the tragic possibilities of living a life without the other several times, and those moments were eye-opening and frightening. Nothing can take the place of a life built together. Nothing can take the place of memories. Nothing can take the place of a deep love, and although we may be able to fall in love numerous times in our lives, nothing takes the place of being with the one person you always knew you were meant to be with for life. I know I'm as cliche-ridden right now as much of this film had been for me, but cliches became such because they do reveal truths. This film, although flawed at times, contains some of the great truths about love.

Although this is an enormously uneven film with its teen angst, cliche-ridden, over-acted first third, it is followed by a more believable and better organized second third, and a final third that is unbearably touching, compassionate, and completely unforgettable. I can't think of too many films that had an ending that moved me as much as this one did. The final third makes up for any sins of the first third and that makes this one film you really must see.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, Sappy, Romantic, Beautiful, June 14, 2004
By 
J. Williams (Nashville, TN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I got to see the sneak preview of this movie this past Saturday (6/12/04) and I absolutely loved it. I've seen Ryan Gosling on television before (Breaker High), but I hadn't seen Rachel McAdams until now. Their characters were so real and so believable. Even though the end may be predictable, this film lacks the typical structure of most romantic movies I've seen. It was interesting to see how the characters evolved and came together.
The film begins with James Garner reading pages out of a notebook to alzheimer(?) patient Gena Rowlands. As the story unfolds, we meet Allie and Noah. Allie comes from a wealthy Southern family. Noah works in the lumber yard. We see their joys as well as their struggles. Though they seem like complete opposites, they fall in love only to be torn apart when Noah leaves for World War 2 and Allie becomes engaged to another man.
I won't spoil the ending, but the two lovers reunite and Allie is faced with the decision of whether to keep her promise to her fiance or to go back to the man she left behind.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yanking at the Heart strings of Love, February 19, 2007
This review is from: The Notebook (2004) (DVD)
OK, so this one is aiming squarely at the "tearjerker" crowd, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. A disclaimer though, while writing this review, I have hidden my laminated man card in our personal safe and locked it and hidden the key. I have had a few punches taken out of the said 'man card' and if witnessed writing a review on the "notebook," giving it four stars, no doubt the man card police would show up at the door while writing, with the hole punch in hand and demand forfeiture of said man card. Don't worry! I think I'm safe.

Now back to Nick Cassavete's "The Notebook." The plot line is acted well enough by some engaging newcomer actors, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, as the young couple Noah and Allison who fall deeply and madly in love one summer and are split apart by families, distance, socio-economic castes, etcetera. Much zaniness ensues and in the end what do you know...it becomes a movie about love and of all things aging. Gosling is kind of like a cross between Matthew McConaughey circa "How to Lose a Guy in 10 days," and Brad Pitt in "Legends of a Fall." McAdams is Mc-beautiful, charming, engaging, and laughs quite well. Yep...I've fallen in love but so does Noah and that is what the story of "The Notebook," is all about my friends.

So, the flick sometimes borderlines on the edge of cheesiness and over-sentimentality but if one loosens up slightly I think girls and a few guys out there will enjoy it. Grant it, you aren't going to be inviting your friends over with a case of bud light to watch it for guy's night but hey...try it out on Valentine's Day or an anniversary with your significant or insignificant other and wallah...the movie works some magic.

What elevated this one to four stars is that Cassavete's has a way with the camera. There really is some beautiful cinematography in "The Notebook." It's appealing to the eye. I also like the way the movie focuses on the issue of aging and how the power of love trumps all, even father time's brushstroke on those we love.

Watch "The Notebook," preferably with your honey, honey you won't be sorry. --mmw
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful!!!, July 10, 2004
The Notebook is a gorgeous movie, beautifully shot by Robert Fraisse and wonderfully directed by Nick Cassavetes. The film sports a terrific cast, including the likes of Ryan Gosling (superbly underrated), Rachel McAdams (on her way to becoming a star) and the brilliance of James Garner, Gena Rowlands (Nick's mother!!!), Joan Allen, and Sam Shepard. These actors are blessed with a director who knows how to work with them, bringing out fantastic performances from each and every performer, secondary and otherwise.

It's a classic story of a love lost and later found, done to death in other films, but here, it works better than most. Based on Nicholas Sparks' 1996 best-seller, The Notebook revolves around the tale an elderly man (James Garner) who reads aloud to a confused woman (Gena Rowlands) who's confined to a nursing home. Though she's removed from reality by her fleeting, faded memory, she's obviously intrigued by the romance he relates. That romance begins in 1940, as 17 year-old Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams), a wealthy girl from Charleston, meets 19 year-old Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling), a local boy, at a Carnival. Impetuously, he implores her to go out with him and pesters her until she agrees. Sparks ignite the intense, overwhelming passion of their idyllic relationship. Horrified that her debutante daughter will wind up with a lumber mill worker, Allie's mother (Joan Allen) whisks her away to college. Allie's and Noah's lives take different directions during World War II., but memories linger and, seven years later, their paths cross again.
The film does have its share of problems and can be overly sentimental at times, but they are minor quibbles that can be easily overlooked. Overall, it is a breathtaking film, emotional and powerful from the first frame to the last. The scenery is breathtaking, the costumes are perfection, and the actors become their roles, adding to the realism and emotion. It is one of the best romantic dramas to come out in years. But be warned: for those who have a heart, be ready to WEEP!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, July 5, 2004
By 
Sara (Southern Cali) - See all my reviews
Warning, do not, I repeat, do not go and see this movie if you don't wish to want to fall in love. Because, basically that's what this movie does to you. It makes you feverishly want a real life version of Noah to walk into your life. It chronicles the passionate love of youth and the delicate devotion that should come with age. I laughed, I cried(like most people in the theater did both times I saw it), and most importantly I fell in love. It was real, it was passionate, it is something everyone should see...correction, The Notebook is something everyone should feel.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars -*the most romantic love story since TITANIC*-, July 1, 2004
THE NOTEBOOK truly has to be one of the most romantic love stories ever told. It reminds you that true love is everlasting, is enduring, can come from the strangest places & can make you do crazy things, but most importantly, when you share the kind of love that Noah & Alli did, love can do anything you want it to - even create miracles.
I loved all the characters, but Ryan Gosling & Rachel McAdams had the best on-screen chemistry I have seen in a long time. They look awesome together, & they are both AmAzInG actors. Ryan Gosling usually plays dark, intense characters in films such as MURDER BY NUMBERS & THE BELIEVER, and we've seen Rachel McAdams play snobby, prissy roles in films such as MEAN GIRLS & THE HOT CHICK. Though both new to the "romantic" role, they were perfect for their parts. The setting was perfect as well. It was so beautiful, & s0o0o romantic! Also, James Garner & Gena Rowlands portray the sick, aging old couple that is still madly in love wonderfully.
This movie is one of the best I have ever seen, & I plan to see it again & buy the DVD when it is released. It will make you both laugh & cry (bring LoTs of kleenex!). Knowing that this story came from the story of Spark's wife's grandparents' love story, it makes you realize that a lot of fiction comes from real experiences, and that true, enduring love is very real. The film's message was so deep & genuine that you can't help but feel as though you're a part of the story. I highly recommend it, as well as the book (I must add that Noah Calhoun is the BeSt character Nicholas Sparks has ever created, & he has created some pretty great characters!). Both are well worth every penny that you spend! :-)
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The Notebook [Blu-ray]
The Notebook [Blu-ray] by Nick Cassavetes (Blu-ray - 2010)
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