Hey guys. Sorry for the lack of review last week, I was on vacation/recovering from working 16 hours on Cinco de Mayo, but I’m back. For this week, we are going back to what this set of blogs was originally supposed to be about: reviews for movies based on books or works of literature. This week is also a new genre for this series: a romance. For this week’s movie, I will be reviewing Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook.
The Notebook starts off with Duke (James Garner) telling an unnamed woman (Gena Rowlands) a story. The story is about young lovers Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) and Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams), who meet one night at a festival. From the moment he sees Allie, Noah is enamored with her and has to go on a date with her. He goes as far as climbing up a Ferris wheel to ask her out, to which she eventually says yes. Their relationship is volatile, with constant fighting and making up. As the summer goes on they become more serious, but they break up after a fight one night and Allie moves out of Seabrook and into college in New York. Noah writes one letter a day for a year to Allie. Unfortunately, she doesn’t receive any of the letters because they are intercepted by her controlling mother, Anne Hamilton (Joan Allen). Allie eventually moves on while in college, while Noah goes to fight in World War II. When some of the soldiers come back, Allie volunteers as a nurse’s aide and falls in love with wounded soldier Lon Hammond Jr. (James Marsden), eventually becoming engaged to him. When Noah comes back from the war, he repairs an old plantation home that he purchases and gets his name and picture in newspaper. While Allie is trying on her wedding dress, she sees Noah’s picture and decides she needs to go visit him to move on with her life. When she goes to visit him, she realizes her first love isn’t completely dead and must choose who she wants to share her life with. Does she choose the man she promised herself to or her first love?
I have to admit, the first time I saw this movie I was pretty sure I was just going to see another chick flick with a sappy ending. I actually enjoyed this movie a lot more than I was expecting to. The story, which is based on Nicholas Spark’s novel, is a truly original take on a classic love story. Most love stories are too pure and the couple always gets along in an unnatural way. I liked that this couple despite all their flaws truly loved each other. Like Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth from Persuasion, the sum of the couple as a whole was better than their existence separately.
Another highlight of the movie was the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, who played Noah and Allie. They played off their character quirks quite well, and I almost felt like I was watching a real couple rather than characters. (In reality, McAdams and Gosling did date for 3 years after making the Notebook). Rachel McAdams was especially incredible in this role. She embodied Allie. She seemed so genuinely conflicted in choosing between Lon and Noah. As the viewer, your eyes are just drawn to her when she is on the screen.
All and all I really enjoyed the Notebook. It has a great story, but also features even better actors that bought the story to life. Like always, I will end my review with a question: do you believe true love exists? If it does, do you think it truly conquers all? After seeing this movie, you might change your perspective on true love. Until next time, happy viewing.
4 out of 5 StarsThe Notebook (2004) New Line Cinema PG-13, 123 Minutes