The Notebook (2004)
Notebook, The (DVD) (WS)
In Seabrook, North Carolina in the 1940s, teenaged debutante Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) and local boy Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) spend one passionate, carefree summer together and deeply in love. But when the summer ends, war and duty separate the young couple. Today, an elderly man (James Garner) visits a nursing home to read from his notebook to a woman (Gena Rowlands) whose memory is fading. As he spins a tale of two young lovers with their whole lives before them, his beloved Allie relives a long-ago passion that has never died, an unbreakable bond between two ordinary people rendered extraordinary by the strength, power and beauty of true love.Amazon.com When you consider that old-fashioned tearjerkers are an endangered species in Hollywood, a movie like The Notebook can be embraced without apology. Yes, it's syrupy sweet and clogged with clichés, and one can only marvel at the irony of Nick Cassavetes directing a weeper that his late father John--whose own films were devoid of saccharine sentiment--would have sneered at. Still, this touchingly impassioned and great-looking adaptation of the popular Nicholas Sparks novel has much to recommend, including appealing young costars (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) and appealing old costars (James Garner and Gena Rowlands, the director's mother) playing the same loving couple in (respectively) early 1940s and present-day North Carolina. He was poor, she was rich, and you can guess the rest; decades later, he's unabashedly devoted, and she's drifting into the memory-loss of senile dementia. How their love endured is the story preserved in the titular notebook that he reads to her in their twilight years. The movie's open to ridicule, but as a delicate tearjerker it works just fine. Message in a Bottle and A Walk to Remember were also based on Sparks novels, suggesting a triple-feature that hopeless romantics will cherish. --Jeff Shannon Additional Features The Platinum Series DVD includes a generous selection of bonus features including four making-of featurettes and Rachel McAdams' original screen test. The 11-1/2 minute "All in the Family" featurette examines director Nick Cassavetes' directing style and edgy sensibility and features commentary by Nick Cassavetes as well as lots of interview footage from a host of cast members including Sam Shepard, Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, and Gena Rowlands. "Nicholas Sparks: A Simple Story, Well Told" is a 6-1/2 minute look at the unassuming author and his literary success and "Southern Exposure" details the processes of locating The Notebook in Southern Carolina and re-creating a bygone era. "Casting Ryan and Rachel" marvels at the instant chemistry present between Ryan Gosling and McAdams. Twelve deleted and alternate scenes (totaling 28-1/2 minutes) are offered with great optional commentary by editor Alan Heim about the collaborative and sometimes difficult process of editing as well as the reasoning behind specific cuts. Nick Cassavetes' director commentary offers insight into his commitment to creating a realistic world in which idealistic love flourishes as well as his down-to-earth attitude as a director. Novelist Nicholas Sparks' commentary offers a wealth of information about the writing of the book, the spirit of the story, and the openness to change resulting from his perception of movies and novels as distinct art forms.. --Tami Horiuchi Review A lovely surprise. Ripe with feeling and lush with physical beauty, it's a love story that swings confidently between age and youth… --Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern About the Actor Rachel McAdams was born November 17, 1978, in Ontario, Canada. Rachel McAdams' movies include: Mean Girls (2004), The Notebook (2004) and The Vow (2012). Ryan Gosling was born November 12, 1980, in Ontario, Canada. He is well known for The Notebook (2004), Crazy Stupid Love (2011) and Drive (2011).