The imminent arrival of summer seems to bring out my romantic spirit. The Notebook (2004) is as romantic as it gets. Ok, maybe just after Casablanca! Directed by Nick Cassavetes, it is based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. It stars rising actors Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling , as well as veterans Gena Rowlands (and incidentally wife of John Cassavetes and mother of Nick Cassavetes) and James Garner. Supporting cast includes Joan Allen and James Marsden.
And in case you're wondering, yes, this review is very likely to be a cheesy one!
The movie starts with an old man names Duke (Garner), who is visiting an elderly woman (Rowlands) who suffers from memory loss. He reads to her the story of rich girl Allie (McAdams) and poor country boy Noah (Gosling), who met during one summer when they were 17. But life (and Allie’s parents – mother played by Joan Allen) separates them. Allie goes off to college and moves on with her life, even getting engaged a few years later. However they are brought back together and Allie has to choose between her rich fiancé (Marsden) and the man she never stopped loving. In spite of this very brief synopsis, be assured that this is not just a movie about two people falling in love and living happily ever after.
Duke: They didn't agree on much. In fact they rarely agreed on anything. They fought all the time and they challenged each other everyday...But in spite their differences, they had one important thing in common, they were crazy about each other.
Noah: Would you just stay with me?
Allie: Stay with you? What for? Look at us, we're already fighting
Noah: Well that's what we do, we fight... You tell me when I am being an arrogant son of a bitch and I tell you when you are a pain in the ass. Which you are, 99% of the time. I'm not afraid to hurt your feelings. You have like a 2 second rebound rate, then you're back doing the next pain-in-the-ass thing.
Duke: That's my sweetheart in there. Wherever she is, that's where my home is.
Gosling and McAdams are amazing together, and the chemistry between them is obvious. The acting of the two older actors is slightly stronger, even though they do not appear much, but they are just incredible especially towards the end of the movie. Gosling is perfect, he makes you want Noah for yourself. Even the music is moving. James Gardner and Joan Allen are great in their supporting roles.
Each character is very well developed, and draws you into the story. I watched it several times, and each time I was embarked on this rollercoaster of emotions, from pure laugh to tears – honestly I think this is one of the movies where I have cried the most. It's heart-breaking and heart-warming all at the same time. Of course there is the little twist, the piece of missing info unfolds gradually and keeps us on tenterhooks, rooting for a happy ending.
Read this to me, and I'll come back to you every time