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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

The Notebook

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Judy Thorburn

The Notebook

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“THE NOTEBOOK” – A LOVE STORY FOR THE AGES

Call me a hopeless romantic. I just can’t help it.  I am a sucker for a good old-fashioned love story, the kind that grabs you by the seat of your pants, sweeps you into the trials and tribulations of a love-smitten couple, and before long you are overwhelmed emotionally and start grabbing for the hankies as the tears begin to flow. However, it takes more than that for me to feel a personal connection. When it’s happening on the movie screen, there better be some darn good acting and great chemistry between the two lovers, in order to believe it’s real. Of course, you can’t be without a good premise from which to work. It all comes together nicely in the latest Nicolas Sparks best selling 1996 novel, The Notebook, adapted to the screen by co writers Jeremy Leven and Jan Sardi.

Directed by Nick Cassavetes, The Notebook is a beautiful and touching story about eternal love.  But, it is the wonderful performances by James Garner, Gena Rowlands and their two younger counterparts, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams that keep the film from becoming just another weep inducing soap opera.

James Garner plays a caring old man who visits an elderly, but still beautiful woman, on a daily basis in her room at a nursing home, where he reads her pages from an old notebook.  It soon becomes clear she has Alzheimer’s disease, and that he hopes the story will bring back memories that have faded from her mind.

Using flashbacks to the early 1940’s, the words are brought to life in the form of star-crossed teenage sweethearts in North Carolina, who come from opposite sides of the tracks. Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) is the pretty girl from a wealthy, upper class family in the city. Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) is a country boy, making only 40 cents an hour at a lumberyard. He knows what he wants, and goes after it with no holds barred. Noah wants Allie, even if it means dangling from a Ferris wheel to get her to go out with him. But, once she agrees, the rest is history.  They fight every day, don’t agree on anything, but have one important thing in common – they are crazy about each other. Allie’s mother (Joan Allen), on the other hand, thinks he is bad news. So, she soon breaks them apart, forcing each to take different paths in their lives.

With World War II approaching, Allie volunteers as a nurse’s aid, and falls in love with Lon (James Marsden), a handsome, wounded soldier in her care, who later becomes her fiancé.  Noah enlists in the Army, and after he returns home uses the money from the sale of his father’s house and his military pension to buy a shoddy old mansion and turn it into a dream house. Years go by, but the couple eventually reunites.  Problems ensue when she has to make a difficult decision to choose between two very different men, both whom she loves. Will Allie marry wealthy Lon, or stay with her true love from the start, Noah who came through on a promise he made to her years ago?

It doesn’t take too much to figure out that the story being read is that of the older pair. Yet, it is Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams who get most of the screen time as their younger versions.  They are so hot together.  In the scenes where they can’t keep their hands off each other, it is impossible not to believe their love is not real. You can just feel the passion.  I haven’t seen such chemistry like this between actors in a long time.  McAdams, who was such a bitch in Mean Girls, shows a completely different side here.

She is luminescent, vibrant, and comes through with a multi layered powerful performance.  Who knew she had such range? Gosling, usually seen as a psycho (he is so good at it, it is scary) gives a compassionate, understated performance- something new and refreshing for this extremely talented, fast rising star.

Garner and Rowlands (Mom to the director, in real life) have less to do.  But, in the few scenes together, they are more than effective. They both evoke a genuine tenderness and believability.  There couldn’t have been a dry eye in the house when seeing how the elder Noah fell apart as he helplessly watched the love of his life cry out in a moment of confusion. It is heart wrenching, and will tear at your soul. Each of these four performances is Oscar worthy.

Yes, the Notebook is the definitive “chick flick”.  It has all the romantic elements we women love, including Robert Fraisse’s beautiful cinematography that opens the film with a gorgeous sunset, seabirds gliding through the air, and later captures the tone with a moonlit night and a boat ride surrounded by hundreds of graceful white geese on the lake. But, that’s not to say men can’t relate to this movie. The Notebook centers on the power of undying love.  Its one chapter I should hope EVERYONE experiences in their lifetime.