Director: Nick Cassavetes
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Joan Allen, Rachel McAdam
Duration: 115 minutes
If ever there was a big-budget Hollywood feature that proved
that you can make a movie today just as they used to, it is
The Notebook. It is lush and romantic, pretty as many pictures,
its heart beating on its sleeve. Not a film for the cynics.
Based on a bestseller by Nicholas Sparks, it begins in the
present with an old man reading a story from a notebook to
an old lady in a home for the elderly. It is James Garner
reading to Gena Rowlands (mother of the director, Nick Cassavetes).
The woman is afraid, disturbed and suffering from dementia.
But she listens attentively to what she says is a good story.
Then we see the story, coming back to the present every so
often. It is the 1940s in the American south. Summer and holidays.
Noah, who works in a lumber mill and has very few prospects,
is attracted to Allie, a vivacious young girl from a wealthy
family who is on holidays. They fall in love, they... well,
it is not too hard to anticipate what will happen...
Ryan Gosling gives a credible performance with a difficult
role: an earnest young man in love, disappointed in love,
off to World War II and the attempt to settle after the war.
Rachel McAdam is wonderfully spirited as the emotional young
girl, pressurised to conformity by her mother (Joan Allen)
and then trying to find her true self.
The danger with this kind of film, inviting us to lose ourselves
in the emotions of the characters, is that it can become too
much, at times too twee, at times too melodramatic. But, this
is what the film intends to be and does it.