- Nick Cassavetes
- Reviewed by
- José Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Thursday, August 12, 2004
A gentleman (James Garner) reads for an ill woman (Gena Rowlands) from an old notebook that tells the story of two star-crossed lovers in the 40’s:
When Noah (Ryan Golsing) lays eyes on Allie (Rachel McAdams) he does everything he can so she goes out with him. Soon enough they’re in love, but Allie comes from an uptight rich family that doesn’t accept the relationship. The situation gets even more complicated once Allie is accepted in a New York university, while Noah is subsequently sent to fight in the war.
The movie is based upon a well-known Nicholas Sparks novel. It was carefully translated to the big screen by director Nick Cassavetes (whose mother, Gena Rowlands, stars), who made an old-fashioned movie based on an old-fashioned premise. For that is the constant thought that will permeate your mind while you’re watching this love epic: it’s just like they used to make them.
The Notebook is devoid of cynicism. It is focused on telling its story and telling it well. We’ve seen this kind of conflict a thousand times, and the movie does nothing to present anything new, but the characters are so charismatic and the movie so well crafted that eventually it gets to our hearts. We want Noah and Allie to be together, and achieving that means a job well done.
The movie has two parallel storylines, one in the present and one in the past. The latter is far more lively and entertaining, not to mention more predominant. But I liked both stories just as well, given that everything about James Garner’s character is full of poignancy.
You could say the movie is mostly about Allie, and Rachel McAdams proves to be a real find. She has been merely relegated to supporting roles in some teen movies, but here she proves she’s got what it takes to carry a movie on her shoulders. And in a beautiful, infectious way too. Ryan Golsing is a great lead as well, and Garner and Rowlands are excellent. I wish there was more of Joan Allen, but she’s luminous as always. And James Mardsen provides good support in a small role.
The whole movie feels like a Hallmark card. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing to say if it’s done as well as this movie is. Great photography and a beautiful score just add to he wondrous feeling. That scene with the swans is utterly unforgettable!!!
“Maybe I was a bird in another life.”
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