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The NotebookThe Notebook

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, Gena Rowlands, and James Garner
Directed by: Nick Castleofcorvettes
Soundtrack Review

 

 

Bluntly speaking? The Notebook may just be the most romantic movie of our generation. It makes Titanic look like a Harlequin novel...not really but it's certainly more grounded - pardon the pun. The Notebook is an incredibly touching, remarkably raw, rare film about true love - and the power of that love.

Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling are electric and Gena Rowlands and James Garner will have you snort crying with their touching twilight-of-life portrayal.

Story goes...Duke (James Garner) is a resident volunteer in the local retirement home. He reads to a woman (Gena Rowlands), each day from a romantic notebook filled with a tale of lasting love. The woman is in the grips of Alzheimer's and this is a, let's say, kind of therapy for her. For him, it's what makes his day worth living.

Each morning he starts to tell her the long-ago-tale of star-crossed lovers, Noah and Allie. It keeps her mind from dissipating completely and helps Duke go on.

Duke, who by now is familiar with the tale, tells her how Noah was a simple, goodhearted young man, from a small town, who loved poetry and the sounds and nuances of life - a romantic. He meets a summer-love named Allie who is not so simple...

Allie's from the other end of the world, where people drink with pinkies perched and cover their mouths when they giggle - or fart. Stopping to smell the McCartney roses would be something "the help" would perform after brunch in the parlor as a midday entertainment...

Beneath her debutante veneer was an artist hankering to be free. Noah was just the boy-man to help her discover fireflies and quickened heartbeats

Naturally the two fall madly deeply in love...and not just lust. But Allie's parents decide Noah aint no good. He's downright common folk. So, the two are ripped from each other's hearts.

Allie pouts but listens to her parents wishes, and Noah becomes a man haunted by what might have been.

But then one-day, several years, and buckets of tears later, fate comes knocking yet again (thank god or I for one woulda been inconsolable). The two get a second chance. But as is oft the case in life, their moment is a tad less-than Pepperidge Farm cutesy. Sure they remember, but can they rekindle? Oh, and Allie's now engaged, about to be wed, to a society bred manly-man named Lon (James Marsden).

Let the drama unfold.

Speaking of drama, this handsome manlyberry schnitzeltort Ryan Gosling is like a friggin' Marquee de Sade of Thespians. He loves to take these any-guy mega-souled characters that rip into your emotions and pummel your heart with their stern honor and otherworldly spirits, till you're begging for mercy - praying he'll relent - and let his character grab a Playstation, smack a puppy, or do something "stupid guy"-ish. Ryan is, by far, our greatest working actor. Disagree? Get your own review. Others? Discover this force.

Rachel McAdams is impeccable. What a beautiful young lady to boot. It's really her film, and Gosling as charismatic as he is, allows her her glory. This young actor's range is quite impressive. Rach has been in quite a few "large" films in her short career - always lurking in the shadows - this oughta change that faux pas.

Meanwhile Gena Rowlands and James Garner - two riveting talents - share a bit of the darker side of aging, as they help narrate this touching tale.

Director Nick Cassavettes (son of Gena Rowlands and infamous director John) has repeatedly shown his DNA mixture has created, not a spoiled Malibu-bred nepotistic dingleberry but, a sensitive director who can create action packed mentally rich shoot-'em-up man-films and swing back to polish emotional jewels, with deep caverns, evenly and with a sense of acute sensitivity. Enjoy.

Snack recommendation: Crab and beer


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