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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Rachel McAdams
Ryan Gosling
Gena Rowlands
James Garner
Joan Allen.
Directors
Nick Cassavetes.
Screenwriters
Jan Sardi
Jeremy Leven
Nicholas Sparks.
Running Time
124 minutes

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The Notebook
Romantic weepy, told over the course of half a century


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Plot
An elderly man reads a 1940s love story to a woman in a nursing home. It tells of rich young Allie and poor young Noah, who are forced apart after a summer of passion. Will they be reunited ù and what relevance does their story have to our narrator? Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks.


Review
Following the tradition of Fried Green Tomatoes, this romantic weepy relates a tale in the hope that its modern-day protagonists ù who may well have played a part in the story themselves - will be better for hearing it.

But, on film at least, this story might have been better without its modern-day protagonists, played by James Garner and Gena Rowlands (Cassavetes' mother). Garner's narration smacks of greeting-card sentiment and the Alzheimer's storyline, in which Rowlands' character has lost her memory, is oversimplified.

Thank goodness, then, for the magic created by young stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, whose intense romance is played out with conviction and an infectious joie de vivre. Little in their journey is unexpected: you're waiting for the obstacle (after all, what self-respecting young lady in the 1940s would have been seen without two handsome suitors to compete over her?), and the solution is not hard to spot, either.

But thanks to delightful characters, careful pacing and a stirring score, this film achieves the distinction of being exceptionally moving without anyone major having to die.


Verdict
If you're prepared to submit to the sentiment, this is a heart-wrenching romance. An uncomplicated, nicely shot tale that ticks all the right boxes for those after a good old-fashioned weepy. One point deducted for the corny narration, though.


Reviewed by Anna Smith

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Notebook
Empire Star Rating

The Notebook Review

It's hard not to admire its unabashed sentimentality, but The Notebook is too clumsily manipulative to rise above its melodramatic clichés. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 14:51, 10 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Makes me cry every time

I LLOOOOOVVVVEE IT! One of the only films to make me cry. And every girl who sees it will either cry because they want what Rachel McAdams has, or grab their boyfriend to the point where they're suffocating. Their chemistry on screen is amazing (: ... More

Posted by DarbyDaresYou at 09:33, 23 September 2011 | Report This Post


Makes me cry every time

I t doesn take much to get tears rolling form my eyes but I must be really moved if i cant stop the tears from flowing when the film ends. The storyline is very predictable, the narration a bit too soppy and the cut between past and present is a rather jerky. But the acting between the young lovers is amazing with chemistry that lead to them actually dating each other in real life. James Marsden was the perfect Lans making me sad that she had to choose really. He is a great actor and it s... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MariannaBelle at 16:14, 19 April 2009 | Report This Post


Makes me cry every time

I t doesn take much to get tears rolling form my eyes but I must be really moved if i cant stop the tears from flowing when the film ends. The storyline is very predictable, the narration a bit too soppy and the cut between past and present is a rather jerky. But the acting between the young lovers is amazing with chemistry that lead to them actually dating each other in real life. James Marsden was the perfect Lans making me sad that she had to choose really. He is a great actor and it s... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MariannaBelle at 16:14, 19 April 2009 | Report This Post


Amazing!

Best film ive ever seen ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mattiexx at 18:13, 27 September 2008 | Report This Post


Clinton cards does Love

*Spoilers* First of all they died at the same time which just made me feel nauseous. you could tell their love was 'passionate' and 'real' because they argued and pushed each other a lot in the rain. It was SO tragic that she had alzheimers because all they'd had is a whole lifetime of happiness together- how unfair. And it all hinged on the fact she never received his letters even though he knew where she went to uni and could have sent them there. God, barely anything actually happened, I c... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Wishes at 14:04, 23 September 2008 | Report This Post


Clinton cards does Love

*Spoilers* First of all they died at the same time which just made me feel nauseous. you could tell their love was 'passionate' and 'real' because they argued and pushed each other a lot in the rain. It was SO tragic that she had alzheimers because all they'd had is a whole lifetime of happiness together- how unfair. And it all hinged on the fact she never received his letters even though he knew where she went to uni and could have sent them there. God, barely anything actually happened, I c... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Wishes at 14:04, 23 September 2008 | Report This Post


A film in many opinions as more romantic than Titanic, it's an incredibly beautiful tale of two young lovers with social differences. You'll end up with tears in your eyes. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Pepsi99 at 17:14, 25 July 2008 | Report This Post


O******** ON A STICK!

This film, is like.. wow :) nuff sed brother :) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 13:53, 10 March 2008 | Report This Post


how easily you are impressed...

Ryan Gosling doesn't act. He just looks at the other actors with a half-smile on his face. His lack of character is made more obvious by matching him with the great James Garner. Financial and social realism is glossed over and love is expressed through kissing and house restoration. The characters' behaviour is anachronistic and the fiance is clearly a much sweeter and caring man. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by laurencebennion at 11:32, 26 November 2007 | Report This Post


how easily you are impressed...

Ryan Gosling doesn't act. He just looks at the other actors with a half-smile on his face. His lack of character is made more obvious by matching him with the great James Garner. Financial and social realism is glossed over and love is expressed through kissing and house restoration. The character's behaviour is anachronistic and the fiance is clearly a much sweeter and caring man. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by laurencebennion at 11:30, 26 November 2007 | Report This Post


LOVE IT ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hp at 17:59, 28 May 2007 | Report This Post


LOVE IT ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hp at 17:59, 28 May 2007 | Report This Post


This film tells a magnificent and heart wrenching story of love conquering everything. The moving story of a woman suffering from alzheimers and the husband so determined to make her remember the life they shared together even if it means telling her stories over and over again, day in and day out. The young leads are perfect together and have wonderful chemistry as do their elder counterparts. Rachel McAdams is particularly outstanding in her first lead role and truly engages with the aud... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by xmagic_dustx at 23:59, 18 February 2007 | Report This Post


Very good movie

C'mon Empire, this deserves at least four stars. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jasper at 23:16, 29 August 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Notebook, The

The Notebook is one of my all-time favourite romantic movies. The adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' book is not entirely faithful, however the film still captures all the hope and romanticism that his novel initially sought after. It really is a beautiful story of a love that never dies, despite obstacles that could be seen as insurmountable. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams were perfectly cast as Noah and Allie for this, and I'm so grateful Britney Spears was passed over for it! The relationship a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jessica_ca_ca_ca at 13:26, 29 August 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Notebook, The

I really enjoyed this film, did not imagine it would be as moving as it was. The outcome is a little predictable but I like that sometimes especially for stories like this! I would recommend this film to anyone. It looks great and is shot in stunning location. It is also sympathetic to the novel and the score is perfect, one of the best I have heard for a long time. However, the most major coup for the film are the outstanding performances of Ryan Gosling & Rachael McAdams who are perfect t... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Monkey Bill at 12:51, 29 August 2006 | Report This Post


RE: the notebook

I loved the book itself so much I was afraid the film would not be true, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that the filmmakers were able to capture the heart of the story.  ... More

Posted by LostLvr at 14:56, 09 February 2006 | Report This Post


RE: the notebook

Its a very good film. On SKy tonight at 9pm if anyone wants to know ... More

Posted by DanielFullard at 17:18, 08 February 2006 | Report This Post


RE: the notebook

Saw this yesterday.  raelly enjoyed it despite guessing the outcome in the first five minutes.  It's interesting that the filmmakers chose not to keep the fact that the older couple are the younger couple more of a secret.  I loved the film, a nice, simple, sweetly touching story.  If the ending wasn't a little bit too cheesy and over done I may even have shed a tear.      ... More

Posted by Gazdance at 17:13, 08 February 2006 | Report This Post


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