The Notebook (2004)


As mushy melodrama’s go, Nick Cassavetes’ 2004 effort is a pretty fine example of schmaltz; telling the predictable and better seen elsewhere story of old age, via a sixty year shifting eternal love story, with James Garner’s octogenarian reciting to care home compatriot Gena Rowlands, his note booked story of two young lovers in the 1940’s is his way of trying to improve her failing memory.

Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams play the love struck young couple, unsurprisingly from different sides of the class coin battling McAdams’ disapproving wealthy parents. War, time and circumstance conspire to separate and reunite the pair.

Saccharine sweet in both taste and artificiality The Notebook spends much of its time telling the young lovers’ insipid, often irritating story; most bothersome is McAdams’ spoilt southern belle, whose  antics and indecision wash away any charm created in what amounts to the continued teasing of poor  Ryan Gosling’s affections and the strung along James Marsden. Any love she would appear to feel for any of her squeezes is made unbelievable when her supposed conflict comes across the more ineffectual rather than creating genuine sympathy.

Thankfully the present day musings of Garner are more convincing in a heartfelt and saddening study of dementia, but The Notebook’s twists are telegraphed so poorly that any build and attempts at misdirection are pointless and ineffective.

Garner and fellow elder Rowlands are by far the better beating heart of The Notebook’s story but Goslings’ soapy lead is unconvincing in a remarkably low key performance. Outbursts are few and emotions are kept on a safe but sure footing, creating a somewhat disingenuous tone with any real sincerity saved for the saddening interplay between the more convincing seniors.

Nick Cassavetes’ fluffy direction no doubt presents a beautifully realised era piece, but it’s a completely mild and unchallenging time spanning love story that overall feels disconnected.

Often painfully bland with a disengaging central youthful pair it’s hard to feel a care even with the far more compelling and touching study of old age frailty.

I didn’t feel the love in The Notebook.


27 responses to “The Notebook (2004)

      • Lots of chicks get it to 7.9. We must defeat them! This is one of those chick flicks I’ve been contemplating tackling for a long time. I drudged through the ‘Sex and the City’ movie, so I wonder how it will compare.

  1. I’m not a huge fan of this one. I’m a romantic and I found this one in the stupid area..haha! But then, I mean if you compare it to the garbage that came out afterwards for Nicholas Sparks adaptations…This probably isn’t all that bad… I’d say the most enjoyable adaptation is A Walk to Remember 😉

    • I agree, it’s not unheard of me watching such a flick but I didn’t feel the love. I am otherwise ignorant to Sparks adaptations TBH but I had a few good recommends on this one and IMDB has it at 7.9!? not quite sure how that happened?

    • you are not Abbi. I went out on a limb with this one, I wrote it then seen it was 7.9 on IMDB? I stuck by my view, I thought it was poor, I gave 1 of its 2 star for having Gosling in it even though he was lame in it by his standards. Thanks 😉

      • I know a lot of people who think it’s the most romantic film ever made but the heroine is really annoying and I didn’t buy this great love between two such incompatible people.

  2. Good review. It’s only good because Gosling and McAdams are great and were actually dating in real-life, hence why their chemistry is so good.

    • They were? It’s good because it has Gosling in it, but sadly that’s as much as I can say apart from James garner. Didn’t feel it I’m afraid.

    • Ha, ha. I checked out much, astoundingly 7.9! And more men are listed as voters, that was puzzling to say the least. I felt sick from all the sugary schmaltz after it! Thanks man!

  3. Concise and to the point my man! I’d heard lots of good things about this but after I watched it, I realised it was all female opinions. 😉 It wasn’t really for me. I can see why the ladies would appreciate it but it’s pretty sugary to say the least. Nice write-up.

    • Yeh, this was going to be a turbo review, that’s how much I cared for it, but it went on a little longer 😉 Basically The Notebook was garbage (for me) Thank you Mark! (I watched this on a recommend from two female colleagues)

  4. Nice review mate. I don’t have a huuuuge problem with this film. It’s a chick flick, sure, but I think it’s better than a lot of others in that genre. I do think that McAdams’ character is a proper cow in it though and probably doesn’t deserve Mr Gosling!

    • ha, ha, I got nothing against click flicks tbh, god I have watched plenty, I have seen worse. McAdams was indeed a cow, really prissy. no one should ever mess Ryan about like that! Thanks Terrence 😉

  5. I know a bunch of girls are swooning over Gosling but as you know I’m not a fan. I quite like this film because of the older actors, Garner and Rowlands, oh and I kinda feel bad over James Marsden. Heck I’d take him any day over Gosling, ahah.

    • Ha we just been and swooned over him again in the place beyond the pines but I think I swooned more than my better half, she is in the same camp as you. Garner was the best thing in it. Didn’t she just string them both along!?

      • Ahah well your wife has a good taste then 😉 I think Gosling is fine but nothing special really. Yeah, I think Noah/Duke definitely should take the Best Husband award, ahah.

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