CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 12A
  • Drama, Romance
  • 2004
  • 123 mins

The Notebook

The Notebook

Synopsis

Two young lovers are separated by the Second World War. Weepy romantic drama starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, and directed by Nick Cassavetes

About

It's a wonder that the producers of old-fashioned weepie The Notebook didn't seek corporate sponsorship from Kleenex. A love story whose seems to be to make the audience open their tear-ducts as often as their hearts, it's the kind of true-love-beset-by-the-ravages-of-fortune tale that could have come straight out of a Mills & Boon paperback. In actual fact, it's based on a novel by American romance writer Nicholas Spark, whose previously adapted work includes Message In A Bottle and A Walk To Remember.

The Notebook's framing storyline has aging senior citizens played by James Garner and Gena Rowlands meeting in a retirement home. Rowlands' character suffers from Alzheimer's, which prompts Garner's character to read her a story from his notebook about two young lovers named Noah (Ryan Gosling) and Allie (Racehl McAdams) in North Carolina in the 1940s. Whisking us back to the age of Glenn Miller tunes, Pearl Harbour and the pre-civil rights era Deep South, director Nick Cassavetes proceeds to skip between the present and the past until the film's twist becomes unbearably obvious.

No tear-jerking love story is complete without the vicissitudes of fortune and here it's the lovers' differing social backgrounds that keep them apart: Noah is a poor white trash Southern boy, while Allie is more used to sucking on a silver spoon than a moonshine jar. By the time their families have interfered and the war has separated them, it's obvious that the course of true love won't be running smooth at any point in this movie.

At least that gives the actors something to work with. Gosling, so brilliantly intense in The Believer, and so charismatic in Half Nelson, proves a stoic and offhandedly rugged hero, though that probably says more about the conventional stereotyping of his Hicksville farmhand than his acting ability. Meanwhile, McAdams proves that there's more to her than previous roles in high school-set comedies Mean Girls and The Hot Chick might suggest.

Coasting by on its nostalgic recreation of the 1940s, its golden summery glow and its refreshingly un-starry young leads, this delivers everything one could ask for from a safe, unthreatening and middle of the road romantic-weepy full of chocolate box visuals.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Joan Allen, James Marsden, Gena Rowlands, Rachel McAdams, Sam Shepard, Ryan Gosling, James Garner
  • Director: Nick Cassavetes
  • Screen Writer: Jeremy Leven
  • Writer (Book): Nicholas Sparks
  • Producer: Lynn Harris, Mark Johnson
  • Photographer: Robert Fraisse
  • Composer: Aaron Zigman

In a nutshell

Bland and sentimental, The Notebook is old-fashioned filmmaking aimed at an old-fashioned audience. Kleenex essential.

by Jamie Russell

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    The Day He Arrives

    Comedy-drama from South Korean director Hong Sang-soo. A film director visits a friend in Seoul, but his trip begins to resemble a romantic version of Groundhog Day

    On Film4: 6 Nov 1:30AM

  • Film4

    In Another Country

    South Korean director Hong Sang-soo's drama stars Isabelle Huppert in three separate stories about French women who travel to a Korean seaside town.

    On Film4: 3 Nov 12:00AM

  • Film4

    The Debt on Film4

    Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington & Jessica Chastain star in John Madden's Nazi-hunting thriller

  • Film4 Evil Dead

    Halloween Weekend on Film4

    Two nights of spooks, shocks and scares to celebrate Halloween Weekend on Film4

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 11 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share