What You Need To Know:
THE NOTEBOOK could have been a terrific movie, but it’s a mixed bag. Regrettably, the director uses some clumsy tricks to keep the suspense going. Moreover, some of the casting is excellent, including Garner, Rowlands, and Rachel McAdams as young Allie, but Ryan Gosling as the young Noah does not have the gravitas to carry his part of the movie. Furthermore, there’s a lot of fornication in this movie. On the other hand, this movie has some poignant themes, including love, self-sacrifice, and never giving up on someone’s life.
(PaPa, FR, B, Ab, Ro, C, V, SS, NN, A, D, M) Confused worldview with pagan elements talking about reincarnation, moral elements defending life, immoral elements defending fornication, Romantic elements supporting selfishness, and Christian elements reflecting self-sacrifice, with one statement that when science reaches its limits, God takes over; eight obscenities and two profanities; threat of violence when teenagers lie down in the middle of the road and car almost hits them; tedious, overlong sexual scenes where fornication is clear although all the shots are from the side, back, or shadowed; lower male nudity with no genitalia shown and rear female nudity several times and lingering shots on naked flesh; drinking; smoking; and, lying, cheating on fiancé, and rebellion against parents.
GENRE: Romantic Drama
THE NOTEBOOK could have been a terrific movie. It starts off in an extended care facility focusing on two elderly patients, a man played by James Garner, who cares for a woman played by Gena Rowlands. (Their character names are withheld to try to create suspense.) The James Garner character reads a notebook to Gena’s character.
The notebook is the story of a poor working class teenager named Noah who falls in love with a wealthy Southern belle named Allie. As the Gena Rowlands character hears the story, she starts to remember, which the doctor says is impossible.
In the story of the young lovers, set in the 1940s, Allie’s parents try to break up this summer romance. When Noah goes off to war, Allie meets a wealthy soldier named Lon who is handsome, brilliant and loves her. They get engaged, but Noah returns, and Allie and Noah fornicate. The question is, who is Allie going to choose? As far as the older couple are concerned, who is the James Garner character and who is the Gena Rowlands character?
Regrettably, to keep the suspense going in this story, the director uses some clumsy tricks. For instance, when James Garner’s children visit him at the facility, they purposely avoid interacting with Gena Rowlands. Also, the staff calls her character “Miss Hamilton,” instead of by her married name.
While some of the casting is excellent, including Garner, Rowlands and Rachel McAdams as young Allie, Ryan Gosling as the young Noah does not have the gravitas to carry his part of the movie, and Allie’s father seems like a caricature of a Southern gentleman, while the Southern ladies are caricatures. Furthermore, there’s a lot of fornication in this movie, which is very annoying, especially when you’re sitting next to other people’s children in the theater. One of several incongruities in the movie is that although this movie takes place on the coast of South Carolina, there is a scene of Noah and Allie frolicking near Pt. Magu off the Pacific Ocean in California. On the other hand, this movie has some poignant themes, including love, self-sacrifice, and never giving up on someone’s life.
This could have been a great movie. Nick Cassavetes has talent as a director, but he needs to learn to dot his i’s and cross his t’s. As it is, this NOTEBOOK is very messy.