The Notebook

Two young lovers are torn apart by war and class differences in the 1940s in this adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’s best-selling novel.

Year: 2004
Certificate: 12
Runtime: 2hr 3m
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Starring: Ryan GoslingRachel McAdamsJames GarnerGena RowlandsJames MarsdenKevin ConnollySam ShepardJoan AllenDavid ThorntonJamie Anne Allman

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I’ll start this review by saying that this is not my usual kind of film – I do like a good drama but romance films just never seem to appeal to me. We do, however, have a scratch-off ‘movie bucket list’ poster that we are slowly working through and “The Notebook” was on that list. There have been quite a few films from the list that we wouldn’t normally watch but have both enjoyed so I’m not averse to trying something new. The question is – would this one be a sweet surprise or a complete yawn-fest…?

The story opens in a care home where an elderly man called Duke has asked for permission to read a story to an elderly female who is also a resident. He tells the story of Noah who, in 1940 in South Carolina, met a girl called Allie at a carnival. Noah was a worker at a lumber yard and Allie was from an affluent background and only in town to visit with parents over Summer. As expected, the social divide causes some issues with Allie’s parents but they appear to let it carry on as it’s “just a Summer fling”. Noah and Allie, on the other hand, seem to have other ideas and Noah even shows her an old house that he’s planning on renovating for them to live in together. As Summer comes to an end, Allie’s parents decide to move away suddenly and Noah and Allie’s relationship comes to an abrupt end.

So far so predictable. I’ll be honest, it was pretty obvious that would happen – it’s a common trope when two people from different classes or social groups get together that there will be problems with families/parents. We’ve probably all studied Romeo and Juliet at some point… Predictable, yes, but it’s handled well and there’s a good amount of drama involved. It’s not simply a soppy romance about two kids overcoming their class divides.

As the film progresses we have more time with the elderly pair and learn more about her alzheimer’s and that she occasionally remember parts of the story – we assume that Noah has read her the story from the notebook numerous times. The story in the 1940s then continues with Noah going to fight in World War II and life simply goes on. As the years go by Noah continues with his woodworking  and renovating his house, and Allie’s life changes rather dramatically. Eventually they meet up again but to give any more details about the overall story would be entering spoiler territory.

Overall I actually enjoyed “The Notebook” even though, as mentioned, it’s not my usual choice of film. The cast were great with both Ryan Gosling doing a great job of portraying Noah and Rachel McAdams as Allie. The story is predictable and you can probably guess a lot of what happens – but the route to get their was interesting and had a few unexpected turns. Using Duke as a narrator to the story adds a nice touch and the film becomes a bit of a tearjerker. It is certainly more of a drama than a romance film so if, like me, you’re not immediately enthralled by the thought of watching a romantic drama then I would suggest giving it a try.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

About MaFt

Film and TV fan, creator of New On Netflix (UK, USA, Australia and Canada), dad of two amazing children, code geek and passionate about autism.

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