The Notebook (PG-13)

Drama 121 June 25, 2004
By Luke Y. Thompson
If you're the sort who enjoys shedding tears in darkened theaters, your must-see summer movie has arrived. An amiable old man who goes by the nickname of Duke (James Garner) introduces himself to an Alzheimer's-stricken woman (Gena Rowlands) at the rest home where they both reside. To brighten up her day, he reads her a story from his notebook about two young lovers: lower-class lumberjack/carpenter Noah (Ryan Gosling) and well-bred academic prodigy Allie (Rachel McAdams). The elderly woman doesn't think she knows the man, and yet somehow the story instantly appeals. It will probably be immediately apparent to most viewers what the connection is between the aging twosome and the young lovers in the story, but the movie treats it as a late revelation. Director Nick Cassavetes has inherited some of his father's talent for character study; he also seems to have a slightly better sense of story, having amply embellished Nicholas Sparks' relatively plot-free novel. Total chick-flick, but not cloyingly so.
Nick Cassavetes James Garner, Gena Rowlands, Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, Joan Allen, Heather Wahlquist, Meredith Zealy, Nancy De Mayo, Sam Shepard, James Marsden Mark Andrus, Madeline Leven, Lowell Ganz, Nicholas Sparks Jan Sardi, Jeremy Leven New Line Cinema

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